Beat maestro Holly just took home one of the most prestigious awards of the year. A-Trak‘s inaugural Goldie Awards, put together by Fool’s Gold, THUMP, Noisey, and TMWRK, brought in the best DJs and producers from around the globe to be judged by industry heavyweights like Diplo, Mija, Just Blaze, DJ Craze and more.
Portugal’s Holly, who has toured internationally and has released on just about every major label, including Buygore, Monstercat, Dim Mak, Fool’s Gold and many more, is achieving unbelievable feats at the young age of 22. Now, he can now add Goldie Awards Beat Battle Champion to his list of amazing accomplishments.
Alongside Miles Medina, who won the DJ Battle trophy, Holly’s Miguel now stands at the forefront of history and the progression of DJ and producer culture at its finest. We sat down with him following his big win to talk about what’s next for the bass music wunderkind.
Congratulations on winning the Goldie Awards! How did it feel to take home the trophy for Beat Battle Champion?
Hey thank you!! Feels like Christmas haha. Since Thursday, I’ve woken up and looked at the trophy every morning and I just feel like a kid on a Christmas morning looking at his own gifts. I didn’t set too many expectations for the battle, but I wanted to be on the level of the challenge and it feels good to accomplish what I designed in my mind.
You were hand-picked by A-Trak to be flown to New York City and present some of your productions, which must be a pretty cool feeling. When, why and how did you get started with production?
Yeah, shout out to A-Trak for everything – he has been one of the DJs that I looked up to the most since I started going out to nightclubs and music shows when I was 16/17, so it’s a pleasure to be around his energy. I started making beats with FL [Studio] when I was 18 (2013) and I started making music because at the time (and still today) I felt the need to have something in my life that I could talk to, where I could express my thoughts and where I could develop my creative ideas (besides more personal reasons)… Basically, to have a best friend that isn’t a person and that I could talk to, you know? I know it sounds cliché, but I really mean what I wrote.
Even though you won the beat battle, you’re also an insanely talented DJ, which is quickly verified by your insane Shambhala set. What is your process like when putting sets together?
Haha that’s a good question. Honestly, I try to tell a story and I try to bring my crowd into a mind trip, which is kind of easy to do when you listen and play a little bit of everything. I really pay a lot of attention to the tracks that I start and I finish a set with, and I try to look at the crowd as a group of individual souls and not as a mass text. I could give you this analogy for example – just try to see DJ sets as a meal where you feed the people just with healthy ingredients and a little bit of everything in order to make everyone sane (but you also need to make them go a little bit insane haha). Always important to play stuff that challenges you on stage too, so I can make sure I’m challenging the crowd as well.
Along with the trophy, you also took home an insane amount of next-level production gear. What are you most excited to use?
To be honest, I don’t really know what I won yet haha. I heard A-Trak saying the names of the gear. I haven’t checked or received it yet, but I’m excited to use everything!
(He won a release on Fool’s Gold Records, a Pioneer Toriaz SP-16 Sampler, a Roland TR-08 and SE-02, Native Instruments Maschine and Komplete 11 Ultimate, Stokyo Record Runner Chrome Gold, Kutter Portable Fader, and an Oyaide Elite DJ Cable Set)
You won a release on Fool’s Gold, which is a label that gets pretty diverse with genres. What direction do you think you’ll take with your release?
Oh, I don’t know yet, everything has happened too fast to think about that, but I just want to look at this chapter that is happening in my life right now and talk about that in my music and present it to the Fool’s Gold team.
When you won the trophy, I think you mentioned that this is “only the beginning for you.” Where do you hope the next 2-3 years take you?
Wherever I can’t achieve in my mind yet.
Any last words or advice for upcoming producers?
Yeah, the best advice you can receive is to not take any advice. Just do whatever makes you happy and work until you achieve 10,000 hours on your work path and good things will happen. Stay away from anyone who gives you bad vibes or puts you down. It’s easy to fall into that negative field when you pay too much attention to what other people say – “Oh you can’t make beats like that,” “Numbers are important,” “People can’t dance to that,” “You can’t use samples,” “Go more pop,” “You can’t collab too much,” “People say you don’t produce you should do something about it,” “You should pay more attention to numbers,” “You can’t get too much emotional,” bla bla bla bla – but fuck all that stuff, those are just toxic thoughts that will make you die inside. Everyone can get a computer and make dope beats but it’s your vision and what you love to do that will take you to the places that you dream about. If you only live inside a room, the furthest you can get are the walls you see, so just get out of that place and explore other rooms, the neighbors and the world you live in.
Listen to some of Holly’s latest releases below and make sure to keep up with him since it’s only up from here.
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