Artist interview with Hollen by Blue Amazon
The Italian Techno supremacy is in full force with Hollen at the helm.
Napoli based Hollen has been a powerhouse of activity for quite some time with an abundance of music that’s really hit the global stratosphere. Whilst gradually crafting his skills he really started to take center stage with his “Collision” release in 2013.
“Collision” was one of those titles which whilst branded as techno it really struck a chord with a cross section of the dance music fraternity. The likes of Sasha to Carl Cox, John Digweed, Dubfire, Joseph Capriati and James Zabiela all supported the release. He has the ability to create a unique sound that can often be polished but also harder edged with a twinge of funk. Its very much his own trade mark signature which certainly separates him from being just another Techno / Tech artist out there.
Over the years he’s covered a lot of ground with an impressive output hitting the who’s who of the cooler edged underground imprints. You can find his music on labels such as Suara, Kling Klong, Terminal M, Deeperfect, Glasgow Underground, Saved, Agile Recordings, the very supportive Bitten in Holland, loose Records, Unrilis (Italy) and his own Prospect Records.
As a DJ he also been very prevalent whilst featuring at Ministry of Sound, Egg (London), Time & Space Festival (Mexico), Bahrein (Argentina), Club Vertigo (Costa Rica), Clash Club (Brazil), Rashomon Festival (Italy), dates in Dubai, Holland, South Africa, U.S.A and this an ever populating list.
Welcome “Hollen” and thanks for the interview.
First of all, I wanted to dive straight in and ask you about your home nations music. With an array of artist such as yourself, Enrico Sangiuliano, Raffaele Rizzi, Tony Dee and many other all at the forefront. What’s your opinion on what’s making Italy such a dominant force in the Techno domain right now?
H: Effectively I’m very happy to see that Italy is reaching the attention it deserves, since in the past years we’ve had a lot of influence from the main foreign acts. It’s not a mystery that we’ve always had excellent producers and musicians in many electronic music fields, starting from ItaloDisco and passing through the Progressive and Techno scene of the 90’s. I’m not really surprised but actually is more a question of trust in our capabilities, you know, Italians do it better 😉
2. Being part of the modern digital release platform there is an expectation for artists to release very consistently and sometimes at the expense of quantity over quality. Is this a consideration for you?
H: We are living in a faster world than the past, also due to the social networks that are now ruling the artist’s self promotion. It’s necessary to find a compromise, so have the quality to impress the listeners and the quantity to be always on track.
3. Like many artists your sound is evolving and developing, what would you say is your current direction?
H: I’m always really instinctive with my music and I let my feelings to lead in which direction a track should go. As you have seen, in the past I was really focusing on Tech House but I felt that Techno reflected my taste in a better way. Even in this scene I love to have a wide approach, so when I’m in the studio, like in my sets, sometimes I go harder and sometimes I prefer a laidback sound.
4. You have released many single / EP releases over a period of time but would you consider making an album or even a DJ mix album?
H: I’ve been over-productive in the recent years with originals and remixes but to be honest I’m not thinking about an album. In my opinion it’s a huge step ahead for an artist to be as conscious and self-confident to work on something that should tell a story about your life and your own experiences.
5. Your releases have hit quite an impressive list of the cool labels, but are there any other label you would like to feature on?
H: As you may know in Italy we are quite superstitious, I have few targets I would love to achieve but I prefer to not mention them J By the way it’s not a common equation that a strong label leads to a strong release. Some of my past works had a better response even if released on “underground” labels, So I’m quite sure that is still the music that speaks by itself.
6. Sticking with labels, you host your own imprint “Prospect Records” along side Tony Dee. Can you tell us more about the label beginnings, direction and current focus?
H: Well, Prospect it’s a platform that I’ve been pushing alongside Tony Dee for a long time, but now I’m managing it by myself with a team of collaborators that help me with all the hard work. Tony is still part of the family and we are still releasing his music with us and he plays at our label parties. As Prospect we are pushing some promising young names from various countries, friends and people with our same taste in music.
7. Lets talk studios and production, can you share with us any of your favored software, hardware and tips / tricks you use to create your sound? Please be as detailed as you wish.
H: The DAW I prefer is Ableton, I feel really comfortable working with it. I don’t have a proper tip, I work mainly in the box and during the time I’ve developed my own chain of favorite VSTs.
8. Lots of artists seem to be cutting back on remix projects in favor of original material, is this also a focus for you and do you have any aspirations to collaborate with a none electronic artist?
H: To be honest I was thinking it’s quite the opposite, since bootlegs and official/unofficial remixes of 90’s classics, Hip Hop and Pop hits still flourish on the internet. Few months ago I had the honor to work with the legendary Moby for an official remix of “Erupt & Matter” and it was really exciting.
Maybe a collaboration with the artists I love could be impossible, since we are talking of groups like The Doors or the Queen, but I always listen a lot of different music and melting my style with non electronic music could be really interesting.
9. As a DJ you seem to put a lot of energy into your sets which is a accreditation you, how important is DJing to you and can you tell us about some of the key events you have played recently?
H: Djing is an essential element for me, in this way I can better understand the effectiveness of my tracks and the ones I pick for Prospect Records. Obviously, it’s also a beautiful moment for sharing the energy with the crowd, there ‘s a lot of positive-ness and a huge melt of different cultures around the world. This year I’ve been touring Central and South America; I’ve been in Finland for Kult Festival and then in Amsterdam for Mystic Garden Festival.
10. Once again thank you for talking to us, can we finish up by asking you to share any of your forth coming release plans, activities, gigs or other.
H: I will be soon releasing music on Loose Records, The Plot Music, My own label Prospect with some amazing names in it, a collaboration with The Reactivitz on Funk’n’Deep , Unity Records and more to come J
Thanks for the interview!
Catch Hollen on Se-lek radio this month, throughout the week of the 21st on Proton Radio, DNA Radio & Innervisions Radio. Playback through Youtube , Mixcloud & Podcast.
Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/HollenPageOfficial/
Beatport : https://www.beatport.com/artist/hollen/93712
Prospect Records Beatport : https://www.beatport.com/label/prospect-records/19305
Management : http://www.defragartists.com