Dedicated, hardworking, and energetic – three words that are probably the best attempt to briefly describe what the Norwegian hot-shot Ørjan Nilsen is about. In the last few years he has been wow-ing audiences across the planet with his take on what a 21st century DJ and producer should be about.
Born in 1982 in the Norwegian town of Kirkenes, Ørjan has had very little doubt about what he wanted to do with his life, having listened to countless CD compilations, and seeing some of the legends DJing, Ørjan knew that the DJ booth would be his domain one day.
Ørjan’s work with the dutch label Armada Music started with the track “Red Woods” released in 2006 under his DJ Governor alias, and over the years Ørjan found his groove, flashing samples of his huge potential, with classics such as “La Guitarra” (2008), Lovers Lane and So Long Radio (2010). Ørjan went on to release his first artist album in 2011 titled “In My Opinion” and “No Saint Out of Me” in 2013.
2016 sees the Norwegian Trance Viking celebrating 10 years at Armada Music, releasing a series of remix EP’s of some of his biggest classics, such as “Between the Rays”, “Endymion”, “Hands”, to name a few, by some of the freshest talents in the scene. A strong year for collaborations, as his debut one with KhoMha “Los Capos” owned the charts for more than 4 months, followed by his 2nd team-up with superstar Armin van Buuren titled “Flashlight”. His top single “Iconic” was voted #25 in the A State of Trance Tune of The Year poll and is announced to be the first one of his forthcoming artist album coming out in 2017.
As a DJ, Ørjan Nilsen quickly established himself with an infectious blend of all things chunky and groovy, his energy and presence behind the decks have taken him around the world playing at some of the world’s finest clubs and biggest festivals, from Sao Paulo to Sydney and many places in-between.One thing is certain, there is no stopping this Norwegian prodigy, as he is on a mission, be it in the studio or in the DJ booth, Ørjan Nilsen is determined to surprise, amaze and entertain, and you would not want to miss out.
Raver Magazine’s Founder Michael Beas had an opportunity to catch up with Ørjan, together, they discussed music, raving, and an inside look of what it was like growing up in Norway. This is what he shared up with the raver mag family.
Talk to us about DJ Governor – Re-Election its creation, its vibe, its inspiration?
DJ Governor is really where I started from. The first track I ever signed was a Governor track called ”Red Woods” 15 years ago. It being the 15 year anniversary of my music career, it made sense to bring that alter-ego back. Although its not very popular, I felt it would be a very good fit to showcase the super-trance (as I call it) version of myself with it and release something special to mark this milestone. It won’t be the last one of that type, thats for sure. But what ”Re-Election” is essentially a mixture of everything I have learned over the years. I’ve jumped from style to style for years, experimenting and learning new techniques. So I wanted to do something that is old-school trance, however with a modern twist, better sound, better arrangement. I am pretty proud of the result and it seems like people are loving it, thats all that matters in the end!
When asked what is it like working with Armin van Buuren and the Armada Music Team?
Ørjan responds, “Armada and Armin are my family. I started with them 15 years ago and we are still in this boat together. Back when I released ”Red Woods”, Armin actually found me on MSN asking me to sign the track. I didn’t believe that it was him so I asked him to turn on his camera, which he did. You cant imagine the excitement I felt. Ever since we’ve jumped in this journey together and I absolutely love my little music family. Myself and Armin have kept a great friendship to this day and its also been great to see ARmada grow into what it is today. Oh how times have changed.”
Going back to your hometown roots, what was it like growing up as Ørjan Nilsen in Norway and more so how did you get into producing music?
‘Norway is a pretty special place, especially my hometown Kirkenes. I rarely talk about my town, because its very difficult to describe. My friends and my management have visited me and they have all said ”now we understand why you say its special”. They call it the closest you can get to Narnia to Earth, and thats very true. The norm here is to get -40 degrees, have snow in May, northern lights during the whole winter, driving around the streets with snowmobiles instead of cars, meeting a moose on the street, pretty casual. I definitely recommend you all to visit. In terms of how I started in music, everyone in my family has been in one way or another associated with music. I was raised with playing instruments and I was just generally a very nerdy kid. I studied to be a surgeon and I was doing an internship at the hospital when that call from Armin came and I left everything behind. To this day I realize how lucky was I to succeed in music, cause I left a safe career as a surgeon in history and I have wondered many times what it would have been if I didn’t pursue music. But let me tell you, I dont regret it one bit.’
I am a personal fan of “In My Opinion Radio” but for those new to sound and vibe that you’re delivering what can they expect from you and your music. Also can new producers submit music to you for consideration and can fans also send in requests to have played?
“Thank you so much. IMO Radio means a lot to me as it was something I planned for many years, but never had the time to come around. One good thing that came out of corona is the fact that we got ourselves together and we created the show. Its currently bi-weekly and once every 2 months I feature an upcoming artist on my label with the hope I can help them grow a bit. I am hoping that in the future we will make it either weekly or at least longer, I want to invite artists to talk about their new tracks or simply share music experiences, I want to talk about my experience in music and give guidance to others, really want to make it into more than just a music mix, but more of a talk-show with music kinda thing. Fans can send demos to [email protected], I’m always in the look for new talent and my label has brought so many completely unknown guys into the picture, its amazing to see them all grow.”
What are some of the milestones that you have crossed in your 15 year career as a DJ and Producer and what are some of the milestones that you are looking to conquer in the next 15 years?
Playing at Tomorrowland 8 times is definitely an achievement. I’ve played at almost every major festival out there and I am super super proud of it. I still have a few in my to-do list, a bit more out of the box though, like Burning Man or Coachella, those would be absolutely fantastic. Being part of ASOT since forever is also a journey I reminisce fondly about, I’ve visited so many great places, I don’t even remember if there’s been countries I havent visited yet. But my goal for the next 15 years is to continue making music, open my own production school and teach people how to perfect their craft and simply stay healthy and going for as long as I can!
For those who have never been to Norway what is the one thing that they must do if they ever go and visit your home country?
Funny thing that I fly all over the world, but I really don’t travel that much in my own home-country. I do recommend, however, to visit my hometown Kirkenes. Its almost the last city before the North Pole, way above the arctic circle. During the winter you can experience the Northern Lights almost daily, you can go fish for King Crab and then cook them immediately after (its seriously the most delicious thing in the world). Seeing one of those bad boys is quite the sight too, since they grow up to like 6 feet wide! You can do husky safaris, drive snowmobiles on the frozen fjords, do winter camping and all sorts of very interesting experiences! I’d definitely recommend a visit to the Snow Hotel and stay in the snow rooms, its very unique! We also have the most northern China Town in the world here and an incredible friendliness and hospitality of the locals 🙂 Trust me on that one.