Photo Credit: Orjan Nilsen Facebook
Written by: Rebecca Hollman
Ørjan Nilsen is the “Trance Viking.” Hailing from Kirkenes, Norway, Ørjan is a true Viking in both origin and his exploration of new trance sounds. Ørjan has been producing true progressive style trance tracks since 2006, and during his trance career has made the DJ Top Ten Mag multiple times. Now, he’s working with the trance record label Armada Music. Ørjan released his newest album “Prism” in 2018 and is currently working on new trance bangers. Ørjan is playing at festivals around the world this summer, and we had the pleasure of talking to him before his set at this year’s AIM Festival in Quebec, Canada.
Festival Squad: Do you come from a musical family? What role did music play for you growing up? Did you play any instruments?
Ørjan Nilsen: My dad played the drums and sang in a local band, my late brother also played the drums, and my entire family was crazy about all kinds of music, I myself can play the drums, piano, and clarinet (true story!)
FS: How did you first get into DJing/ producing music?
ØN: Obviously seeing the Tiësto DVDs when I was younger was a big inspiration, I was mesmerized by the music and I just knew that’s what I wanted to do.
FS: What’s one of your favorite shows you’ve done?
ØN: Having done the legendary Tomorrowland Festival 7 years in a row is something I’m extremely proud of, and it’s a shame I wasn’t able to keep the streak alive this year.
FS: Any funny tour stories?
ØN: Many! In the past I’ve done some improvised meetups with fans in places like NYC, Dallas, Chicago. It’s always enjoyable getting to have a real conversation with people, getting to know them a bit more than if it was just a photo-op and a quick hug. I want to do that more often.
FS: How do you balance your creative workflow with the stress of tour life?
ØN: That’s the easy part. Touring is what inspires me, I just have to deal with waking up and humming melodies into my phone in the middle of the night.
FS: How has your ties with your record label, Armada Music, affected your style?
ØN: They have not really affected it. If anything knowing I have Armada Music behind me has enabled me to be more free and adventurous and test myself in many different styles of music.
FS: How did your career change after making the DJ Mag Top 100?
ØN: Obviously getting in the Top100 at that time was truly a fun experience, it opened up certain markets and gave me some exciting opportunities.
FS: Who’s one artist dead or alive who you’d love to collaborate with?
ØN: Morten Harket from A-ha!
FS: How has your sound evolved throughout your career?
ØN: It is growing and evolving with me. I know I have the support of Armada Music to try out new things and do things my way, and the result of that is that I’m not afraid to just be myself, and just have fun in the studio.
FS: Who are your biggest musical influences/icons?
ØN: Mike Push, Airwave, and Armin.
FS: What are you working on right now?
ØN: I’m always working on music, currently I’m working on the spiritual successor to my current album “Prism.”
FS: How do you see the Norwegian music landscape evolving over the next 10 years?
ØN: A lot of young guys are getting attention for their work in Electronic Dance Music, and it’s lovely to see how that is impacting Norway going forward.
FS: Scandinavia is widely known for its musical heritage, what sets Norway apart from its Scandinavian neighbors?
ØN: How we are able to make such summer-ish music considering how cold it can be up here.
FS: How excited are you to be playing AIM Festival this July? Can you tell us some of the things, other than your own set, that you’re looking forward to the most throughout the weekend?
ØN: It’s always fun to do shows. It has been a while since I last had a show in Quebec, but the crowd there is always ready to go! Oh, and I haven’t had poutine in like forever haha!
FS: The lineup from AIM is stacked with some incredible artists. Some of our favorites. If you could collaborate with any three from the list, who would they be and why?
ØN: Way Out West, Claude Von Stroke, and Sasha. It would be fun to pick their brains.