Funky disco duo Oliver is the newest project from DJ/producer Vaughn "U-Tern" Oliver and producer Oliver "Oligee" Goldstein. Both respected artists in their own right, with U-Tern remixing tracks from artists like Holy Ghost and Britney Spears, and Oligee producing tracks for pop artists like Kelly Clarkson and J. Lo, Oliver's sound is influenced by their early years of listening to '80s boogie and early '90s hip-hop. Within a year of working together, they've churned out a number of successful disco-inspired remixes, the Dirty Talk EP on Kitsune Records, and another EP soon to be released on Fool's Gold Records. All Shook Down spoke with Vaughn Oliver, aka U-Tern, about how the duo met, adjusting to touring together, and being '80s babies. They headline Popscene this Thursday (July 19) at Rickshaw Stop.
Give us a little history of how you two met and decided to start Oliver.
We met a few years ago when I was down in L.A. doing some studio work for Atlantic. Oligee was there for the sessions and we really bonded because we were both into the same kind of music. After that I made regular trips to L.A. to work with him, and forming a group just happened naturally from there.
Since you both produce and have solo careers, was it hard to figure out how to brand yourselves as a duo?
We don't really think about that, we just go into the studio and make music together and the end result is always something we wouldn't have done by ourselves, and hopefully something original.
Was it easy to adjust to having someone next to you and working with you during live sets?
At this point we're still working out what we want to do for a true "live" show. My strength has always been DJing, and Oligee is an excellent live musician and player. For now we take turns playing records, and just try to have fun up there.
Since you guys are one entity, Oliver, do you think both of your best qualities are infused together to be Oliver?
I think so; we both have strengths and weaknesses that we're aware of, which makes it easier to accomplish things. One of us will pick up the slack when the other isn't, that type of thing.
So solo careers are on hold for awhile as you tour around the nation this summer?
We've got a gang of shows lined up this summer, the biggest probably being HARD Summer in L.A. We're also doing our first European tour, which is very exciting.
There's a lot of good chill disco sounds coming out of L.A. these days, including artists like Poolside. Do you think there's something about L.A. living that inspires these sounds?
Probably the beautiful weather. It's hard to be angry when it's sunny pretty much everyday and you're getting drunk at pool parties. That style of music really lends itself to the summertime vibe. I like to think we're not so one-sided though. A lot of our music has a harder, darker edge to it.
A lot of the music evokes some '80s, some funk, and some disco. Where does the inspiration from your sound come from?
We both grew up collecting records from the '70s and '80s, so it's kind of programmed into us. Elements from those eras creep their way into most of the music we do, and we don't really fight it. Those records are the reason we were interested in music in the first place; we're '80s babies.