We have an absolutely fantastic guest mix for you this week from local talent @DrewHollyOfficial. He is one of those artists that as a DJ myself I am eager to go and listen to and watch because he puts so much care into his craft. If you are fortunate enough to live on the west coast and have attended the likes of Burning Man, Lightning in A Bottle, One Love Festival or any of the many secret and non secret desert events put on by Moontribe, Wulfpack and Terrakroma you have probably heard his well crafted sets permeating through air. In addition to wonderful beats he also can be found mixing plates of delicious vegan food dishes while some of the festivals top DJ’s are mixing beats right there in the kitchen at the L.O.V.E. Cafe, a team he is a part of that is also present at many festivals and events in and around So Cal. MR PUZL and I had a chance to ask Drew some questions as per usual so sit back and lose yourself to the music and get to know more about this amazing local talent.
MR PUZL: Drew, welcome to the guest mix! What magical journey have you conjured up for us this week?
Drew Holly: Thank you for having me! My quest for the freshest beats never seems to end, so you’re gonna be hearing a lot of music that is brand new to my collection. Hopefully these are tunes that will get your body moving, whether you’re grooving in your chair at work, taking a drive, or dancing naked in your living room 😉
Mr PUZL:How did you first get into DJ’ing? Is the style of music we are hearing in your mix the same as when you first started?
DH: I grew up in Portland Oregon and there was no scene for electronic music in those days. My idea of techno started and ended with Darud’s “Sandstorm”! I moved to Los Angeles when I turned 18 and my dreams always revolved around music, but in those days I thought I might end up producing rock records, as my background was in punk, hardcore, progressive, and psychedelic rock. I was interning at a recording studio in Santa Monica, having a great time but also learning how difficult that industry would be to break into, while simultaneously my musical interest was shifting more and more into the electronic world. I can credit most of my conversion to the dance music gods to one college housemate who lived and breathed house and techno 25 hours a day, 8 days a week… it wasn’t long before I pledged my undying devotion to 4ontheFloor grooves! My style has most definitely evolved since I began DJing in 2010 – back then I was all about deep house, whereas now my focus has shifted much more towards the techno side of things. I enjoy bridging the gap and making the listener ask themselves “what kind of music IS this!?” – I find myself describing tunes as “house-influenced techno” or “techno-influenced house” haha, blurring the line and keeping things interesting I hope!
MR PUZL: Music, much like a lot of art forms has cyclical tendencies to it’s trends. The ebb and flow of genres always seem to touch on common threads. Do you have any music you’ve kept from early on that you feel could be more resonant today than say last year or a few years back?
DH: Oh definitely – I find that some tunes have way more impact a few years after they are initially released! For me, 2011 was a really golden year in music and I find myself revisiting those tunes a lot. Also, I have failed to “organize” my music collection in quite a while so all the folders on my USB drives are “November 2017, April 2016” etc. , which works out ok for me because I can flash back to the moods and emotions that I was enjoying playing at those given points in time.
MR PUZL: Everyone has their means and methods for discovering new music. When you’re exploring vast expanse of music content out there where do you usually start? Do you have some go to artists or labels that you would say always strike a chord with your style?
DH: Beatport, SoundCloud, and even YouTube are all great sources for me when I am hunting for new music. On all of these sites you can follow artists & labels, and keep up to date on what they are putting out, and they also give suggestions on other artists you may also be interested in. It seems like each time I get started, I inevitably end up going down some new rabbit hole and a few hours later it’s like, “how did I get here!?”. If I am DJing for a crowd and someone comes to the booth to ask “who is this?”, more often than not I have to look at the track info to find out for myself! There is such a constant outpour of new amazing music it’s hard to keep up! Lately my go-to artists include the Yellowheads, Serge Devant, anything featuring Florian Kruse on vocals, and labels like Parquet Recordings, Suara, Rebellion… I’m always on the hunt for more obscure, lesser known tunes though.
MR PUZL: There are so many sides/shapes/ to the music scene here in LA. You’re apart of quite a few different groups, including Terrrakroma, Wulfpack, and Super Trippie Hippie. What are some the highlights of being apart of these groups and being able to share your music with so many different audiences?
