In May, I had a chance to rage like a maniac while Holly shredded a boat-full of rowdy humans at EDC Las Vegas. In full admittance, I expected a strictly bass-focused set, but was pleasantly surprised by Holly's wide-ranging approach to his DJ sets. He did a sick job pulling the crowd around from his signature heavier bass/trap sounds all the way into thumping techno and back.
Recently he's released the follow up to his Avenal 2500 EP that dropped before EDC. His next record Till I Die feat. A$AP TyY and NXSTY, is a strong continuation to his EP and brings the energy we've come to expect from Holly.
Today, Holly has dropped yet another heavy-hitting single: "Through Me." Check it out, immediately.
We chatted with Holly about road tripping, the moment he went all-in on music and more.
Tell me about the last six months of your life, what's been going on in the life of Holly?
So in January I did a bus tour with Ookay. That was the way I started the year doing a bus tour for like a month. We did a bunch of cities in America and that was actually my first time traveling in America like that. Usually, whenever have a show I just fly, but it was cool to see the countryside of America and really get to know American culture. I started coming to the US about two or three years ago, so I have been traveling here since then, but that was the first time it was all driving and just going through the countryside. It was crazy, going through all of the highways. After that I went to Cuba with a friend of mine in February for a couple days to chill and take a break from America. Then I flew back and have been doing shows and festivals ever since.
Do you have any favorite spots or moments from your road trip across America?
New Orleans was really cool man because in America everything is very new, you know? I come from Portugal, and we have a lot of history and everything really old. Portugal has been a country since 1000 years ago or something like that - that's when Portugal was born. I like to go to a place and see history and sometimes it's hard to see that in America. So when we went to New Orleans I was like, whoa, like this place is so old. There's so much history here! So that was definitely one of my favorite places. Then we went back to New York, which is one of my favorite cities in America as well.
Where have you been finding your inspiration lately?
Bro, just everything man. From my friends and through talks when I'm with my friends. I haven't been making too much music lately, as I used to. So, pretty much all my inspiration just comes from just being with friends and just life in general. Being outside of the studio where I'm working and just living life. Pretty much every random thing from being at a festival, going to the forest, or going for a walk - I get inspired by everything pretty much.
Did you play many video games growing up?
Yeah. I used to play Sonic a lot and Counterstrike. I used to play Pokemon on Gameboy, that was a big passion for me. Age of Empires was like the biggest video game for me, and then I just got bored. I used to play FIFA too.
Alright so "used to play" - not as much gaming anymore?
Now I'm just like always music, you know. At the place where I'm staying we have Mario Kart so sometimes I'll play that just for fun now, but I'm not very into it. Just like once a week for a break from work.
When did you decide to go all-in on music and music production?
Two or three years ago I was studying at a university in Portugal. I was super unhappy with just going to school and I don't know, I wasn't having fun, you know? So, I'm like, man life is too short, I need to do something else. I can't go to school every day and just be sad. So I had a huge talk with my mom, trying to convince her, "Yo, I'm going to drop school - I'm tired of this." I just want to like focus on music 100% and yeah, that was the moment that I decided, this is what I want to do.
What does success look like to you? What are your goals right now, what are you striving for?
I dunno, I think it's kind of bad luck to talk about that stuff! Every time I talk about my goals, something just happens.
I keep making cool music and just traveling, just having good experiences and meeting new people. Basically, I just want to live a happy life and be healthy.
Do you have any rituals that keep you in top performance?
Just try to eat healthy food and don't get much processed food. These days it’s easier to get vegan food and healthy foods everywhere. I do some exercise as well and that helps.
Are there any lessons that you learned early on in your career that you still carry with you today?
Yes! To not get drunk at shows is the main one. And don't get a girlfriend.
Wahaha! Do you have any habits or rituals that get you into the mindset for creating music?
I just make music every day, pretty much that. I think of music sometimes like a sport, you know, you need to practice everyday to get to a certain level. I used to play soccer - if you play soccer every day at the end of the week, you're going to be fast. You're going to shoot the ball better now. That's the same thing as music -- just make music every day. Practice different music styles, write out and try different things, and that's it.
And how did you find your sound right now?
That's a hard question because I'm still trying to find my sound. I always try new things and try to come up with something that I haven't heard before or that I know there is no one else doing that. Trying different music styles helps me find the elements I like from each. the most to combine everything into one type of music. Practicing and just finding what I like the most.
What are you most looking forward to, what do the next couple years look like for you?
I’m just excited just to keep traveling and play music to new crowds. I want to grow my team and grow my songs. I’m always trying to make something no one else is doing. I worked to make all this bass music, and to produce rappers and singers and other projects. If I could get a Grammy that would be great. That's something I want to do and, just keep making good records.
If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be?
People paying so much attention to social media would be the one. People just pay too much attention to the numbers and sometimes care not so much about the music. It's like, oh, this guy has 100,000 followers on Instagram, instead of a guy with 500 followers that's making so much dope music. So yeah, I think I would just change the way people look to music based on social media.
Other than that, I think the music scene is really dope right now. There’s so many different music styles coming up and everyone is doing something dope.
What advice would you give to an up and coming artist?
Just work every day, focus on making music, and be a good person. I really believe in karma and I think my karma really works well. Treat your music as a baby and as something that's very important to you, and good things are going to happen to your music.