LWE Podcast 55: The Oliverwho Factory

Until this past year The Oliverwho Factory had been cruising under the radar, producing a unique blend of house and techno on their own Madd Chaise Inc label. The Detroit duo of Daryl and Shone Caliman have developed a sound that while rough and raw production-wise, is beaming with warmth, character and soul. With one of their early cuts being featured on Tama Sumo’s Panorama Bar 02 mix, a recent remix of Prosumer and Sumo’s “Rareified,” and a 12″ on Planet E, they are finally getting the attention they deserve. In our interview they acknowledge that substitution of limelight for midnight oil is not in the cards. And while neither is exactly a DJ, the pair took time out of their busy schedule and three kids to record their first exclusive podcast mix that narrates where they’ve been and where they’re headed.

LWE Podcast 55: The Oliverwho Factory (49:19)

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01. The Jimi Hendrix Experience, “3rd Stone From The Sun” [Track Records]
02. B-52’s, “Mesopotamia” [Warner Bros. Records]
03. Donna Summer, “I Feel Love” [Casablanca Records]
04. The Oliverwho Factory, “Lady Dreamer” [Planet E]
05. Diana Ross, “Love Hangover” [Motown]
06. Lerosa ft. Shonie C, “Much Too Much” [*]
07. Rhythim Is Rhythim, “The Beginning” [Transmat]
08. The Oliverwho Factory, “Badala” [Madd Chaise Inc]
09. The Oliverwho Factory, “Sunshine” [Madd Chaise Inc]
10. The Oliverwho Factory, “Moonhacker” [Madd Chaise Inc]
11. Linda Clifford, “Broadway Gypsy Lady” [Curtom]
12. Prince, “All The Critics Love U In New York” (Oliverwho Remix)” [*]
13. The Oliverwho Factory, “Night Lights” [Planet E]
* denotes tracks which, as of the time of publishing, are unreleased

Can you tell me about the mix? Was there a specific theme you were going for?

Daryl: It’s everything we grew up listening to. It wasn’t everything we heard, but a lot of big influences that took place in different eras in time, trying to compress it all in a small amount of time. But it wasn’t really shooting for anything particular, just taking it laid back, so to speak.
Shone: It’s more of a reflection of what influenced us doing different types of music. It’s representative of the Oliverwho Factory. You have Jimi Hendrix. Who doesn’t know about him and his musicianship? And then you have the Donna Summer vocals; she was really big in the disco era. Of course we like to display our (own work), we also like to display vocals. This mix was more to tell a story of our influences. And some of our own records to show you how you can mix our records with basically any style of music. So that’s the idea behind that mix. It’s reintroducing who the Oliverwho Factory is, telling a story about the Oliverwho Factory.

You guys are more known for your music rather than DJing. Your mix for Recloose’s Hit It and Quit It radio show from earlier this year was the first I heard from you. Do you both DJ?

D: We really don’t DJ. I haven’t DJed in years. As I told Matt [Chicoine, aka Recloose] it’s been a long, long time since I DJed. But we both pulled together some tracks that we liked and I told him that it was real rough. It was explained that we really don’t DJ.
S: And no I don’t DJ, no, not yet. Someone had suggested that I do that and I have been playing around with a few different programs. I’m always interested in learning things, especially the DJ aspect. I think that’s exciting. I think that if the opportunity presented itself, I would go for it. Daryl is not giving himself enough credit. He has the capability, believe me he does, but I don’t know that he’s focusing on it right now but he could do it.
D: What Shone didn’t tell us is “look out.” Because when she gets into it she’s gonna get into it.
S: If you’re going to do it. Do it.

Which DJs do you look up to?

D: There’s a lot. I recall when Shone and me went to an after party and Theo Parrish had thrown a party at a Loft. It was like raw, lots of percussion, totally deep house. From that point on it stuck.
S: I like Fabrice Lig too. He is really, really intense. We had an opportunity to see him when he came here to Detroit five years ago and he was really good. His interactions… I always focus on how the DJ interacts with the audience and I could see the way he was interacting. He was very approachable. I think that compliments a DJ. I know that you have to focus on your art, your craft, but just as he was having a good time, it made us have even more fun. And the selection of music. Also Derrick May, I like the way he works up a sweat. He works hard.
D: He makes me tired. But he sure works it.

Your productions have a gritty texture to them. Why is that grit important to you and is it a reaction to the cleaner pop of the Oliverwho? days?