DH: I definitely feel blessed to be so active in the community here in LA. Terrakroma was a big influence on me way back before I even started DJing myself – I’ve been going to their parties for a long time so it’s really an honor and a dream to work with them now. Jamie Schwabl and Aaron Jacobs of the Wulfpack are both big influences and really great friends. Super Tripp’s Hippie was one of the first desert parties to put me on their lineup, and their motto of “Strictly Dancing” speaks for itself 🙂 My music has a lot of different sounds and being able to play in a wide variety of settings allows me to express myself without holding anything back. It also means I get the chance to connect the different “scenes” and hopefully help bring some unity to our entire SoCal community – I like the idea of bringing the hippie desert dancers to a more urban type of party, and vice versa, and I hope to do even more of that in 2018.
PZB: Another aspect of the community you contribute to is through your involvement with LOVE Cafe (which Ill let you elaborate on more but essentially you have a kick ass vegan kitchen that you invite DJ’s to come spin in while you make excellent food for all the festival attendees). Tell us how the inspiration came together and where can we catch you guys coming up in the 2018 festival schedule?
DH: I’ve been working at Peace Yoga Gallery aka LOVE Cafe for the past 3 years as both a chef and a yoga teacher. We’re located in downtown LA at 903 s. Main Street, and we go on the road as much as we can, building our kitchen (with a DJ booth right in the middle) and serving thousands of festival goers food of the highest level. Everything we serve is made from scratch using organic ingredients, locally sourced as much as possible. LOVE cafe has been doing festivals like LiB for longer than I have been attending them, but we’ve grown into our own traveling festival of sorts! We like to bring the party with us, and so each time we set up it gets bigger and better! You can expect to see LOVE cafe at Symbiosis, One Love, and most likely at LiB. I also debuted a new booth called Plant Based Party Power, for small to mid sized events, and you can catch us at Spring Frequency, Desert Hearts, and probably some more festivals and warehouse events throughout the year.
MR PUZL: Music can invoke a plethora of different emotions. A single song can take you from elation to reverence within the span of only a few minutes. You mention that your style is “driving, melodic, and soul-bending”. For those that may not be familiar with your style of DJing what kinds of emotional canvases are you trying to create on the dancefloor?
DH: I aim to play the music that people didn’t know they needed to hear 😉 I enjoy dancing between the dark and the light, creating a range of moods that hopefully brings you on a journey whenever listening to my mixes or dancing in the crowd. I’m a sucker for a good vocal track, so you can almost always expect to hear at least one or two songs that pull on the heartstrings. Sometimes I like to make the dance floor a little bit uncomfortable even, taking them to their limit of how dark the music can get, and from there bring them back with a nice uplifting tune – it’s all about juxtaposition and timing for me.
MR PUZL: It’s always hard to pick, but looking back on last year do you have any standout shows that make you feel like you truly connected with your audience?
DH: My favorite events of the year are always Spring Frequency and Halloween Freakshow – hosted by PsyTribe and Terrakroma. There is an incredible family vibe at those parties and they only get better with each one. I got to play a sunrise set at Freakshow this year and it was really a treat – I also ended up doing an unscheduled B2B set with my good friend Britton Galland and we had such a thick vibe going that we didn’t stop for about four hours. Getting to play an opening set at the October full moon gathering was an absolute honor, and so much of my techno family was there to be a part of it so that was also really really special.
MR PUZL: As you look forward to this year what are some personal aspirations you’d like to accomplish with your career? Are there places you’d like to travel to both physically and spiritually that you have not reached yet?
DH: Number one for me is to stop procrastinating – it’s beyond time for me to finish and release some original music of my own! I have been producing for a long time but lately have been so focused on the DJ side of things that it’s been a challenge to stay committed and get my own music out into the world. I would also really like to bridge the gap between what I loosely refer to as the “hippie / festie” dance crowd and the “urban” dance crowd. I would love to play more good underground parties in the city, and bring those crowds together. I don’t always have the best time going to clubs in Hollywood or elsewhere, but there are some good new options coming up like Union in mid city, which I feel could be exactly what LA has been missing. The cities I would like to debut in this year are San Francisco, Portland, and Tijuana! Hopefully one day LA will be a home base and I’ll be traveling globally spreading the techno gospel.
Catch Drew here in LA in the next few weeks at the following events.
January 20th – Super Trippy Hippie
January 27th – Night on Broadway
January 27th – Aetheric Synapse
U:ICHI – Subspace Forest
Upercent – Bandarra
Several Definitions – Escape (Township Rebellion remix)
Kellerkind – Take Me Down
Several Definitions – Driving Bassline
Marcus Meinhardt & Khainz – Minimonsta
Doza – The Nautilus
Freakme & Packim – Helium
2pole – Hyperion
Sonic Future – Sinuoso
Serge Devant ft. Camille Safiya – Thinking of You (Serge’s Floor Cut)