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Fernando Olaya [Interview]

24 min read

As one of Colombia's most recognized electronic music artists, Fernando Olaya has showcased his music on the genre's top tier imprints such as Mango Alley, Replug, Univack and his own Sonnet Speciale imprint. Also an accomplished DJ, the Zipaquira resident has performed with Dubfire, Paul Van Dyk and Sasha, amongst others. Although primarily known as a progressive house producer across his thirteen year career, Fernando has recently been turning his focus to the organic spectrums of house, where he has enjoyed a renaissance of sorts. Now, following a single for La Mishka to begin the year, Fernando makes his debut on Musique de Lune's flagship imprint with 'Memories From The Future'.

Progressive Astronaut caught up with Fernando to learn more about the release of 'Memories From The Future’, his background, DJing and more. Enjoy.

Hi Fernando, thanks for talking to us today. How has your start to the year been so far and please tell us something interesting about your day today?

Hello! The start of my year has been incredibly exciting. I've been fully immersed in production, delving into new techniques and concepts.
Today brought a particularly interesting event: my parents visited my new home in Pereira, Colombia. It's been months since I last saw them, so I'm absolutely thrilled to have them here.

Take us through a typical day when you’re not travelling, what does a day in your life look like?

A typical day when I'm not traveling is a wonderful combination of creativity in my studio, working on my productions and also in my online music production academy.

Usually, I exercise or go swimming for a while to get my creativity flowing. Then, I immerse myself in my studio space, where the magic happens, whether it's producing my songs, making music for other artists, mixing or mastering work for different labels.

Throughout the day, I take breaks and share with my girlfriend.

What was the music genre you discovered first before you turned to electronic music, and what made you continue with the latter?

I am a musician and piano and classical music were essential for my musical development. Before delving into electronic music, I was initially a lover of good rock and Colombian music. Bands like Pink Floyd and Radiohead, MUSE were my first influences.

Looking back over all the work you’ve done over your career which has been more than a decade at this point, which tracks or releases hold the best memories for you and why?

A release that stands out is "Stereophonik", released in 2012, it is a track that made me known in different places around the world, it

allowed me to travel through different countries, learn about cultures, and I also think it was a melodic techno sound ahead of its time.

I also have tracks like "Between two worlds", a track that placed me at number two on the beatport chart for several weeks.

Another memorable song is "Empty Spaces," one in which I collaborated with two fellow artists whom I deeply admire. Kamilo Sanclemente and Dabeat.

Overall, each track and release has its own place in my heart, representing different chapters of my career and reminding me of the passion and dedication that has fueled my artistic endeavors over the years.

You have a new EP ‘Memories From The Future’ out now via Musique de Lune, please tell us a bit about the release and how it showcases your current sound.

Of course, I would love to share more about my new EP, 'Memories From The Future'. This release is a reflection of both my past influences and my current sound exploration, organic, progressive sounds, beautiful melodies and exotic voices fused with elements of nostalgia and a lot of groove.

In terms of my current sound, this EP represents a synthesis of various influences and styles that have marked my artistic evolution. From the beautiful melodies to a lot of rhythm for the dance floor, such as the track "Menguante"

'Memories From The Future' displays a wide range of sonic palettes and moods.

You were primarily known as a progressive house producer for the majority of your career but your ‘Memories From The Future’ is decidedly more organic sounding. When did this shift happen in your production and what was it about the genre that made you want to explore it as well?

The change towards a more organic sound in my production began gradually, influenced by traditional Colombian sounds and also my training as a musician has nourished experiences throughout my career. While I initially gained recognition as a progressive house producer, I was always drawn to diverse musical styles and genres, and constantly sought new sources of inspiration to fuel my creativity.

This is your first release on Musique de Lune, what was it about the label which made it a good home for these amazing tracks?

Choosing the right label for a release is crucial, as it not only determines how your music is presented to the world, but also influences the trajectory of your career. In the case of my EP, "Memories From The Future", Musique de Lune seemed like the perfect home for these songs, the label has a particular and exclusive sound, I include tracks from it in my sets, but the most important reason is because I think the label releases beautiful, well-made music that I connect with.

You’ve had quite a lot of high profile gigs over the years, you’ve travelled to Cuba, Mexico, Spain, The Netherlands, USA and more in recent years for gigs, so please tell us your approach to DJing, and what your philosophy is to programing a set.