D: I would say that’s probably 25% of it. Another 75% is… we were listening to old music, the way it was.
A: Exactly. If you listen to the early records that came out during the old Motown days you can actually hear the crackling. You know, the needle on the record. That’s what we were trying to capture with our music as well. And the fact that it is underground music. If it was cool and crisp people would say that it’s too commercial sounding.
D: Some have actually alluded to that on some of our records. It was almost frowned upon when the production got a little cleaner.
A: We just wanted to show people we knew what we were doing, that we could make a record sound clean. There were a lot of people that didn’t understand at first. It was muddy, but they didn’t understand that was what we were really shooting for. It gives it a warmer feel too.
D: I don’t know if you grew up listening to the Beatles. But a lot of their stuff was cut on four and eight track tapes, yet they were the biggest records ever made. Not really how clean the song sounds, if the song is a good song… We were more or less going for a feel. Not trying to keep up with a certain sound. It was more or less to create a certain feel…
S: A back in the day feel.
D: That wasn’t being presented at the moment.

That’s an easy thing to associate with, especially with house records that use vocals; they can take on a commercial feel. It seems like that’s a good way to keep you from falling into that trap.

S: That’s really the way we look at it. When you do hear house music with vocals, some people tend to commercialize it. For me when vocals are placed in the right area, it doesn’t have to be a lot, but it adds more impact and more soul. I just think that is how we approach each record, soulfully.

I hear a lot of jazz in your records too. Not overtly, necessarily, but using different instrumentation and phrasing.

D: Jazz is something that surprisingly left Detroit but jazz is something that never really goes away. Before jazz did leave, it went from a real vintage jazz to a more of a pop jazz, they started calling R&B tracks jazz.

Smooth jazz they call it.

D: Yeah. In Detroit we had a real jazz station, it was JZZ. That’s when you heard a lot of the real, pure jazz. At that time in my life that was one of the things influencing me and it stuck with me.

“Night Lights” recently came out on Planet E, your first release on a label outside your own. Did you feel any pressure to clean up the sound of the tracks for that release?

D: No comment. [laughs] When we wrote “Night Lights” we said to ourselves this is a different track than what we’ve ever done. It just so happened things were getting set up with Planet E unbeknown to us and this turned out to be the perfect track, for Planet E more so than us. It was almost a more mature sound for us. It is still maintaining our sound and with his remix Carl took it to a different level.
S: I think it has a broader appeal in certain aspects. People who knew us from the beginning may feel a little hesitant about it because it is cleaner. But by the same token Carl’s label reaches a broader audience leaning more towards that style than “U Don’t Know.” Not to say we did it for that reason, because what we do is what we’re feeling at that time. It’s a good thing. We’re willing to open up and explore our options. Nothing wrong with that.
D: When we saw the track and heard the outcome it was like. ‘Yeah, it’s Planet E meets Oliverwho Factory'” We met somewhere in the middle.

Do you have any plans to release on other labels or do any further remixes?

D: There are some things in the works but until they are finalized… we will bring out at that point.
S: We’re going to do some remixes. I’m going to be contacting some people. [laughs]
D: Do you know Lerosa? He’s been into some reggae lately and Shone has done some vocals with him.
S: I like all the tracks, one of which is featured in the mix. It was a wonderful experience working with him. He’s real passionate; he does it for the love of music. And Daryl actually did some vocals as well. Look for that, they are some hot tracks.

Daryl, looking back at the time when you were on BMG, do you see that as a necessary step to get you where you are as an artist today?

D: I don’t necessarily wish it didn’t happen because we all learn from our mistakes and experiences. At the same time I don’t think it was something that was necessary for what’s happening now to happen. It was something that happened and I said that’s just something we won’t do anymore and decided to take a left turn somewhere.

No regrets then?
D: No, I really don’t look back. You go through it and you find out that they don’t know what they want to do. You could practically run the label yourself and do a better job. That’s why I don’t look back because I get upset about it.

You guys keep such a low profile, no Facebook, Myspace, and your website is under construction. How are people supposed to find out about you and stay connected to your music? Is being underground the primary goal?
D: That was the first thing, keeping it underground. Usually when our web page is active that’s when most of the audience knows something is about to happen. And that creates a buzz in itself.
S: I had actually started a Facebook page but I took it down because I’m somewhat of a perfectionist and I didn’t think the way I did it was completely right. As far as the website is concerned I’m looking into having someone design it for us because I want that to be right as well. I really want to connect with people who are supportive of our music.
D: Shortly after Tama Sumo presented her Panorama Bar mix, we thought maybe because it was so hard for her to get a hold of us we decided that we should treat the site like a company would treat a site and not so underground. It’s starting to grow and we need to conform to a degree to the point where you feel comfortable. That’s what we’re in the process of doing. It doesn’t mean we won’t be underground, but we will be more accessible.

What’s one house or techno record that has inspired you in some way and when do you remember first hearing it?

