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OLAVI talks about his Trusted Tracks records and teh Swedish electronic music scene

Get to know Olavi & Trusted Tracks records

OLAVI is always in the pursuit of perfect symmetry where the light shines through the darkness. He loves capturing melodies and playfully mixes them with straight vocals and hard-hitting percussion. The music tends to feel a lot faster than it is, which is fully intended.

Oscar Virtanen is the name behind the music. The co-founder and CEO of the Swedish underground label Trusted Tracks. Born and raised in the heart of Sweden, Gothenburg.

A great in-depth talk about his record label and the Swedish electronic music industry.

Connect with OLAVI on Spotify | Soundcloud & Trusted Tracks on Instagram

Over a year has passed since that mix. What has changed in the meantime?

Thank you, it’s a pleasure being back! A lot has happened since I did my mix for TGMS

I’m happy to say that things are starting to look a bit brighter. Clubs & venues are open again here in Sweden and we haven’t had any restrictions since two months back. A silver lining for live music and techno. If we turn the tape back even further I’ve spent a lot of time as an intern at Elements, the label founded by Jonas Rathsman, launched two underground events AE:RIAL  & Mystery Garden and, played full out in school. Crazy how things work out sometimes.

I am sure the pandemic must have had an impact on your life as well. How did you keep busy?

Yeah, my colleagues and I started the label Trusted Tracks eager to get our sound heard and to get busy playing our music to a bigger crowd. The launch was a month before the lockdown.

So naturally, I needed to figure out how to spend the amount of free time I was unwillingly handed. After a while, I had re-constructed my goals and strategies so it wasn’t hanging on the number of live performances that 2021 could offer. It led me to spend lots of time in our studio which got me to finish one of my goals this year, releasing 6 tracks. Also, I’ve been trying to create fun live streams and hosting events. It’s been quite a developing journey. 

One thing for sure is running your label Trusted Tracks. Can you tell us a bit about it?

Trusted Tracks is the home of Ito Cekaj, Rasange, OLAVI (me), and the Trusted Tracks family. We are constantly looking for great ambitious techno talents that match our sound for releasing music or live-recorded mixes with us, keeping the family growing. 

When I came up with the name Trusted Tracks, it all started as a mix series that was supposed to evolve into a label

When I came up with the name Trusted Tracks, it all started as a mix series that was supposed to evolve into a label. I told myself that I would release 1 mixtape every week. It didn’t work out, I released two mixes and then put my beautiful business idea to sleep. Until my friend Vicktor Larsson, who is now a co-founder, said that he wanted me and him to do something together and that he liked the whole idea of Trusted Tracks. We decided to give Trusted Tracks our everything but we felt like we needed one more person to get Trusted Tracks rolling. We asked Rasmus Samuelsson if we wanted to be one of the co-founders, and he said yes. Today, we have a network of almost 80 artists that have been on our series and released 17 tracks.

The vision behind it perhaps and the artists releasing on it?

Our vision is to put Swedish melodic techno on the map and to keep expanding our talented techno family. 

Our vision is to put Swedish melodic techno on the map!

The artists on our label who released music are my close friends Ito Cekaj, Rasange, Guido Flava & RØNN. All of which brings different vibes to the label. Guido Flava has this hypnotic and progressive style that I enjoy. RØNN is pure energy and tends to play both harder and darker than the rest of us. Ito Cekaj & Rasange deliver genius music every single time, they’re not stuck in a specific sound and the creativity they provide blows my mind daily.

Soon you will be releasing a track of your own: ‘Chasing Fog’. A pure hypnotic acid lead and the intensity of heavy drums define this track. How did this one come together?

Chasing Fog was a draft that I’ve been trying to make perfect for months. I liked the idea but I didn’t know what should do with it. It was mostly drums and bass. I must have tried 10 different leads throughout a long period of time until finally, I got it right. I created the melody that I felt worked with the vibe of my acid-lead, which ended up defining the whole production. When the production and arrangement felt right, I asked for help from Rasange and Ito Cekaj who always mix and master my music. They are true Jedis with that stuff.

Tell us a bit about the Swedish electronic music scene. How does it differ from the rest of Europe or even the world?

From an export point of view, Sweden is awesome. We have great producers and DJs headlining the biggest stages all around the world.

But inside the borders, Sweden hasn’t yet developed a solid Techno scene or an EDM scene for that matter. A quality techno experience is only found underground, which I like. But it’s just not available for everyone. For the scene to grow more people need to experience it. 

“Post restrictions” things have been starting to change. We’ve seen artists like Superflu, Âme, Paul Kalkbrenner, Red Axess & Themba popping up at Swedish venues in just a couple of months. That’s the type of progress we need to make the techno scene grow and give talented techno artists a chance here in Sweden.

How do you fit in with your music and your label? As you still have a long way ahead of you, how do you see your career evolve as a musician? 

I’m all about the adventure. Music allows me to travel, meet new people, discover places, and that’s what my life is all about. Musically, I’m still early in the progress but I feel like I’m starting to find my sound. The music needs to be dirty, intense, colourful and, I don’t like to play faster than 120bpm. I’d like to think that my vibe and sound are different from other artists in the scene and Trusted Tracks both look and sounds different from other labels. 

The music needs to be dirty, intense, colourful and, I don’t like to play faster than 120bpm.

I plan to give Trusted Tracks my all and pursue the OLAVI dream for a long time which makes me confident knowing that things will grow, goals will be achieved and, I’ll have loads of fun.

Full-time music or partial and making time for other passions? What are your end of year resolutions and what do you wish the world for 2022?

I’m trying to create a life where I can pursue music full-time, right now I have other obligations as well. School mostly, I study international sales and marketing. I also work a lot with Jonas Rathsman and my family company.

I reached my goal for this year – 6 releases in 2021. That was a major thing for me. I mean it’s less than 30 days left of 2021. I guess I will do a similar goal prior to 2022.

It’s sad to see people quit their dreams because of the pandemic. With that said, I want the world to open up again. I want to see people dance, laugh and, get a proper techno experience.

Thank you!

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