TECH Q&A: OLIVER HELDENS | Skip to main content



oliver heldens
oliver heldens


What was the first piece of kit you ever bought?
“I bought a pair of KRK 6 monitors when I was 12 or 13 years old.”

Why did you choose these speakers?
“My dad chose them for me; he said they would be best for the records I was producing, so I went with his choice. We got some off a friend secondhand, so they weren’t expensive. Otherwise it would be a pretty big expense for a twelve-year-old kid.”

Your hit track 'Gecko', what was the main synth used in creating this monster?
“The main synths I used were Native Instruments' Massive and Sylenth by Lennar Digital, although my dad suggested using a Mini Moog but still I felt there were more creative opportunities and freedom using Massive and Sylenth.”

Your dad has he been a big source of inspiration and guidance for you in your career?
“Musically yes, he used to listen to everything except the radio, so the house would be filled with all sorts of music from classical to techno and early electro to drum and bass, disco, so I guess I got a huge musical inspiration from him.”

What made you get into music production and technology?
“Since I was 10 or 11, I started listening to hard dance, then a few years later, when I got into house music, I saw a lot of DJs live and that was when I wanted to start producing my own music. Following that, I wanted to make music that would get played out by other DJs, my goals grew and I started putting on my own parties in Rotterdam. Once you’ve achieved one aim, you move your sights onto the next thing and things just build.”

With your new track ‘Shades of Grey’, the bassline is a prominent feature of the track, can you tell us some of the techniques that you used to create the bass?
“I already had the vocals laid down, so it was pretty easy for me to create a bassline that would go with them. There was one going around in my head and I really liked it. I recorded it and moved a few things around, and experimented a little until it worked well with the vocals, then that was it. It was pretty simple for this track.”

What software and kit are you using when it comes to producing your tracks?
“Its pretty basic actually, I use Fruity Loops Studio and pretty basic plug-ins. Nexus pianos, stuff like that. Soon I’m going to try out Kontakt by Native Instruments. Kontakt is like an upgrade from Nexus. As I said, I am using Nexus for my pianos and instruments, but in the future I will do this all on Kontakt. I also really want to try out PreSonus Studio One instead of Fruity Loops.”

Why PreSonus instead of something like Cubase, Logic or Ableton?
“Cubase is made by a massive company, Steinberg. I like the fact that one of the guys from Steinberg went off on his own to develop PreSonus, bit like Ableton and Bitwig. Nowadays computers are so much better than 10 or 20 years ago, so now these new computers can run so much more than before. PreSonus has been designed to work well on these new computers, its really a great DAW I’ve heard, so I am happy to try it out.”

 Oliver Heldens new single Shades of Grey is out now on Positiva/Spinnin