The mak­ing of Per­sonal Space

Infusion Magazine - - HOLLAPHONIC -

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…


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.

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