S: I can say Lil’ Louis, “Club Lonely.” I remember hearing that at the Warehouse club in St. Albans. We both used to hang out there. In the Riverfront, that’s where they used to throw a lot of house parties there. Also, “Break for Love” by Raze and “Can You Feel It” by Mr. Fingers, the instrumental version.
D: Yeah.
S: What about Soul Night at the State Theatre?
D/S: Oh yeah [in unison].
D: They had this club night called Soul Night on Tuesdays. This was back in the ’90s when you used to club during the week. It got so out of hand that you would go out not only on Thursday and Sunday but Tuesday. And then they had one club downtown in Greektown called Mickey’s. Those were the good days I guess. People were out partying in the middle of the week until 3 am.
S: Dancing for house music.
D: Knowing they got to get up the next morning and go to work.

Daryl, were those some of your picks as well?

D: I remember those, but nothing really stood out in terms of individual songs. It was the whole atmosphere, the whole club. It was totally different than going to a cabaret, or a concert. It was more of a feel free vibe. I was just going to say we had fun in Hamtramck. The Motor Lounge.
S: That’s that techno place.
D: I liken it to techno, probably techno more so than house unfortunately, I hate to say it that way. But I liken techno to jazz, and classical. Because you get more of a variety, you have more people that appreciate the actual music than cliques.
S: I think what Daryl is saying as far as house music, it’s so scarce. Me, I would listen to the music but you could see there were groups of people, cliques. They would call themselves the preps or something. And Daryl has always been an individual and that’s why he shied away. I’m speaking for him. Techno is more free.
D: I don’t see any cliques with techno. I don’t see just one crowd listening to techno. I don’t see one age bracket. It’s all over. I don’t see one culture. I see everything, I see everybody listening to techno.
A: At least that’s what we see here. It could be different somewhere else, but I’ve also been to Chicago house parties and clubs and seen it happening there.

I hadn’t thought about that, but I think that is where you can get back into that commercial versus underground conflict. House becomes the commercial and techno is underground in that equation.

S: Exactly. That’s what really prompted us to do the things we do. Because here’s the house and the techno, we love both sounds. We’re trying to combine that, not just on the musical level but also the audience that listens to it as well.

Your music has a certain depth and complexity that seems like it would translate well to the album format. Might we see an album from the Oliverwho Factory at some point in the future?

S: We never limit our options. That is always a possibility, because we have tons of songs we still have. Who’s to say it’s not something we could look into?
D: It’s interesting because Matt [Recloose] mentioned the same thing when he was here last. He asked if we were going to do a compilation or an album. It just sounded kind of weird to me, because you see it every now and then, but from the heavyweights. The guys who’ve done, who have been doing it for years. But other than that it’s like… I never really thought about it to that degree, but if it works within certain plans then why not.

It would be good to hear what you guys had in terms of a full album spectrum and exploring some non-dance floor sounds.

S: That reminds me of that one group Minnie Ripperton was in, back in the ’70’s [Rotary Connection]. Really soulful funk.
D: She was with a group; it was like a project, an experiment. And she was with the group before she went solo. She was actually the secretary for this label and they heard her singing and they asked her to be in the group. The group didn’t last long obviously because the label wanted new music. But the group was bad.
S: They were ahead of their time.
D: It was a situation where the politics came into play.
S: And people shied away.
D: We’ll definitely keep that in mind. You said something interesting. You said “it would be nice hear some non-dance.” Because I envisioned some things.
S: That was one of the things we were talking to you about in the first interview with you, with the one division of Madd Chaise. We’re still branching out. It’s just that the techno, house, electronic side is accelerating a little faster than what we thought so we don’t have as much time to devote to the other side of Madd Chaise. But we do have some songs that we have done and a few people that we have worked with that we want to put out. But again since this is more in demand right now we have to follow the techno-house side and keep grooving with that.

LWE Podcast 55: The Oliverwho Factory (49:19)

Chris Burkhalter  on August 9, 2010 at 1:12 AM

Really enjoyed reading this interview this morning. I’ll save the mix for this afternoon!

James  on August 9, 2010 at 6:31 AM

Loving ‘Moonhacker’. Great mix

Shonie  on August 9, 2010 at 12:22 PM

Many,many, thanks to all you guys at LWE for giving us a platform within to speak. Thank you so much for your support! As always,great job Kuri 😉


lerosa  on August 9, 2010 at 4:22 PM

much love to Shonie and Daryl, you shine

leo :)

lerato  on August 10, 2010 at 4:32 AM

it’s about time someone shone a spotlight on these two . amazing music on madd chaise !!! well done LWE and OWF . Cant Wait to hear the mix !!!!

Alex Gheorghe  on August 12, 2010 at 11:13 AM

thank you! loving it

oli  on August 19, 2010 at 9:58 AM

yo does anyone know how to get ahold of the love hangover remix they play in this set? it’s fucking SICK!

viktor  on July 20, 2019 at 2:56 PM

amazing producers
thank you very much for you work
love x


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