Bristol Spotlight: Ollie MacFarlane

olliemacLabel: L2S / Dual Signal / Get Flavor / Seeking Blue / B-DE
Genre: Garage / Deep House / Techno
Members: Ollie Macfarlane
Based: Bristol
Sounds Like: Burial, Massive Attack, Bonobo
Links: Facebook, Mixcloud, Soundcloud, Twitter

Given the rapid growth of online platforms for producers to showcase their talents in the past five years, electronic music enthusiasts now have to sift through vast amounts of digital dross to find the gems. Finding one in our current cacophonous age of digital-diarrhoea makes for a more challenging task, but an equally (if not more) satisfying one when it bears fruits such as Bristol’s Ollie Macfarlane. His exploration of House, Garage, Techno demonstrate the diversity and rawness of his music. Tracks like Alley, True and Rescue show a hypnotic transition from Burial-esque nocturnal beats – of which he’s also done a couple of great remixes – to the kind of garage-house hybrid tracks that have exploded onto the UK scene in the past year. Looking forward, Ollie has releases planned which range from Hip-Hop/RnB to heavier House sounds. Both EPs will undoubtedly showcase a similar maturity of sound and focus on high quality cross-genre tracks.

For a closer look at Ollie, listen to our favourite tracks by him and have a read of a few questions he answered for us.

Sum up your sound in three words.

Reminiscent Melodic House

If an elderly person asked what it is you do, how would you describe it?

My Grandma’s actually heard me mixing and the look on her face was pretty much that of puzzlement – I guess she’d describe it as confusing.

There’s a lot of garage, house and trance influences in your music, but it’s just as easy to listen to it with the lights dimmed at home. Do you make these distinctions when you’re producing and aim for one or the other?

I don’t really make distinctions, it all seems to blend together in my mind anyway. I occasionally intend to make a quieter tune, or one that fits a certain mood, but generally what happens just happens.

Do you have any musical influences beyond Electronic music?

I’m influenced by a huge amount of music – my sister Kitty Macfarlane is a folk singer/songwriter, and I follow her scene to a certain extent. I also enjoy a lot of classical music and jazz, as well as a healthy amount of hip hop.

Where do you see UK Garage at the moment? Recently it has been heavily laden with house-esque beats following the curve UK Electronic music is going at the moment. Do you see this as diluting it or helping it reach a wider audience?

UK Garage, like most other genres, has evolved a lot. While the older stuff is still relevant, and goes down extremely well, there are a lot of exciting directions the style is taking – particularly in its influence on modern house music, which is where I generally focus my attention. This trend will get extremely popular, especially in 2013, and inevitably die a horrible death, but the underground will prevail and evolve into something else, as it always does.

We saw you play Troupe’s night at Motion last month. How do your sets differ from your own productions? And are there any common themes in both?

My sets are pretty similar to my own productions – hard and euphoric, but generally I will include some other influences in a mix – dubstep, techno and RnB regularly make their way in there.

Where’s your favourite place to listen to music in Bristol?

I have a few favourites at the moment – Basement 45 and Timbuk2 will always be two of my favourites, but newer venues such as The Exchange are great as well.

What Bristol artists should we be looking out for in 2013?

Blonde – absolutely fantastic duo made up of Adam from Eton Messy and Jake from Thieves. My Nu Leng are consistently making absolute bangers, as is 51:27 resident Gage. Sly-One are rising fast in the scene as well, I’d definitely keep an eye on them.

Outside Bristol, where’s the best place you’ve DJd?

I don’t play outside Bristol much due to uni and work constraints, but the best place I’ve played has got to be a party in a mansion in Kensington, previously owned by Sting. Safe to say that was pretty mental.

When it comes to gig size, is it the-bigger-the-better, or do you think live electronic music has more appeal to an intimately sized crowd?

I like both the intimate gigs and the big ones, although it’s nice to have a full room wherever I play. It’s safe to say playing Motion was a highlight, but also some of the best crowds I’ve had have been at house parties. It all depends on the vibe.

If you could choose one DJ for a B2B who would it be and why?

Well I guess that would have to be Daft Punk. I can’t even imagine what that would be like as an experience, I’m looking forward to their next tour more than any other musical event I reckon (apart from maybe a third Burial album? Please?)

Any future plans/releases we should know about?

I have two releases planned for later this year – a hip hop/ RnB-influenced EP on B-DEM Records, and a heavier house EP on It’s A Bass Thing Records. I’m also working on a more chilled out house EP at the moment, which I’m hoping to get a label release for.

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