A conservatory and rock musician who specializes in harmony and string arrangement, Columbian Fernando Olaya’s experience in building melodies has transformed into a distinctive electronic music career. With a history in trance and techno alike, Fernando’s love for melody is transmitted through his deep, progressive, “melodic tech-house” sound which he brings to listeners through his productions, mixes, and unique live performances.
Focusing on creating music with magic and emotion, Fernando’s releases on labels such as MNL, Perspectives Digital, Mango Alley, Modern Agenda, Superordinate Music and many more have received support from names such as Hernan Cattaneo, John Digweed, Armin Van Buuren, Marcus Schulz, Miss Melera, Max Graham, Gai Barone, Paul Hazendonk, and Wally Lopez while he has shared the stage with DJs like Sasha, Dubfire, Paul Ritch, Paul Van Dyk, Cid Inc, Carlo Lio, Greg Grow, Matador, and Kevin Saunderson (to name a few).
While he has established a notable musical career of his own, Fernando also shares his knowledge as a Music Production teacher and is establishing an online course for Latin American aspiring electronic musicians: www.produccionmusicaelectronica.com
Previous guest mixes on Suffused Diary, FRISKY Loves Colombia and Artist of the Week have introduced Fernando Olaya to the FRISKY audience, and with the premiere of his new show Sonnet Speciale he will now have the opportunity to share his incomparable perspective each month. Tune in to the premiere on November 14th at 6 PM EST and listen on-demand anytime after with FRISKY Premium.
Get to know more about Fernando Olaya before diving in:
What was your beginning in electronic music like?
I started from a very young age studying piano, and listening to my father’s vinyl music, then I heard on the radio different artists who fell in love with me like: Technotronic, Ace of Base, Everything but the Girl, Afrika Bambata, Robin S and his “Show me Love”, Jean Michelle Jarre … At that time I knew that I wanted to dedicate myself to producing this music when I grow up
What do you think are the biggest changes you’ve experienced in your own music and within the industry since you began?
I started producing in early 2000 I was very influenced by trance and I was also studying music at the conservatory but then I met techno music and let myself be infected by its underground sound, I changed my style and began to press my first productions as “FERTY “From 2006 to 2012. At this time I had already signed with great labels and my tracks were played by Fat Boy Slim, Stefano Noferini, Robbie Rivera, Joy Kitikonti … Then I retired from music and decided to make the biggest change in my career.
I decided to kill my first aka Ferty and I started with something more honest with myself, something more musical and applying all the experience in my career, at that moment Fernando Olaya was born the great change.
Since I started as Fernando Olaya until today I have had great evolution in my sound, going through deep, progressive to melodic techno, but always with much percussion and groove for the dance floor. For me it would be something more melodic tech-house.
Can you share with us more about your live act and how your electronic music performances compare to your experience playing in traditional rock bands?
My act is live is very simple, Ableton Live and max for live with different channels to be able to sample live with a “Push” and control everything from an Akai APC 40 and the touchable app with the iPad, I also carry midi keyboards and improvise different harmonies and arpeggios with plug-ins such as Omnisphere, Trillian, Maschine 2 or Komplete, I include an RMX 1000 as a general processor and sometimes I carry guitar pedals, I also usually invite different musicians. In a live act that I did in Havana (Cuba) I invited saxophonist, violinist, and guitarist for a show people loved it.
I’ve always been a rocker who loves English sound since MUSE, Pink Floyd, Radiohead, Rolling Ston, Placebo, Unkle, but I also love the heavy sound.
I have worked mixing different rock groups and it has helped me to have another vision of the composition in electronic music. The positive thing about a live act is that you control the ideas in a band sometimes the musicians fight to make their instruments the protagonists. The rock style and distortions I apply in the synthesizers as well as in the harmonies that I use in my productions.
What has been one of your favorite performances you’ve done?
I can say that there are several important presentations such as the burning man Colombia, playing in Ibiza or the first time I played at the Amsterdam Dance Event. But I have two special shows that are favorites: the first time my mother and sister went to listen to me in a show and the other time to play with a producer who was my idol when I started, Sebastien Leger.
Where are you putting most of your focus on within the music lately? Are there any upcoming projects you can share with us?
At the moment I am preparing an album for 2020, this year there are great releases on Mango Alley, Univack Records and some releases the other year for great labels but I still can’t say it. I also have presentations in Argentina and Brazil this month.
I am also releasing an online educational platform with production courses with Latin American musicians and producers:www.produccionmusicaelectronica.com
What do you think are your greatest strengths as a musician?
Apart from studying piano, which helps me to improvise live in live acts, I believe that my greatest virtue is to make harmonic and melodic arrangements in my compositions using advanced progressions or non-traditional scales, such as the Hungarian, Hiratoshi, Neapolitan or using the modal scales. I am very good in counterpoint so I always try to do very musical things.
What are you most proud of accomplishing within your music career?
Apart from important awards in my country as best DJ, or nominations in the “vicious magazine award” as best producer, I think the most important thing is the relationship I have with the public and the friendships I make in each country where I present myself with my music. I am a music and production teacher and a great satisfaction is to transmit to my students the experiences and knowledge that I have acquired in all these years so that they also fulfill their dreams. That is very satisfying.
What do you feel is the most important thing for people to experience when they listen to your music or go to one of your shows?
People who are going to listen my music probably may have never heard a single track that I play and may never hear it again as I make versions to play on the dance floor and possibly never publish them. I always play very musical, melodic but also very danceable songs so that people dance and travel with the sounds at the same time, they can listen to rock styles, going through classical music or tracks with oriental sounds. It all depends on the moment.
My main function on the dance floor is for people to connect with me and my music and forget their daily problems for a few hours. That they take away the stress of the week in the office or their personal problems, the important thing is that they change the energy of the dance floor.
I’d love to hear more about Sonnet Speciale – can you share more about the meaning behind the name and what listeners can expect to hear on your show?
Sonnet Speciale is a record label that I created since 2012 when Fernando Olaya was born and was created to share music with dark, melodic, progressive and alternative sounds. For me Sonnet Speciale represents a surreal sound, each song is a story with different sweet colors, dark atmospheric, melancholic but always danceable.
Every week I receive music for the label or tracks sent to me by producers so that I play in my shows, I am very happy that I can share all these beautiful sounds with all the listeners of Frisky Radio.