It’s a sunny Monday afternoon in Los Angeles and Oliver, the DJ and production duo of Oliver Goldstein and Vaughn Oliver, are tucked inside their Silver Lake studio. Greg Kurstin previously occupied their particular space, now chock full of Goldstein’s formidable keyboard collection and adorned with some vintage LPs. Ciara (whose next single “Overdose,” Goldstein produced) was there just the night before and Bonnie McKee has a studio elsewhere in the complex.
It’s their first day back from a tour with Zedd, which immediately followed a tour with Dillon Francis. Francis (who calls the duo “hilarious guys” and his “really good friends”) has remixed their track “Night Is On My Mind” for a remix EP due out tomorrow. Preview the track exclusively here:
Oliver’s first EP, “Dirty Talk,” was released in 2012 through taste-making French label Kitsuné. Their second, “Mechanical,” dropped earlier this year on A-Trak’s Fool’s Gold Records. Since then, they’ve been busy touring or working with Francis on his next album and Chromeo on theirs. But now they’re ready to focus on Oliver.
“Right now we’re gearing up to do a bunch of original stuff,” Goldstein explains of their studio plans. “It’s great to go on tour and get some perspective and get excited about making tracks again.”
“It’s good to break the routine and get some inspiration from other sources,” Vaughn Oliver agrees. “It’s been good for us to get away from it.”
Exactly who Oliver are depends on what circles of the music industry you ask. Native Angeleno, “Oligee” Goldstein has made a name for himself as producer and songwriter, working with Shakira, Britney Spears, and Kelly Clarkson. Vaughn Oliver hails from Vancouver, where he cut his teeth as a hip-hop DJ under the moniker U-Tern, originally teaching himself how to produce electronic music with some rudimentary software on a Dell computer (he uses ProTools now).
“When Vaughn and I met it was an opportunity for me to have an outlet to do my own stuff,” Goldstein explains. “We hadn’t really set our mind on having a specific genre when we started making music together.”
Though some have branded their work “nu-disco,” drawing comparisons to artists like Holy Ghost! and Classixx (with whom Oliver will tour later this year), Oliver see their work as more expansive than one specific style.
“We like hard techno just as much as we like mellow R&B stuff,” Vaughn Oliver asserts. “We showed that on ‘Mechanical.’”
Tweets from Dr. Luke and studio sessions with Jessie J aside, Oliver have earned praise from the often harder-to-please faction of DJs like Francis who heaps praise on his tour mates.
“I think Oliver are two of the best producers out there right now,” Francis says. “When I heard their first EP, all I kept saying to myself is ‘I want an album!’”
Despite the obviousness of their name’s origins (deriving from the shared first and last name between them), Oliver may have had a harder time establishing themselves because of it. When their first tracks appeared on a Kitsuné compilation, many assumed they were French (they say they have a very strong fanbase in Paris). It’s also led many in the blogosphere to wonder who Oliver is, if not assume it’s only one of them (often Goldstein). Still, these kind of trifles don’t phase them.
“When we travel we do get a lot of mix ups,” Goldstein concedes.
“If it doesn’t get to the point where ‘Oliver’ is the first thing that comes up on Google and it’s us, then I don’t want to be a part of it,” Vaughn Oliver half jokes. “It’s something to shoot for. I just want to be classic, like Chicago – old bands where it’s one name, there’s no bullshit."
While they considered altering their group name at one point, (removing a vowel, adding a consonant), they ultimately decided to own their Oliver-ness.
“We come from two different worlds, we join together, and we share a name,” Vaughn continues.
While the Olivers leave open possibility of putting together a live band for an Oliver tour in the future, for now, they’re taking advantage of the opportunity they have to spend time in the studio, working on their own material.
“It doesn’t come around all the time that you get to do your own project,” Goldstein explains. “Creatively we both feel like we’re in a good spot to make the best records that we can. Now’s the time to do it.”
“Mechanical Remixes” is out October 22 on Fool’s Gold.