I think my new philosophy as a DJ is to play beautiful music, music that fills my soul, no matter the genre. I like to play songs that have not been released, so I usually play my own productions and those of my friends.

For me, DJing is not just about playing music; it's about creating an experience that takes the audience on a journey. My approach as a DJ is deeply rooted in storytelling and creating emotional connections through music.

How much prep do you put into the sets you play, or are they spontaneous for the most part?

I usually prepare some things and more when I do live acts, but I also like to experiment and read the audience and give them fun and a nice experience. For me it is essential to have a lot of new and also classical music. It allows you to have a great musical range so that you can create each night different and with your own magic.

Where do you source the majority of music for your gigs? Is it primarily from producer friends or promo mailouts at this point?

Every week, I'm inundated with over 100 promos, yet my focus remains on producing a wealth of original music and curating 100 distinct sets across various styles. I'm deeply passionate about embracing diversity and innovation in music, drawing inspiration from a multitude of

sources for my performances. While I receive numerous promotional emails and maintain connections with producer friends, I actively explore platforms like Beatport and various channels to unearth fresh, exciting tracks.

If you could set up an event with a line-up of five artists of your choice, who would you book and what set times would you ascribe to the artists?

I absolutely cherish the idea of playing music alongside my friends and musical family. Not only are they fantastic individuals, but they also happen to be incredible DJs. The thought of collaborating with them fills me with excitement and gratitude.

Cristian Monak 6pm - 8pm

Gioanny Aparicio b2b Yura Aparicio 8pm - 10pm
Fernando Olaya 10pm -12am
Kamilo Sanclemente 12am - 2am
Dabeat 2am - 4am

Current top five tracks in your sets?

Fernando Olaya - Felicità (Original Mix) [Univack]

Newman (I Love) - Leave In Silence (Original Mix) [Go Deeva Records]

Kamilo Sanclemente, Giovanny Aparicio - Redemtion (Original Mix) [Balance]

Dulus - Harmonaig (Original Mix) [For A Memory]

Hedera - Birch (UK) & SHRI (Original Mix) [Kiksuya Records]

If you were not a DJ/Producer what do you think you’d be doing with your life? (Something not music related.)

I've ventured into diverse fields, honing skills in design, professional video production, and web development as potential alternative careers to music. While I've acquired valuable skills in these areas, my true

passion undeniably lies in music. I've come to realize that nothing else fulfills me quite like creating music does, and I'm committed to pursuing it wholeheartedly.

What’s something people do not know about you?

I bring over a decade of teaching experience, having guided and educated more than 800 students throughout my career. Additionally, I've curated my music label, 'Sonnet Speciale,' which has been featured on various platforms for over 12 years. Presently, I'm passionately engaged in running my online academy, produccionmusicaelectronica.com. This platform offers a diverse range of courses and audio libraries tailored to students worldwide.

If you are not DJing, producing in the studio or socializing at clubs, where do we find you? And doing what?

I have a deep passion for traveling, and recently, I've had the opportunity to explore various destinations across Colombia with my family and friends. Additionally, I am dedicated to intensifying my efforts in promoting my online academy.

What are some of your favourite TV series? Both all time and recently, what have you been enjoying lately?

I found 'The Three-Body Problem' to be captivating. It delves deep into various complex topics like physics, sociology, and philosophy, making it a truly thought-provoking read. The narrative, centered around contact with an alien civilization, adds an intriguing layer to the story. I highly recommend it.

Apart from music, what makes you happiest?

I feel immense joy in sharing experiences with my girlfriend, whether exploring new places, dancing together or simply enjoying each other's company. I also value the time I spend with my friends, creating memories and sharing laughter. Pereira, my new home Known as one of the largest coffee producing regions in the world, Pereira is truly a haven of tranquility and magic, adorned with stunning landscapes and inhabited by good-hearted locals. "Every moment I spend here feels like a gift from heaven and I couldn't be happier.

What does the remainder 2024 hold for you and your new alias? Anything you can share with us?

I'm thrilled about the upcoming releases from major labels, especially since I've had the chance to collaborate with prominent producers. Exciting presentations are lined up both in Colombia and worldwide. Additionally, I'm proud to announce my collaboration with the new Colombian agency, GMS, and to be part of the talented team at Giovanny Aparicio's agency, where I feel like part of a beautiful family. It's an exciting time, and I'm grateful for these opportunities to grow and showcase my passion.

'Memories From The Future' is available now via Musique de Lune: https://tinyurl.com/yus4crn8

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