Hollaphonic's First Album is Out Today!
If you need a bit of a Monday pick-me-up, you’ll be thrilled to know that Hollaphonic’s highly anticipated album, Personal Space, was released earlier today. And when we say highly anticipated, we mean the album has already hit number one on iTunes! If that’s not enough, Greg Stainer and Olly Wood are also racing up the charts with their monster hit, Dangerous, featuring The Voice’s Vince Kidd.
With so much going in Hollaphonic land, Ahlan!’s Al Needham and Ariel Robinson simply had to sit down with MC Olly Wood for a catch up...
Congrats on the album – are you happy with how it’s doing?
It’s going really well. We’re now at the top of iTunes charts right across the Middle East.
What was it like to working with Vince Kidd?
Vince was great – a really extrovert performer and a superb talent. We actually tried to hook up with him before he was on The Voice. I think it’s one of our best tracks to date.
What was it like working with so many artists on this album?
Awesome, the process of collaboration is always a place where you can learn and grow as an artist, and every time we went into the studio with a new vocalist it was a chance for us to be inspired and try new things; everyone we worked with was super chilled and open to us doing anything with their vocals and playing around within tracks, so that just allowed us to experiment and pull out things that might not necessarily be considered the norm, but definitely sounded fresh.
Why did you decide to include bonus tracks?
We simply wanted to give our fans every last second of the music we created over the past two years, they have been so patient with us, that we felt it only fair to throw everything at Personal Space and make it as big and varied as possible for them.
What did you do when you found out your album hit number one on iTunes on the first day of pre-ordering?
Called each other up and did a virtual high five, then started discussing new music we wanted to make – we’re always looking to the next thing and pushing as hard as possible to make music and grow the band.
What’s your favourite song on your album?
The current single Dangerous is definitely the way forward for us, the sound is as fresh as it feels like an old clubbing friend, it’s something you play when you’re getting ready for the party and something you jump up and down to when it drops at the festival. We couldn’t be happier with this and hopefully it’ll grow into a monster both here and overseas!
What’s your creative process behind your songs?
We share ideas over WhatsApp, emails or phone, inspired by the world around us from music to landscape to experiences; when its studio time we collate these all into a direction we both agree on. Then we start with a beat, the foundation of our musical route, which is developed in tandem with a path dictated by lyrics or melody. This isn’t the ultimate formula and sometimes it’s magical, sometimes it’s completely different and sometimes you have a block and end up watching funny cat videos on YouTube; but in essence it’s the process of random creativity and if you vibe with your partner in crime like we do, then something collects and forms a sound path to follow.
Is there a lot of pressure since this is your debut album?
We put pressure on ourselves, that’s the greatest form of pressure and the most effective, but generally we have had support from all corners that has lifted us up. Strong families, strong management, strong label and at the heart of it all immensely passionate fans who’ve made the band what it is today
Looking back, are there any regrets or things you wish you had done differently?
There are never any regrets, only opportunities to be better
What else do you have planned for this year?
We’re hosting a mini-rave after the Ed Sheeran show as closing act, with our own dedicated zone from midnight to 2am for everyone who wants to stay after the gig and jump around to the big Hollaphonic sound. Olly is off to Miami to catch up with the US industry and discuss what we’re planning over there, so that’s exciting… then we just want to play our music to as many people as possible; develop exciting ways to be creative with Hollaphonic and start working with more brands so local music is pushed to the forefront through the mass media
How long have you been working on the new album?
We had 30-plus tracks to choose from, so that’s a pretty good indication. Seriously, though, we have spent two years on this, and if we’d released it six months ago it wouldn’t be the piece of work it is today – we’re very proud of where it’s at, and we can’t wait for the world to hear it, have them sing along to it at our gigs… and for us to start work on the second!
If you could keep one pic to remind yourself of your time here, what would it be?
An awesome photo from our gig at Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. I also have a very special photo of my gorgeous wife, Nicola – make sure you write that so I don’t get in trouble…
You’ve got one last night in Dubai: where would you go?
A balcony on the Ritz-Carlton at JBR, with Nicola, in my dressing gown, looking out to the sea.
What place in Dubai is your guilty pleasure?
Shake Shack makes me so intensely happy it’s ridiculous – I’d have it on our rider if I was allowed!
Do you have a message for our readers?
We’d just like to thank everyone who reads Ahlan! for the amazing support you’ve shown us over the past 18 months. One of those readers is my wife, so I’d also like to officially say: Nicola, you’re amazing.