2017 is Holly’s breakout year. After bubbling on the low, killing it on SoundCloud and dropping literally hundreds of tracks in the past few years, his consistent grind and innovative sound are starting to pay major dividends. In September Holly won the beat battle at the first annual Goldie Awards, a competition spearheaded by A-Trak and judged by some of the biggest names in music (Mannie Fresh, Destructo, Diplo, Mija, Just Blaze and more). He just released a stellar new EP on Buygore’s Fresh Blood, dropped a sample pack, and is gearing up for a massive tour that sees him hopping from Asia to Europe and the US. Amidst his busy schedule, he was able to carve out some time to chat with us. The conversation covers a range of topics from Portugal’s music scene, to his insane creative output, the Goldie Awards and more. He also drops some gems on life that’ll have you feeling happy to be alive. Check out the interview and Tour Dates below.
What’s the music scene like in Portugal right now? How does it differ from North America?
Honestly I don’t know, haha, it’s my country and I love where I come from but I haven’t paid much attention to what’s happening here at the moment. Portuguese Rap is like the biggest thing here nowadays, but that’s the only thing I know. The difference between Portugal and the North American music-scene wise is incomparable. America is like 50 times Portugal. If in one state they don’t dig a music style, there will be another 10 states where people will love it. In Portugal, due to our size as a country, small audience and due to some issues in music culture, there are a lot of “music styles” that don’t have space to develop here, which isn’t a problem because that makes producers & musicians going outside to look for new things which will help them to develop their music more than if they stayed in Portugal.
What’s one thing about Portugal that you wish the rest of the world knew?
That we are not in South America hahaha. 70% of the people that I talk to in America are like “Oh really? You’re from Portugal? I would love to go to South America one day.”
A song for me can take 5 minutes, 5 hours, 5 days, 5 weeks, 5 months…I don’t know!
You’ve put out a few hundred songs in past few years. How much of your time do you spend producing? How long does it take you to make a song?
I spend a couple hours per day producing. I try always to make between 1-5 ideas or demos per day. A song for me can take 5 minutes, 5 hours, 5 days, 5 weeks, 5 months… I don’t know! Every song is different and it’s always a different feeling and emotion that you need to express so you can’t put that in a box. Just take your time expressing and developing what you want to say and things will happen.
Do you have any tips for other producers to speed up their workflow/output?
They can just try to make at least 3 ideas per day, that’s kind of a good exercise to push for your ideas. Spend one hour in each one and try to diversify as much as you can. I saw an interview of Kanye West a couple years ago where he talked about this subject which helped me a lot with my productivity.
Do you release the majority of the music that you create or do you have a lot of tracks in the vault?
I release the majority yes, but I always keep some of the songs I do as unreleased!
You just won the producer battle at the first annual Goldie Awards. What was the experience like? What was the best part of the experience?
It was incredible, I had a great time and a lot of fun. I wasn’t really expecting anything from that night and then I won and I was like “whaaat”. In some way it was weird to have my music being judged and evaluated as better than other peoples beats, which is something that for me is hard to get because I think there is not good or bad in music, there’s just music and then it’s up to you what you identify the most in your feelings. Besides all that stuff, it was amazing the way this event helped the DJ and beat making culture and community, spotlighting a lot of producers and DJs that the majority don’t know. This experience had a lot of “best parts” but being around the energy of the artists that I look up to the most in this world was definitely one of the highlights.
You’re gearing up for a massive tour. What are you most looking forward to?
Emerging myself in all of the cultures that I am about to explore.
What should fans expect from a Holly live set? Are you playing all of your own music?
I’m not playing all my own music but I usually play between 10 to 20 originals in my sets. I think they can expect a little bit of the journey that I’ve been doing in my artistic path. I play a lot of music that was important to me in different times of my life so I think it’s a good way for people to get to know me better. Music selection says a lot about a person.
You seem to have a very positive outlook on life. What inspired this and how do you keep it that way?
To know that one day I’ll die and that I won’t live forever. Do the best you can while you’re here and just make this place a better place.
Everything excites me in this world, life is such a great experience. You just need to look at it with the right view.
What excites you most in life outside of music?
Everything man. Hugging people, kissing my family, my dog & cat, feeling the grass, fresh air, skateboarding, seeing the ocean, a good sunset, good wine, chocolates, movies, new experiences, being afraid as fuck hahaha. Everything excites me in this world, life is such a great experience. You just need to look at it with the right view.
What’s on the horizon for you in 2018?
I’ll let my music talk for me about this question!