Following his bumpin’ performance for Club GLOW at Ultrabar, up-and-coming artist, Oliver Twizt, aka Joel, graciously welcomed us into his Twizted life, music, career, and future endeavors. This past Thursday, he played alongside Sandro Silva for the second to last stop of their Mixmash Records fall tour. For those of you who don’t know too much about him, not to worry, for you are all invited to story time!
Once upon a time, in the far away kingdom of the Netherlands, there lived a boy named Joel who grew up to be the man we know today, Oliver Twizt. We were inclined to know how he became Mr. Twizt, so we charmed him into giving us every last detail. Click here to see our review of Sandro and Oliver's set!
Spill your soul.
I was born and raised in the small town of Utrecht. I was just a regular, regular youth you know: mom, dad, little sister. Umm…I was quite a shy guy ‘til the age of…twelve (laughs) and then I started raving; I was a dirty raver. I went to school, school parties, and went clubbing. You know, I was always like the tallest guy; I hadn’t really any problems getting into the clubs. That’s really when I started hearing, like, dance music, and hip hop, like a combination of hip hop and dance music; umm drum and bass, and like, underground Dutch dance music and stuff. At the age of eighteen, I downloaded my first music software, FL (FruityLoops) Studio, and I started making some beats; not anything big but like regular mash-ups, bootlegs and remixes; but not quite serious: I was still in university and I was trying to get my Master’s Degree…I had my bachelor’s degree already. At age of…I guess when I was 23 years old, I did a bootleg of Eric E, that’s like an old-school Dutch house legend, and I posted it on a blog. He called me! He said, “Whoa dog, I love it man! I want to release it!” Then he got me in touch with Spinnin’ Records, signed me to his agency. Then I quit my university, I was like, “I’m going for my music”. Two years later, Laidback Luke's manager called me and she was like, “What’s your dream, what’s your future plan, you want to build, you want to go international?” and I said, “Let’s go!” Since then I’ve been going international and now, I’m in Washington!
Yes indeed! According to the “About Me” section of your Facebook page, you were “kidnapped into the ghetto” by “hardcore Hip Hop beats”. Who were you listening to back in the day?
My first hip hop album was Wu Tang Forever and umm, Puff Daddy & The Family and also No Way Out, I guess. And then I was into southern Hip Hop: Master P was pretty popular in Holland. From that point on I started listening to all the ghetto hip hop artists such as Tupac and whatever, you know? Now my favorites are Jay Z and Kendrick Lamar; Lamar’s going to win the competition—he’s going to be number one!
You obviously made the transition to a different genre of music; who or what influenced you to make that change?
Well as a kid, although I was listening to Hip Hop, I was also aware of the underground harcore/hardstyle scene in the Netherlands. It was a pretty big underground scene with major parties: 50,000-100,000 people. So I became a very big hardcore fan—the only vinyl records I have are all hardstyle records. One day I was listening to Sensation Black Compilation and I heard Benny Bennassi’s “Satisfaction” and seriously I was like, “That sound? I want to make that!” With UK Garage influences, Audio Police, I started creating something new like a mix among Audio Police, Benny Bennassi, Prodigy and yeah…that pretty much defined my first records. Switch was also a big influence for me; those guys made my sound.
What would you say was THE track that sort of put you on the conveyor belt to success?
Well, while I was signed to Spinnin’ Records, I had some tracks out there that did pretty well but I guess I’d have to say my international break-through records would include the remix I did of Afrojack’s “Polkadots" and my track “Gangsterdam”.
Your music has the reputation of mixing a little bit of everything and making it sound like sex on a stick; what’s sort of the process of making it all work together? How much research is put into playing around with everything for the finished product?
Well back in the day I didn’t do any sort of research. I’d just kind of use whatever samples I could find to make it sound different. I always wanted my sound to be different. That’s good on one hand but I guess on the other hand I found that it’s also good to follow the bigger guys to get yourself out there. Well, I want to do what I like, which is why I make a combination of trap records and big room records and I hope that in the near future, it’s accepted because everybody now is like, “No, just stick to one sound because people would be confused” and I’m like “Why?" Like, look at Diplo! He’s the only one who gets away with it and I really want to be like him. I grew up with all different kinds of music and that’s what I like to portray as my sound: just a dirty mix of a little bit of everything.
Could you also elaborate on the process you have to go through when remixing various other tracks?
Well remixing is a way to really branch out. So I just selected a few cool tracks and started remixing; once those remixes became well known, I’d get requests to remix other tracks. For example when I remixed A-Trak’s song, that was my first Trap remix and from then on I just kept getting requests for more Trap remixes. But now I’m done with Trap! I’m done with it, I’m sorry. But I love doing remixes, I’m good with remixes. I’m better with remixes than originals.
Why have you decided to move on from Trap?
Because a lot of people know me now as a Trap DJ and that’s definitely not what I am. I definitely got many fans out of my Trap remixes but they all think that’s my sound, but it’s not. This is why I have decided to move on from it for the time being.
You have collaborated with several well-known artists including Angger Dimas, Diplo, and of course Sandro Silva. Who’s next on your list and/or who would you absolutely love to work with, in the future?
I am currently working on tracks with the Bloody Beetroots, Carnage, Rehab, Bassjackers, and Laidback Luke. I’m pretty busy with a lot of collaborations now. I have a new track coming out called “Skin Party". My dream would be to work on records with Pharell, Timbaland, Kendrick Lamar, and with Muse!
Your career has rapidly shot forward and you’ve had the opportunity of performing not only in club events but at major festivals such as Tomorrowland. What would you say was your favorite experience?
My first US touring experience: The College Bus Tour, was by far my favorite. It was ridiculous. It was always my dream to go to the US and this tour was my dream-come-true. EDC Vegas was a close second.
What are your plans for the near future? Can we expect an album from you soon?
I’m trying to get a hit record first and once that happens, I am definitely going be working on an album, it’s my goal. Trust me, it’s coming!
Finally, do you have any last remarks for your fans?
Don’t. Ever. Use. Molly! Don’t do it! Smoke blunts, but don’t do Molly!
…Well folks, there you have it: The beginning of Oliver’s Twizted adventure.