Photograph credit: Supplied

Interview: DJ Oliver Huntemann Talks About Techno Scene, Dubai and DJ Circuit

One of Germany’s most respected DJs, Oliver Huntemann has been involved in the international DJ circuit for three decades. Ahead of his gig at Playa Nomade this month, we decided to catch up and talk about Dubai’s party scene, where techno music stands today and his beginnings as a DJ.

Hi Oliver! Welcome to Dubai. How do you find the DJ circuit out here?

It’s always great to be back! I’ve been playing quite often recently in Dubai but whenever I come back to the city it feels like something totally new. The city is constantly changing and growing. So every gig has a very unique flavour to it, which is awesome!

Tell us about Hamburg’s club scene during the ’90s

I moved here 15 years ago. I took my first steps in Oldenburg, a small town around 200km from Hamburg, in a small basement club called Metro which had a studio in the same building. We had the perfect benefit of testing freshly produced tracks right away in a club and formed also the project Humate. As Oldenburg quickly became too small I moved very soon to Bremen, the next big city in between Oldenburg and Hamburg. I had my studio in Bremen, with my former business partner Stephan Bodzin and I developed a few labels like Confused Recordings and Ideal Audio. At a certain point I felt my Bremen story was told plus my increased travel schedule and a very limited small airport made me move again. But, as I love living in the north of Germany I preferred Hamburg over Berlin and that’s where I found my home.

It was surprising to learn that you were associated with the navy before becoming a DJ, how did that happen?

That’s right and a long time ago! Well, basically it had to do with two things. During that time in Germany it was mandatory to join the military forces for a basic training – a compulsory military service. Next to that my parents gave me the hint that it would be smart to actually learn something “real” next to DJing. So I did my basics and after that I took the opportunity for my apprenticeship as an electronics engineer in the Navy. But, I always kept music and DJ equipment with me to jam as often as possible.

You’ve been on the DJ circuit for three decades, is there any form of slowing down at this stage?

I like to say it in Westbam’s words “forward ever, backward never” – so no, there’s no slowing down. Of course, I won’t get any younger but having the blessing to travel the world every weekend really keeps your mind and your body fresh. Trying to skip some beverages helps a lot.

What’s your take on Dubai in the party map of the world?

A refreshing one! As said above, it’s always a different party, a different crowd. Basically, every time I get here it’s like a first time gig! Just a great feeling.

Are there any new DJs or artists who’ve caught your attention lately, whom you wish to collaborate with?

It’s just great to see how the scene develops, a lot of young talents are producing madly good tracks! I just signed the young duo Hidden Empire to my label, Senso Sounds. That’s one of those catches. They’ve been around for some time already and I’m very happy to have them join our little label family.  

Lastly, what’s your take on today’s techno scene and its future?

Today’s scene has a super-fast pace! Sounds and styles are evolving faster than ever and so does the technology like CDJs or Traktor. But overall Techno has basically taken over the world. With the big impact of EDM during the last years also the smaller clubs have made a pretty big push for electronic music. The sound got a bit stronger and darker, I do think that will continue for a bit. Anyway, I love the progress that electronic music has made since I experienced it in the late 80s. It’s impressive how far we have come!

Oliver Huntemann’s ‘Propaganda Remixes Part 2’ is available to buy via Senso Sounds here.