Following new school house heroes Dirt Crew to the EPM Podcast we continue EPM’s 10 Year celebrations with a special ‘classics’ mix from EPM’s own Oliver Way. Featuring underground classics from the likes of Steinski, The Beat Club, Bonesbreaks, Shut Up & Dance, UR, Timezone, Twilight 22 and Landlord alongside various edits of straight up legends of electro and hip hop like Public Enemy, Big Daddy Kane, Hashim, Run DMC, Roxanne Shante, Schooly D, Herbie Hancock, West Street Mob and more this a straight up party mixed, delivered fresh from the old school.
From working in Bass Box Records in Buckhurst Hill, Essex in 1992 Oliver Way now looks back on nearly 20 years of involvement in the music business. From promoting the Drum, Caffeine and Motion parties in New York in the mid 90s to setting up Morpheus Productions back in London, Oliver joined partnership with Jonas Stone to start EPM - a bookings, management and PR and promotions company in January 2001.
Now a Dutch resident of some 8 years, Oliver has helped to establish a European head office for EPM in Maastricht alongside third partner Melle Boels which has successfully seen EPM re-position themselves as a digital aggregator, promotions, publishing and rights management company.
Alongside the ‘hidden’ business end of Oliver’s music career he has also maintained his DJ and production credits, most notably as the masked electro-funkateer ‘Mr.O’ in the Detroit Grand Pubahs which has seen both himself and Paris The Black Fu produce the last three Pubahs albums, whilst Oliver also runs their Detelefunk imprint. You can also find a brand new and exclusive Pubahs track on the recently released EPM 10 Compilation – which neatly brings us full circle.
So delve into the history of what helped turn EPM onto music in the first place – and don’t forget your dancing shoes!
Q&A with Mr. O (aka EPM’s Oliver Way)
1. Please give us a quick walk through your selection. Why did you choose these tracks for the mix?
It’s a selection of tracks that have influenced me, and they all had some contribution to me deciding to work in music. If it wasn’t for these tracks (besides many others) who knows what path I may have taken instead. I wanted the mix to span a certain period of time from the mid 80s through to the early 90s. Many of these tracks still make the hairs on my arm stand on end and when I hear them they put me right back to those times, or even a certain moment. They spark good memories and people that I knew. Tracks like Total Confusion makes me remember an old friend who has passed, Casper Pound (RIP), any Bonesbreaks puts me back in NY, Landlord & Derek Went Mad to the sweaty, smoke filled dancefloors in London and when these tunes came blaring out the of the 10, 20 whatever K soundsystem, back in the days when promoters would put the size of the soundsystem on their flyers.
2. This mix continues on from the EPM 10 Year party celebrations at Fabric and recently released EPM 10 compilation. How does it feel to reach such a milestone?
Glad to have made it this far, it’s a landmark, but just the beginning. Its been a roller coaster of a journey to get to this point, and things are still growing and we still learning. I feel this first 10 years just got us started. Now EPM is starting to gather pace and have a more focused direction.
3. How has EPM evolved over the last 10 years?
Its mutated from a bookings agency and UK only PR company into a digital distribution, rights management, publishing and global PR and promotions company.
4. How do you juggle your commitments to the Detroit Grand Pubahs, DJ and production career and EPM day job?
By working constantly. Usually work on EPM during the day and Pubahs in the evening. Or vice versa. It can be tiring at times, especially when we have Pubahs gigs at the weekend and I get home Sunday night then have to be up in the morning to go to work. But “if you can’t stand the heat get out of the kitchen”. I think about that when things are too much. But I’ll always be in the kitchen, may need to stick my head in the freezer from time to time but I wouldn’t change anything.
5. What were your first clubbing experiences? How did you get hooked?
The area I grew up in was immersed in dance music culture. Everybody around my age and older was into it. You couldn’t not know about it or be into it as everybody was. All the clubs were playing dance / rave music from the Palladium and Ritzy type commercial nightclubs to the more underground clubs like The Dungeons on Lea Bridge Road or Berwick Manor in Essex. Then a record shop opened on my street and that was it, I started skipping school to work in there, and got paid in vinyl. That record shop was owned by the rave organisation Raindance. While working there I started to get involved with the music more and working on events. The first one ever I helped put on was at The Rocket in Islington. Things just evolved from there.
6. EPM 10 was the launch of EPM’s new digital label. What can we expect from the label in the future?
Lots of quality music is the only premise. We are looking for new artists that are serious about what they do, It doesn’t have to be a big name. Just good music and strong passion for the music. Our first artist album on the label is a very talented producer called Lee J Malcom. Lee also is in a band called The Vessels, which is signed to Leaf. The first single off his forthcoming album will be released the end of April and feature a remix from James Ruskin. Other producers we have currently finishing albums for release on EPM are Carl Taylor and Kristian Heikkila.
7. You spent the mid 90s living in New York. What were your experiences of the Big Apple at the time?
The underground techno rave culture with clubs like The Limelight, NASA raves in Manhatten, the Brooklyn and Queens warehouse raves and Long Island’s Caffeine were all going strong. There were so many parties going on. It was a good time to be there, as influential as NY was in the late 70s for Disco, and the 80s to Rap & Breaks/Electro. The 90s saw a lot of techno & house come out of NY yet people over look New York way too much. For House they always quote Chicago, and for Techno always Detroit but NY is as influential as either of these, actually even more for House. And for techno there is an abundance of influential producers out of that city. Just look at labels like Nu Groove. The highest percentage of tracks in this mix are from producers or labels in NY.
8. And now you have been a resident of the Netherlands for 8 years. How big a change was Maastricht from London?
They are nothing like each other. Maastricht is a small, provincial city. At first it was a bit of a shock to adjust to a city that does sleep. But it’s a nice change. London will always be home, but things are good here. Its very central in Europe so easy to visit other places, Cologne and Brussels is 1 hour by car. Paris and Amsterdam are 2 and half hours by direct train, and there is a direct flight to London coming now which only takes 45 minutes, so if I miss a bigger city or home then its all easily accessible,
9. If the term ‘Oliver Way’ was cockney rhyming slang what would it mean?
Doing something your own way, making your own path, Oliver’s Way ☺
10. Please give us your top 5 ‘All Time Electro Producers’.
In no particular order and these are not the only producers, just a selection off the top of my head:
The Latin Rascals