Few 21 year olds can hope to experience the sort of summer Oliver Heldens had in 2016. The Dutch producer and DJ spent the warmer months jetting around the globe to play at some of the world’s largest summer festivals — from Belgium’s Tomorrowland to Chicago’s Lollapalooza. One of the stops was the Fuji Rock Festival in Niigata Prefecture.
“It was really quite the experience playing at this amazing mountain festival in Japan. The setting was really cool and of course the Japanese fans were awesome,” Heldens says.
He’s coming back this month for a wider cross-country jaunt, kicking off on Oct. 7 at Club Joule in Osaka before stops in Tokyo and Nagoya.
Heldens started making music at 12, though it wasn’t until 16 that he dove into the deep-house sounds that influence him now. He caught the attention of compatriot Tiesto, who released his single “Gecko.” From there, his thumping take on the genre landed him on top of European music charts, club dates and spots at prominent dance festivals.
His latest single, the sun-dazed “Flamingo,” came out in August. “When it comes to trying something different, I think, as a DJ, it is always important to keep your sound refreshing so I tried to do that with ‘Flamingo’ as well,” he says.
Despite having a song titled “Pikachu” that features samples of said Pokemon, Heldens says he was never really interested in Japanese pop culture. “I was more interested in Japanese food! Sushi!” he writes, saying his perfect day in Japan would likely be organized around mealtimes.
Oliver Heldens plays Club Joule in Osaka on Oct. 7 (9 p.m. start; ¥4,000 in advance; 06-6214-1223); Studio Coast in Koto-ku, Tokyo, on Oct. 8 (6 p.m.; ¥6,000; 03-3444-6751); and X-Hall in Nagoya on Oct. 9 (9 p.m.; ¥4,500; 052-265-6657). For more information, visit www.oliverheldens.com.