In this time of isolation where we are forced to find new ways to create connections within ourselves and between each other, Mitch Oliver’s Aurora project is a breath of fresh air. Inspiring us to look beyond the dance floor and discover the deep relationship between music and nature, Mitch manages to balance showcasing his personal experiences and artistic expressions while creating an environment that invites viewers to find the connections within their own lives.
With “a deep need to share my passion with people” but feeling that live-streams were becoming overdone and uninspiring, Mitch set out to create something different which reflects who he is as an artist. Each episode of Aurora captures a separate side of himself in order to bring together a complete presentation of “what Mitch Oliver is all about”, not only by taking place in different locations that have each played an important part in his life but also by occurring at different times of the day to capture the ever-changing moods and energies from sunrise to deep into the night. Naturally, the music adapts to these individual scenarios, as the carefully chosen selections set the scene through sound.
The project begins with Part 1 – Origins, which takes place in the stunning landscapes where he was raised, and features a set comprised of only his own productions – the first time he has done so. Representing his roots and the expansion of his creative expression, Origins is a beautiful journey that showcases the power of electronic music, inspires deeper listening, and provides an introduction into what is to come with the rest of Aurora.
Mitch Oliver takes us behind the scenes of this ambitious and inspirational foray into nature, music, and himself:
What first inspired the idea to do this series?
My desire to share the connection I have with nature and how it inspires me as an artist as much as in my everyday life. Also, when the pandemic hit and everyone was doing live streams, I quickly noticed that it wasn’t for me. I felt a deep need to share my passion with people and understood that live streams were an option but I felt they became too frequent. The market was saturated by them and the majority were visually boring. I brainstormed of a different way I could showcase my art and show another side of me and that’s how the project came to life.
Can you share some of the pre-planning work that went into it?
A lot of work went into the pre-production work and I am so grateful to have had a superb team to help me throughout the whole process. One of the most challenging parts of the project was to film the whole 1 hour set in one take, as I didn’t want to have to act and wanted to keep the final result as authentic as possible. We also had to deal with mother nature, as our goal was to shoot at sunset, so that was also a challenge in terms of timing and deciding last minute the day of the shoot. Overall, as we took a lot of time to plan, it really helped make the shoot day go smoothly.
How did you select which tracks are the best fit for each episode?
Each episode will be filmed in very important locations, each representing a different facet of my life, which means that my track selection will be adapted accordingly. Also, each episode will be representing a different time of day, from sunrise, day time, sunset to night time, which will also impact what my music selection will be. As a DJ, I also adapt to my surroundings, which in the case of nightlife, is the crowd and the venue I’m playing in. In this series, as there are no crowds, I wanted to change my surroundings as much as possible for each episode in order to be inspired to play differently for each of them and show a different side of me each time. For the first episode, it was important for me to solely play tracks that are my own productions as this episode represents my origins. It was very special for me to do so as I had never played an all original tracks set before and didn’t intend to play these tracks one after another when I composed them, but I’m very happy with how it turned out.
What was your goal for this project?
To be able to showcase my art in a different environment than the club setting and prove to people that the music world I’m in can be deeply connected to nature. It was also important to me to show my fans a different side of me, open myself up a little more to allow them to understand where I’m coming from, what inspires me musically. The goal was also to have a piece of content showcasing my art that would stay timeless, some sort of presentation video of what Mitch Oliver is all about.
What makes it a “success” to you?
To me, it’s a success if I feel it truly represents myself as an artist and accurately depicts my world. As I feel it does, from that point on, all I can do is let it live by itself. If I can touch people with it and make them feel relatable, that’s a big plus. I’m very happy with the response it received so far and I’m flattered to have received so much positive feedback.
Has anything surprised you about the project so far? Whether an experience you’ve had, emotions that have been brought up, or anything else?
What has shocked me the most so far is the positive and touching response I got from it thus far.
