Olivier Grégoire is a prolific and well-renowned producer and DJ from Belgium. He has truly mastered the art of modern production, and over the years has experimented with many dance music genres through various pseudonyms, leading to a huge discography that includes releases on some of the world’s finest electronic imprints. Under his massive KOLOMBO moniker he has had many solid releases and remixes on labels such as Kompakt, 2DIY4, Warung, Noir Music, Turbo, Eskimo, Future Classic, Systematic and Boxer amongst others. Consequently, he is busy touring worldwide, playing his mixture of house and disco and enjoys loyal followings in Brazil, Mexico and Russia.
We caught up with Kolombo to talk about his current projects and future plans.
Electronic Groove: Thank you for joining us, Olivier. Please give us an update on what’s happening right now in your world. Can you tell us a little bit about what you’re musically into at the moment?
Kolombo: Hi guys! Let’s say I’m in between house and techno, particularly I don’t like to use the word tech house to define this genre.
EG: You’re from Belgium. How has the Belgian music scene influenced you as an artist and the music you make? What about Europe and spotlights like Paris, Berlin or Amsterdam?
Kolombo: When I started to get involved with music, the electronic scene in Belgium (end of the 80’s) was basically called “newbeat” – end of new wave, mixed with techno, where all the DJs were playing, it was the revolution of electronic music at the time. That had a huge influence at the beginning of my path as an artist. Of course, cities like Paris with its “french touch” with Daft Punk, and Berlin with its minimal beats also had influenced me through the years.
EG: Listening to your sound and skills when you are DJing, we perceive a huge love for the groove and synthetic sounds, actually with a recognizable funk and disco mood… Throughout your life, what has been your relationship with that kind of sounds?
Kolombo: Of course I really like funk and disco and without a doubt they have a huge influence on me, I was DJ for b-boys so I had to play a lot of that genres. In the past, my music was more into them, but nowadays I’ve been looking to keep “my mood” on house and techno.
“During 2018 I played in USA, Canada, Mexico, Germany, Netherlands, Spain, Egypt, France and Russia just to name a few”
EG: Can you mention some of your main musical influences?
Kolombo: Yes, absolutely! Starting with the classics: Frankie Knuckles, Todd Terry, Master at Work, Kenny Larkin, Carl Craig, just to name a few. Regarding labels some like Soma, Traxx, R&S, Champion, Strictly Rhythm, Nervous, and many many many more.
EG: In terms of your LouLou Records label, can you tell us about it and what the vision for that is?
Kolombo: We, LouLou Players and I, started the label in 2004 to release our own tracks and also to have a space to bet on new talents that we believe in. We try to not get stuck in one style of music, we try to be versatile.
EG: You continually seem to be on the pulse by signing tracks from artists just starting to shine: Stil & Bense, Roma De Cicco… Is this a conscious plan to promote the next generation? What do you look for new artists talent?
Kolombo: Yeah, we support them, include in that list Fran Bortolossi (Brazil), Mallik (France), Branzei (Canada) and Oscar Ozz (Germany). They are new artists that we believe in, our strategy is to release a collaboration before their own EP.
EG: Having been in the production game for a long time, do you have any favorite pieces of equipment that you use to make your music? Do you tend to use a lot of analog gear? What piece of kit couldn’t you live without?
Kolombo: Yes, I’m an old school guy, I’m totally into analog synths, I can’t live without Roland MKS-80 Super Jupiter with MPG-80 Programmer, MKS-50 with PG-300 Programmer, Roland Jupiter 4 compuphonic, Siel Opera 6, Roland SH32, Nord Rack, Korg Minilogue and others.
“I really like funk and disco and without a doubt they have a huge influence on me”
EG: What have been your highlights from your tour schedule in this 2018? We’ve seen you visiting Australia, Brazil, and Argentina. Any remarkable experience to share with us?
Kolombo: I tour these countries every year, especially Brazil and Argentina that I usually have more than 2 tours a year visiting them. In fact, it’s been 6 years that way and I still can’t believe it. So I could say, every tour in South America is a highlight. Australia and New Zeeland are quite the same, but I go once a year, for many years as well. People always receive me with so much love and respect over there. During 2018 I’ve also played in USA, Canada, Mexico, Germany, Netherlands, Spain, Egypt, France and Russia just to name a few.
EG: With the scene continuing to expand is there any new hotspot that you have seen rise and grow? Where would you like to perform, and have not had the opportunity yet?
Kolombo: Of course! I see countries like Colombia or even Asia that have a huge scene growing and I’ve never been, or just one time – like Japan and China where I’ve been a long time ago, I’d definitely love to come back there.
EG: In terms of your DJ shows, what have been you favorite tunes on rotation?
Kolombo: Classics I like to play are Cinema – Anthony Rother, Charles Ramirez – Up & Down, Martin Landsky & Marco Resmann – Fred the Ball feat. Johny Cruz and many others. My next release on Dirtybird, that will be available in March 2019, ‘O Ride O Ride’, it’s been working pretty well! I’m very happy about it!
EG: Finally, do you have coming up releases that people should look out for?
Kolombo: Well, as I mentioned before – out in March, ‘O Ride O Ride’ on Dirtybird, also coming up: Kolombo & Ron Caroll – We Disco Baby on Warung Records, Lany – My Storie (Kolombo Remix) on Moonbotica Records, Ariel Merisio, Wilian Kraupp – Falling In love – (Kolombo Remix) on LouLou Records and Real Party (Club Sweat). I’m off 3 weeks to the studio now, so 2019 will be hot!