Eclectic DJ and producer Hollen is an Italian artist who along with releases on labels including Bitten, Terminal M, 100% Pure, Glasgow Underground and Suara, also boasts regular international DJ gigs playing many of Europe’s top clubs and events.
His latest EP recently released on Unrilis is a collaborative release with fellow Italian artist Raffaele Rizzi who himself boasts music released on imprints such as Octopus Records, Tronic, ELEVATE, Intacto and 1605.
Titled Analog Combo we caught up with Hollen to chat about the collaborative release with Raffaele Rizzi…
> For the people reading this who haven’t heard your music before, how would you describe your style, and the key elements that define it?
My style in a crossover of Techno and Tech-House, but the variation really depends on my mood. My key element is the solid groove. I like to play a lot with many different percussion sounds and synth lines, layering rhythms on rhythms. I like to think that my sound is always evolving, and I’m working more and more with melodies made on hardware synths and external equipment.
> Your most recent release was a collaborative EP with Raffaele Rizzi, how did you and Raffaele Rizzi first make contact?
I met Raffaele when we were really young, we were 13/14 years old, and beside the music business we have been friends for a lot of time! 🙂
Over the years we developed the same passion for electronic music, and the club scene that surrounds it. Even though we both have defined solo careers, we always spent a lot of time together playing music, and sharing ideas about our solo releases etc. So the next and obvious step was to combine our ideas plus skills on a proper music project, and it’s very cool to work with him.
> Your new EP with Raffaele Rizzi titled “Analog Combo” is being released on Unrilis, was there a concept behind the release, and do you think your combined output sounds different from your solo music?
More than a concept there is a strong friendship behind it. We both have different skills that you can feel more in our solo music, as Raffaele is more into melodies, and I’m more in groovy stuff. When working together we try to bring the best from both… you know, four ears are better than two.
> Could you talk us through the creative process of collaborating with another artist, and list any specific equipment used to bring you joint sound to life?
Oh well! The process really depends on the chance to work in the same room or not. Working in a studio together is of course one thousand times better than sending projects by email. You can experiment live and playing more instruments together helps develop ideas. You can start with a live jam and in a few minutes have the foundation of a new track. We made the tracks on our Unrilis release using various VST software synths and other plugins, but many of the parts came from a really nice piece of gear called the Korg Minilogue.
> Apart from your forthcoming release on Unrilis, do you have any other new releases or forthcoming gigs we should be looking out for?
Analog Combo will be my last release of 2017, but straight after that I have a very cool collaboration with a Spanish crew called The Yellowheads, and together we have done a remix for Italy’s Frankyeffe, which is forthcoming on my label Prospect Records. Others are also lined up, but for now I want to keep those a secret 😉
I always have many gigs, but you should keep an eye out for a party on the 6th of February at Melkweg in Amsterdam, as I’ll be joining the Techno Tuesday’s crew for their birthday event.
> Could you giving some advice or words of wisdom to any aspiring producers who would look to your music for inspiration?
My first advice is to shut down with the socials and start doing music just for the passion of it. Don’t view DJ’ing as a pose, but instead as a way of life. Always believe in yourself and pay attention when somebody with more experience gives you advice. Most importantly, never, I repeat NEVER, intentionally copy someone else’s style.
> Thanks for taking the time to speak with us today, we like to finish our interviews with a couple of questions that are a little bit light hearted… without getting too personal, could you tell us something many don’t know about you?
We are living an age where the borderline between private and public life is over… I don’t really like social media at all, but as a musician I know how important is, as it’s the best way to directly link with my fans. I’m really an easy guy who loves to spend time with his girlfriend plus friends and family. When I’m not behind the decks I love to be busy in the kitchen, and also I have many pet cats. I never studied music and everything I learnt was earned with sweat, tears and tons of online tutorials!
> You don’t need to mention names, but what’s the most “outrageous” thing you have ever seen happen in a club… was it something outrageously brilliant, like a blindfolded DJ mixing seamlessly and scratching with his elbows, or something outrageously cringe-worthy, like some embarrassing drunk guy urinating on the dancefloor?
So far I haven’t seen anything noteworthy, but I heard about someone throwing cakes to the people… lol
> Thanks for taking the time to talk with us, and for those who are interested in your release on Unrilis with Raffaele Rizzi… it can be purchased …HERE…