September 7, 2019 | Guest Mixes

#69 Olli Koponen for Deeprhythms


Olli Koponen is a familiar & well respected name in the Helsinki nightlife. A man with a broad knowledge and taste in music always includes a few surprises in his sets. This ambient techno set is a perfect example of that - lush soundscapes crafted with care with a few unexpected turns thrown in!

How did you get introduced to dance music in the first place?

I think I introduced myself to dance music originally. In the year 2000 I discovered DJ Shadow through Guinness Book Of World Records and explored his music through Napster. 

During that time I was watching alot of VIVA and MTV (when they still showed music videos). Especially on through german channel VIVA I discovered some dance music of the time and was also buying some CD:s with the little allowance money I got then. 

I also was playing with this music production program called Acid Music and made a couple “tracks” that I burned to a CDr with the title DJ MADNESS containing three 2 minute long tracks with heavy scratch and speech samples, and a simple drum beat. This was when I has about 8 to 9 years old. Never got into DJ:ing back then although I was interested in trying.

Then I kind of got bored with dance music, and got more into skateboarding and into the music played in skateboarding movies of the time: punk and hiphop mainly. 

Then later in my teens I found out about new dance music at a clothing store I was working at from the owner of the store. I was discovering a lot of new styles of music, house, disco and techno also mashups were a big thing at the time and also remember getting a Mässy records Skweee compilation. 

I used to “DJ” at house parties with our iPods with my friend. Shortly after I went to a DJ course and learned the basics of DJ:ing there and bought my Technic’. Played my first DJ gig in Bar Nolla 2010.

Can you tell us a little how you got started with DJ’ing in the first place and motivated you back then?

I got into DJ:ing in the first place through at 18 when I went to the DJ course in Helsinki. What motivated me at the time was seeing some DJ:s play for the first time in my life. 

I still remember seeing DJ Harvey at Flow Festival 2010 and Andrew Weatherall in 2011 which were life changing experiences for me. 

Hearing tracks like Night Moves - Trancedance , Mr Flagio - Take A Chance or Skatt Bros - Walk The Night for the first time were mind blowing experiences for me, and these tracks also became staples in my DJ sets over the years. Discovering new music and sharing it with others has always motivated me.

Does the motivation to DJ still come from the same original source or has it changed?

I’m still inspired with the same DJ:s I mentioned earlier alongside many others. I’m always exploring for new and old tracks to play which motivates me. 

I’ve always dug through a lot of records where ever I am. Recordstores, fleamarkets, garage sales, onlinestores, discogs, facebook market places etc. 

What keeps me motivated is finding interesting stuff from the most obscure places and sharing them with people. I just started also my own Youtube channel OK PLUS SOUNDS where I rip my records what are not uploeded before.

You are very well know for your eclectic taste in music. I feel like we’re living quite exciting times musically - there’s tons of great new music around. How hard is it to select what to play or do you just trust your gut instinct?

It’s kind of hard sometimes to select what I play. But usually I think about what would fit the environment I’m playing at and time of the day. 

For example playing at Backyard of Flow Festival l for the first time I wanted to play some tracks for a sunny early afternoon. Usually at Siltanen I play more disco, in Kaiku more house and Techno, at my RAD gigs it’s more old school trance.

You’re also run your own label POLLINATION RECORDS . How do you combine active DJ career & label management?

Well I have two releases on the label so far, one CDr and one digital both released early this year. I realised running a label is quite alot of work effort and I honestly haven’t had that much time to concentrate working on it this summer… 

But definitely there will be some releases in the future. Keep your eyes open!

Can you tell us a little about you current musical endeavours? You produce as well, if I’m not completely mistaken?

I’ve been producing a couple years with my friend Santtu XL on our RAD project. It’s a project concentrating on trance / rave sounds. Old school vibes with a modern twist.

Do you have any fond musical memories from your childhood, like what was the first record or a song that made a lasting impression on you?

I think the earliest memory of a CD I bought together with my mom was when I was about 4 years old in Singapore. I bought a Batman Forever soundtrack and I think it was Seal - Kiss From A Rose that made a lasting impression on me.

What would you consider to be the five most personal records to you and why?

There’s so many! Maybe the couple ones I mentioned earlier as well so first the disco anthem Skatt Bros - Walk The Night. I can’t really connect the point where I heard this for the first time but I still get goosebumps hearing this one out and enjoy playing it as well. I think I bought 2 copies over the years and have it digitally too. 

Night Moves - Trance Dance. This one I heard back in 2010 in Flow Festival backyard when DJ Harvey was playing his 7 hour set. I took a video clip of the moment it was playing and wondered what might the track be. Went to youtube next week and found a clip where someone had took a video behind me of the same exact moment and found a video of me there dancing to this beautiful track. In the future I learned it was played also by the likes of Ron Hardy and Larry Levan also.

Nitzer Ebb - Join In The Chant. This track I discovered through a Moodymann set long time ago. Got also other records from the band over the years. Saw the band live just recently at Flow, and must say one of the best band gigs I’ve experienced.

I must list one Kerri Chandler track and maybe it could be the Track 1 from atmosphere ep because this was the tracks what I discovered first when I begun to get more into house music and used to play it in my sets alot.

Maurizio - M4 is my favourite dub techno groove which I could listen for hours. It’s also included in the mix. 

You've DJ’ed with a lot of people - who are the artists and DJ’s (local & global) you think deserve more attention than they get currently and why is that?

There’s plenty but I think my friend Jussi Uusitalo aka Newhouse would deserve more attention globally because he’s a guru when it comes to DJing and he has an insane record collection. Always a pleasure to play with him. We also used to work together at Mind Records couple years back.

Can you describe a perfect Olli Koponen DJ set in a club, what are the ingredients?

I released a mixtape on Trushmix just recently and I think the mix contains the perfect ingredients of the styles I like to play. It was a bar set so people weren’t dancing but a couple begged me to continue playing when the set came to an end. So I think my perfect set contains many different styles of music and ranging between atmospheres.

So the mix, can you tell us a little something about that?

This mix was recorded during the first hour on a Thursday at our club night Smutty at Kaiku. Contains older ambient and techno mainly.

Many thanks Olli! Anything else?

Thanks alot for the interview, it was my first ever.


01 - AIR - WIND
06 - MAURIZIO - M4
08 - LNS - WASP (EGZ- R E-MIX)

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DJ profile
Olli Koponen

Location: Helsinki, Finland
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DJ Olli Koponen is a well known and beloved character in Helsinki Club scene, cherished especially for his eclectic musical taste.

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