Nicole and I with Jeremy Olander after his set at Ultrabar in Washington,DC on July 16, 2015.
Just like any other genre, dance music is cyclical. Artists rise like a wave, propelled both by talent and the momentum of specific cultural needs they fill for an audience; that wave eventually breaks, forcing them to slowly dissipate back into the vast body of unknowns where they were formed. Some artists manage to extend the break, but most rise and fall swiftly. The turnover, however, often feels like it’s especially accelerated within dance music.
Thanks in large part to how frequently producers release music — and that most of it can be found for free on platforms like YouTube, Soundcloud, and Last.fm — there always seems to be a great, new up-and-coming DJ making a name for him/herself in the dance music community. So, within this notoriously saturated sphere, which artists are poised to be a part of the next cycle of success? Though I can’t answer that question definitively or comprehensively, I think one of those people is Jeremy Olander.
Olander is by no means a newbie on the dance music scene. He’s been releasing EPs since 2009.
Since 2011, Olander has been a part of the exclusive Pryda Records roster, spearheaded by progressive house guru Eric Prydz. He’s released hits like “Fairfax,” “Riots,” and “Let Me Feel” through the label, though he also continued to work with other dance music labels throughout the years as well.
But it feels like the wind is picking up for Olander, and I think it’s due in large part to the U.S. deepening its relationship with more ambient-sounding progressive house music. For a long time, it felt like Americans — specifically, young people new to the dance music scene — were only interested in festival-style EDM complete with big drops, huge venues, and insane laser shows. Though that genre is still wildly popular, there’s a growing segment of the dance community here that thirsts for a sound that’s more melodic and emotional. Olander perfectly fills that need.
Jeremy Olander at Ultrabar, Washington, DC
Last night, I went on a journey. Anyone who reads this blog knows that I go to a lot of shows. I love dancing like a maniac at a trap show as much as I like swaying to the slower rhythms of a deep house set. But Jeremy Olander’s set at Ultrabar transported me to a place of pure joy. Time suddenly warped and suspended like a dream as I closed my eyes and tapped into a euphoric state that isn’t always achievable at a show. Sometimes it’s because you’re not in the right mood but more often than not it’s because the artist turns out to have no connection with the crowd whatsoever.
Olander is one of those artists who knows how to deliver. He’s fully attuned to his audience at all times, carefully controlling his pace to guide you through a steady exploration of musical ups and downs. The 2h15min set was captivating, electric, and, most importantly, varied. I was lucky enough to briefly meet Olander after the set, so I can also attest to the fact that he’s a very nice person; he even posed for a photo with my friend Nicole and I!
Olander’s career may not be breaking just yet, but its momentum is building rapidly. It’s only a matter of time before he feels the swelling energy of that wave propelling him to the forefront of his genre. And I can’t wait for it.