However, it’s honestly been a rollercoaster of emotions during the process of making the project. I had a vision in mind for the project but I feared it wasn’t going to be transpired in the final product and probably stressed a little too much over it. Once it was done, I was relieved with how it came to be. During the actual performance, I was touched by how nature seemed to be in harmony with the music I was playing and I felt very grateful to be able to live that special moment and being able to share it with whoever was going to watch the video. I think that’s what I’m most proud of, the ability of that project to show the connection music has with nature and how it allowed me to share with people what’s important to me.
What has been the toughest or most challenging part?
Funny enough, the toughest part was the narrative of the voice-over at the beginning of the video. I knew exactly in my mind what I wanted to say, but it was very challenging to pick the right words and be able to present my world in such a short amount of time. I’m very picky and a perfectionist when it comes to stuff like that so I definitely did too much overthinking on that one. English is also not my first language, and it feels like when I have to talk about my emotions, it’s a lot harder to find the right words in a foreign language. I also didn’t want to prepare a script and sound robotic, so I wrote some questions and just recorded myself answering them until I had interesting parts to work with.
What does the name “Aurora” represent to you?
This is how I described “Aurora” in my events series:
An aurora is a natural light displayed in the Earth’s sky. Its colours are dependent on the charged particles in the upper atmosphere. Its form is constructed by the acceleration and movement of these particles. As we look into the night’s sky, we can feel its essence take us away.
The colours, shapes and energies resemble the flow of energy we experience through the guidance of a musical experience. As an audience accepts to open and is willing to connect, the DJ adapts himself, feeding on the energy, creating a unique synchronization and aurora-like journey.
The present moment is therefore crucial, as both the performer and the audience are curators for the colours of the evening. This synchronization accelerates the excitement of the participants and the music played. Creating the Aurora of the night.
Mitch Oliver’s Aurora is set to take you through dark skies touching on deep and melodic colours. Your willingness to flow will be guided by energetic rhythms through a groovy channel in the highest altitude of the night’s sky. As each participant is unique, what you channel encourages the particles of the night.
In the beginning of the first episode, you mention the connection of finding your own perspective on nature, spirituality, and music. What makes that important to you and to the overall message or mission of this series?
To me, spending time in nature is a form of spirituality, and probably one of its simplest and most powerful one. I’m a very intense and active person, and in order to stay sane, I try and spend as much time as possible in nature in order to calm myself down, reconnect with my inner self and feel grounded. I think it’s important to get back to basics when our minds start being too loud and nothing to me beats sitting down in the outdoors and simply contemplating nature’s beauty and it’s ever-changing state. It’s an easy way to be reminded that all there is right now.
What are some of your favorite natural sounds?
I could go with a very long list here, but some of my top ones are the following: water creek, strong winds in tree leaves, birds chirping and singing during golden hour, lightning.
I use a lot of these sounds in my music composition. In my upcoming release with XYZ, I’ve used a recording I took of snow geese at the next location where the aurora series part II will take place. The sound of a few thousand snow geese, blended with the wind and water made a good background sound to set the mood for a very organic and soft song.
Where have you experienced your most special / spiritual moments in nature? Do you have a favorite place or moment?
This is one tough one as I have experienced so many memorable moments in nature that were so different from each other.
What I love most about living in a northeastern climate is that we experience 4 very different climates throughout the year, and each of them have their unique aspects. Each season to me as a very different spiritual feeling and I attach a favorite place to each of them. The video series will showcase one of my favorite places per season.
One of the most spiritual moments in nature that I have experienced happened a few years ago when I went ski touring with two of my closest friends. We went up the mountain where we all grew up skiing right before sunset, on a very cold night of February. Once at the top, as we were about to ski down, we realized that we wouldn’t need our headlamps and it happened to be a full moon and it was so bright that I gave us a perfect view of the slopes. I was so powerful that it made shadows of ourselves on the ski hill as we descended. One of my two friends on that memorable moment passed away in November of last year and since then, whenever I go up the hill ski touring at my home ski hill, I somehow feel that he is with me, and I can talk to him, feel his presence.
Continue following the Aurora Story on Mitch Oliver’s social media:
Listen to his FRISKY Show Aurora: