Student DJ finds success after graduating
Just a few years ago, the college music scene consisted mainly of punk rock, alternative and pop music. Today's college music scene is becoming increasingly danceable. The bass has gotten louder, the synth has replaced the lead guitar, and what used to require an entire band can now be accomplished by one musician with a laptop.
Much of popular music today, whether it is pop, rock or even reggae, has been influenced by techno and electronic music. UNH has its array of student DJs, some who are better known than others, but one young man sticks out of the crowd as one of UNH's most successful DJs. His name is Chris Buchanan, Olik, and he is from Berlin, Germany.
Olik, a recent UNH grad at 23 years old, is a man of many backgrounds. He was born in Germany, and grew up in Amherst, N.H. When he was growing up, he traveled back and forth to his home country, but he completed his four years of high school in Amherst. After high school, he went back to Berlin to spend some time learning how to become a DJ.
In 2007, he learned how to mix. He also play his first gig at Club Matrix in Berlin when he was between 18 and 19 years old. During his time in Berlin, Olik lived on a street where many other popular techno artists lived. He would get to see them perform, and even get to meet them and talk to them about his music.
"It was the perfect incubator for starting a career in electronic music," Olik said.
Olik began to get more gigs in Europe, and before the time came to return to the United States for college, he had gigged in 21 different countries. His farthest destination was Johor, Malaysia, which is almost exactly on the opposite side of the world from UNH. Olik had not been in New Hampshire for more than 48 hours before beginning his freshman year at UNH in 2008.
Olik started his radio show during his first year in college at WUNH, and is still hosting it. In 2007 and 2008, electronic music did not have the same amount of excitement surrounding it as it does today.
"It was not popular, there was no following, and very few people knew anything about it," Olik said. "It was all just that 'techno stuff.'"
This did not stop Olik from creating something he was truly passionate about. He took the knowledge he gained in Berlin and infused it into his show. He wanted to create something different, something the university had never seen before.
The name of his show is "Eurotrash."
Olik commented on the title of his show saying he named it "as kind of a joke."
"I thought I would call [my show] Eurotrash, because it was just that 'European stuff,' just like 'trash,'" Olik said.
Luckily for Olik, his show turned out to be a huge success with the electronic music explosion in 2010. Even though his style of music became more popular, he said he didn't want to change it; he liked it the way it was.
Olik plays two "umbrella genres" on his show. Trance and House, Electro House, Progressive House and Tech House are examples of genres Olik enjoys playing. He will sometimes experiment with Deep House and Disco House just for fun, he said
According to Olik, his goal is for each show to be completely different from the last one with new music all the time. Olik explained that he can still play popular electronic music, despite WUNH's policy against playing mainstream music.
"The original electronic music that is coming out all the time has not yet become the pop music," Olik said.
Olik referred to artists, such as Calvin Harris, collaborating with pop artists like Rihanna as an example of what he tends not to play.
"Ever since 2008, I have been focusing on whatever is new and good," Olik said.
Olik mixes live every week. He also took his show to the Internet, and currently has over 7,000 "likes" on his Facebook page.
"I have definitely developed a listenership over the years," Olik said.
During his time as a student at UNH, Olik has found much success with his music. One of his largest accomplishments was opening for popular electronic DJ Avicii at the Whittemore Center. He got to meet the artist and was able to hang out with him after the show.
"It was cool to see his style and see the whole process," Olik said. "I loved that gig because it was my college."
So where does the name Olik come from anyway? After spending time in Berlin, he came up with a unique and meaningful title.
"When I was in Berlin, half my friends were Swedish ... I wanted my name to be simple and completely original but I also wanted it to represent what I was doing," Olik said. "Olik is a sort of Slavic name. It means different and unusual. I wanted it to be original and relate to what I was doing. Especially when it came to playing a radio show in America where this kind of music simply was not popular at the time."
Olik spends 10-12 hours of work every week on the radio show. The rest of his time is spent taking online classes for his grad school program, and traveling.
"I travel for shows, I travel for fun, I travel all around the world," Olik said. "I really love it."
Olik's father was a pilot, so Olik is able to fly standby for almost no cost. This allows him to travel easily to other parts of the world so that he can play gigs.
Olik revealed that on top of being a busy, traveling DJ, he is also a firefighter. He became a firefighter when he was in high school and became certified through the N.H. Fire Academy. He joined on a complete whim, and instantly fell in love with it, he said.
"It's a real rush. I love being the one that people call when they need help," Olik said. "Burning buildings, car crashes ... it's that person's worst day ever, and I like being the one trying to mitigate that, and to help them through it. It's a passion for me now."
Even though he doesn't make much money doing it, he said it almost pays for the gas to get back and forth.
"I like to keep life interesting. I don't like being bored ever ... I haven't had a dull moment in my life since I was in high school," Olik said.
It is a very special time for Olik and Eurotrash, as its 100th show is nearing. The show will take place at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 27th. Olik plans to have several guests on his show, all of whom have been mentors and influences of Olik's during his time in America.
To celebrate his 100th episode, he will be focusing on the past four years, playing favorites of his and his guests'.
"This is a big point for me. It's like a milestone," Olik said.
Olik is in the process of releasing his first EP. He also mentioned that he is in negotiations with a major radio station, which would be extremely beneficial for him if it all works out.
"I'm not a big name, but I'm really enjoying it," Olik said. "I am totally passionate about the music. I'm living the life."
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