While the pandemic brought many people’s work to a standstill, others found opportunity in building their platforms through the power of the Internet. Before Covid hit, DJ and fitness instructor Olivia Lumb was teaching her wittily-named ‘Panorama Barre‘ classes at studios across London, but as things began to shut down she had to think of alternate ways to keep her classes going.
With people shacked up at home with no access to exercise facilities, Olivia saw a chance to launch herself into the online sphere, and has since grown Panorama Barre into a space for exercise and music lovers alike. What’s special about Olivia’s classes is that she pairs her love of electronic music and DJing with exercise by creating bespoke mixes for her workouts: a mission that she describes as her ‘heart and soul’.
For her Diggers Directory mix she delivers a high-energy mix of ’90s and ’00s house, techno, tech house and bleep to soundtrack an exclusive 60-minute class that she’s recorded just for us. This sits alongside an interview about her pathway into music and DJing, her passion for digging and what the future holds for her platform.
DJs and producers often mention their musical education came through their family’s record collection. Was this the case for you? Can you pick out any pivotal records from your upbringing that informed your musical journey?
None of my parents collected records but my Dad listened to a lot of house music growing up and has always been into raving (even now at 55!) I have fond memories of us listening to mixes from Ibiza on long car journeys and dancing around the house to them. I think this definitely opened my ears to dance music in general but our tastes are very different. When I first found my own taste for electronic music I was really into drum and bass. I think most of the influence from my collection came from my early days clubbing and the friends and collectors I was spending lots of time with.
People buy records for a multiple of reasons. What first drew you to collecting records and what motivates you to continue digging after all these years?
I was doing lots of clubbing and spending lots of time with friends who mixed records. As my understanding and taste for electronic music grew, I felt collecting music in this format and learning how to mix the tunes was the best way to engage with the music. I had recently completed a degree in music and had been singing and writing music for years – as my taste gravitated towards electronic music, I wanted to channel my energy into something new and exciting.
Where do you store your records and how do you file them?
I store my records in my sexy custom built unit that my carpenter mate made for me. When I bought the unit, I lived in a house with lots of diggers so it was full to the brim. Now I’ve moved into a smaller place with just one other so there’s so much space to fill, which I’m super excited about!
I file my records in terms of mood over genre/bpm – by this I mean the kind of energy level or style of sounds. I like organising in this way as it feels very unique to me – it might not make sense to somebody else digging through my collection.
What are your favourite spots to go digging and why?
My favourite place to dig is in the comfort of my own home with a cup of tea and my feet up. I’m really indecisive as a person and struggle making decisions on the spot, so Discogs is good as I can easily save and come back to things without the pressure to buy. That being said, I used to live next door to Kristina Records on Well St in East London and I have bought lots of sick records from there. Palace Records in Crystal Palace has gotta be my fave in London, though. So many old gems.
Is there a record (or records), that has continued to be elusive over the years?
I would love to buy Clockwork – Prophet. I’ve loved this record for a while but it’s never been available to my knowledge!
Do you prefer record shopping as a solitary process or with friends to nerd out with and search for strange sounds together? If the latter, who do you like to go digging with?
Definitely as a solitary process. I can get way more in the zone without any other distractions. Digging with friends can be fun too, especially when you make a day out of it.
Walking into a record shop can be quite a daunting experience. Do you have a digging process that helps you hone in on what you’re after?
Yes it definitely can and I do still feel that sometimes. I think it depends on the store and how it’s organised, but my go-to is to head straight to the crates of a sound I want to explore, and just get through as much stuff as possible without overthinking it too much. It’s quite simple. Yes there’s obviously a lot of stuff that isn’t my bag, but I enjoy the process of hearing this stuff too.
How big a role does album artwork play in your digging?
This is more significant in a record shop than when I’m looking on Discogs for some reason. I think it’s because I’m holding the records in my hands so I notice it more. But yeah, I think you can often tell from the stylistic nature of labels whether certain records are going to be your vibe. Certain styles of artwork are obviously linked to a specific sound or genre. I do often listen to the records just because I think the artwork is cool, but a lot of records that I love have artwork that I hate, so I try not to go by this too religiously.
Could you tell us a bit about the mix you’ve done for us?
Most of the mixes that I’ve created to date have quite a specific sound as I’ve primarily been creating mixes for my fitness brand, Panorama Barre. I do these mixes monthly so they do have to be thrown together quite quickly, and most of my mixes to date feature mostly new releases and lots of fruity, bouncy techno and house. This is because it’s quite accessible for people that aren’t ravers that turn up to my classes.
Since clubs have reopened and we have been exposed to so much more, my taste has taken a bit of a heavier twist and I feel that this mix really demonstrates this. It’s a mix of house, tech house, techno, breaks, bleep, acid, and trance, mostly all from the 90’s and early 00’s. The theme for the mix is still for a fitness class; I’ve created a 60 minute workout that’ll be paired with this mix, so it’s going to be interesting to see where the class goes as the BPM speeds up to 140 and the tunes get pretty heavy haha… Be prepared to sweat!
Any standouts in the mix you’d like to mention?
I love the second to last track on the mix. It’s called ‘High Screen’ by Global Error, released on Dutch label Electrik Records. I have found this kind of wiggy techno quite striking recently as it’s a bit of a twist on sounds I usually gravitate towards. I love that kind of freaked out/confused feeling that some tunes can give you on the dance floor, and this does exactly that.
Casting the net wider now, who are some of the record collectors you most admire and why?
Jane Fitz for sure. She has a really good Discogs seller account and I’ve bought some really sick records from her in the past. I like that she plays such a mixed bag of genres, and music aside I am just all for her no frills ethos to DJing. She’s literally there for the music, none of the pretentious bullshit that goes with it, and I love that so much.
Are there any young collectors emerging who we should keep a close eye on?
My friend Ben Koops is so obsessive when it comes to collecting records. He spends all of his free time digging and his collection is full of absolute gems. He’s just started getting his first gigs under the name Neb Spook and I’m expecting him to do really well over the next few years as he grows as a DJ!
Anything on the horizon you’re excited about?
I’m just SO excited about the future of Panorama Barre and the people that I’m going to get to meet as I continue growing the platform. Taking business online has already given me so many new and exciting opportunities – I’ve made amazing connections this way. It truly is my heart and soul. Combining sick electronic music and exercise is just so good for your mental health. It’s so rewarding seeing others reap the benefits from this method too. I can’t wait to see what else is in store!
Try Olivia’s online classes via her website and click ‘Sign Up’. 10 DAY FREE TRIALS AVAILABLE, then £20p/m for unlimited workouts that you can take anytime, anywhere.