The making of Personal Space
One of the biggest music stars of the Middle East, Hollaphonic have finally released their debut album, Personal Space. Greg Stainer and Olly Wood talk us through the making of the album, and how each track started life…
RUNAWAY FT. AARON CAMPER
This track was very much a meeting of minds and a convergence of various musical minds. We met Aaron after he joined ‘ The Tennessee’ kids in our studio when Justin Timberlake was in town. We immediately clicked and headed to London during his next break in touring to nail down some vocals, that was the start of ‘ Runaway’. We really wanted to create something big for the various end of year concerts we had in 2015. This was the jam; it went down really well and has arguably been our biggest hit to date, it’s a catchy hook and we really tried to bring the passion of the words out in the way the music built and grew around them.
DANGEROUS FT. VINCE KIDD
We’d made contact with Vince Kidd quite a while before he hit the screens on The Voice UK, so all that coverage was second to the fact we loved his unique tone and style. We’d already wanted to change direction with Hollaphonic post- electro pop vibes we’d been releasing; this track opened up 2015 for us with a bang and announced that, in dance/ house music terms we are as current as we are commercial. Our roots lie in this sphere, so the success of this song means a lot to us. The idea was to use Vince’s vocal as the bed of the track, playing around with it to create different moods and melodies, then supplement it further with the bassline drop and general funk of the tune. I’d actually watched The Beach the night before, so the plucky guitar riff is inspired by that famous fl ick, and it always makes me smile. This will be our fi rst venture into the UK with plugging into all British radio stations, so lets see how this track unfolds.
You’ll always notice that our production is rather epic, we really try to squeeze out the emotion of each track with a stacked amount of rich sounds and atmosphere. This track is a perfect example, a really musical piece that twists and turns, but is as haunting as it is raver ready. Olly actually does the vocal, we had fun layering his harmonies then twisting it up with some vocoder action to replay everything through the lead synth. As is our style, we then worked on the chord progressions and added that to this deep rolling bass that we believe has resulted in something quite special and fresh.
BE SOMEBODY FT. PETE SIMON
Everyone always asks why Olly doesn’t actually rap enough on our singles, this hopefully solves that problem and is one of a few tracks with the MC vibe running through it; it also shows how the band has evolved, including the rich vocals of Pete Simon
with quite a poignant story. At the center of the track is the tale of someone with ambition that has stumbled in life but is fi ghting for independent success. It was written after a moving encounter we read about with a homeless man that used to be a business leader, but made a bad decision and was left destitute; now all he wants is am opportunity and his passion was so strong in this pursuit.
Both of us are massive fans of the discovery channel, this is a pure homage to the US Deep South Docu- Soaps such as Gold Diggers, Swamp People, Gator Boys and so on. We took the country vibe and mixed it up with a trap beat for fun and what happened was a sick new vibe that we decided to make into a love song for the Deep South. It was great fun to make, and we reckon it’s going to be one of the album’s dark horses in terms of fan reaction.
DEEPAPHONIC FT. KEVIN MURPHY
The fi rst of the tracks with Kevin featuring has a true deep house vibe, pulling out some awesome soulful funk vocals. There’s a huge amount of production that has gone into this vibe, defi nitely one for the headphones, it rolls and grows throughout. This has been a favourite for the ladies it seems; apparently Kevin has some George Michael styles going on? Anyway, it’s a delicate house track that keeps giving, we really wanted to showcase how diverse we are as artists and provide the essence of Hollaphonic, whilst going through a range of dance genres for which we are equally as passionate.
ONLY MEANT FOR ME FT. BRIT CHICK
Lucy Lawrence, aka Brit Chick, was a revelation. We had been searching for a female vocal that would fi t with the music we were creating; lo and behold Greg suddenly remembered his cousin could sing! Enter Brit Chick. As crazy and fun- loving as she is professional and focused, Lucy was a breath of fresh air in the studio, constantly wanting to learn and getting better each time we went to work. ‘ Only Meant For Me’ follows that familiar Holla path of relationships and drama,
inspired by the Brit Chick vocal it has evolved into a real UK Garage vibe that everyone seems to love.
We created ‘ Krazy’ initially as something to hype up the crowds as we began touring around various large scale festivals and concerts, it’s a massive track that absolutely pounds its way through the speakers. However, it’s equally as gentle and thoughtful in parts. ‘ Krazy’ was our fi rst global success, picked up by Radio One in the UK, as well as synced globally with Ford as they launched the 2015 Mustang worldwide. This track defi nitely turned heads, and is a fan favorite on middle east electro dancefl oors.
FABRIC FT. KEVIN MURPHY
The writing behind Fabric has great depth, we really wanted to play on the way sound wrapped around us like material, something we try to achieve in all our music. So we personifi ed this experience to create a dramatic romance between the singer and the track, this large vocal from Kevin really pushed us creatively and we think the result is an electronic pop song that truly crosses different boundaries in sound; it was a great success in the charts too, landing us another coveted No. 1 on iTunes.
FOUND YOU (STAY ALIVE) FT. DIA
Staying true to our ongoing push for regional talent, we had known Dia Hassan of Juliana Down for some time now, and his rock vocals really presented an interesting challenge. Knowing that he wrote as well, we got him straight into the studio after the success of our fi rst single and started putting down vocals. The track really changed over time as we searched for hooks to pin the tune onto, it was a great learning process working with a different sound and style, but it was an immediate connection and the result was something that always goes down well during our live shows.
GOIN’ NOWHERE FT. HAUSJACKER
We have worked with Scott Forshaw, aka Hausjacker, for quite a while now as he helps mix and master a few of our tracks; so as we embarked on this trap banger, we decided to enlist his help in the creative process as well. Firstly designed as a bit of fun, this track features a brontosaurus – quite how we recorded him, I cannot reveal! But it’s a mash up of Olly doing different voices and some huge noises which saw this feature on Radio One & XFM back in the UK. It’s been causing quite a buzz ever since and we think it will defi nitely surprise a few people out there when they hear it.
I DON’T WANT IT TO END FT. SHADUNO
Our fi rst single and the product of only a matter of hours in the studio, we knew that the Hollaphonic train had truly started rolling. This was what had the record labels approaching us, a perfect pop mix of uplifting vocals, big sounds and catchy melodies, it also plays on our production capabilities and many of the styles you hear running throughout the fi rst album were discovered in this very fi rst creation. The vocals from Shaduno were superb, and wrapped up with an emotion so positive, it was a great way to start of this journey as a band.
NOBODY KNOWS FT. KEVIN MURPHY
Olly originally started writing this track about falling in love with his wife, then we had Greg’s 3yr old daughter Kiera sing at the end of the track, so it really is a family affair. This is defi nitely one of our favorite songs & we believe that it will be a Universal opinion. Inspired by the 90’ s pop vibes of Simply Red, encompassed by a rich house production and fi nished off with a massive chorus; Kevin delivers the vocals again, and this is always one of the top tunes people pick out from the album, so we anticipate it having a single release one day, cant wait for the world to hear this one, its very different for a Hollaphonic sound, but equally as identifi able as our style.
SCREAM MY NAME FT. BRIT CHICK
We made this track over quite a long period of time, and like many of the songs it has really progressed with the band. Originally there were no big piano chords and the song was generally a bit more muted in its style, but after a few sessions focusing purely on chord progressions we started to carry this theme throughout our music, you can hear big progressions in Dangerous & Neon Light( s). Brit Chick’s vocal is equally as powerful in this as we chart the story of a young girl who refuses to be ignored and is powerful in the way she pursues attention. Massive vocals accompany big beats, and this tune sets the dancefl oor alight when the beat drops.