Good Morning Keith Diary - Vlad Holiday
Vlad Holiday is a New York city based musician and producer. Born in Romania, him and his family had to escaped communism in the nineties after receiving death threats (his father used to be a journalist writing against the government policy). Vlad started to write at the age of 13 and did not stop until. Based in a studio in Greenwich Village, that’s where he independently records and compose the majority of his tracks. Also know for his work in Born Cages, Vlad begins his solo carrier in 2017 with a first single named « Quit Playing Cool ». In two years, came out 8 singles which have brilliantly set Vlad's artistic direction. His music appears to us as a melancholic late night ballad in a dark rainy street of Williamsburg. Atmospheric, he romanticizes a lo-fi approach by making it sounds modern.
Following those release came out in 2020 his first EP named « Fall Apart with Me » which brilliantly confirms the work he did since 2017. On the first track we can hear him sings through a Phonograph (a machine invented by Thomas Edison in 1877)! Through his songs he approaches theme like human emotions, love and tragedy.
As a producer, Vlad has wrote songs for many New York bands such as Public Access TV, Lissy Trullie or even Donald
We had the opportunity to ask Vlad a few questions:
Hey Vlad, could you tell us how you came to music?
I fell in love with the guitar when I was 12 years old. All I did was play all day, and it was the first time I used music as an escape from all the noise in the world. Haven't stopped since.
Could you give us your 5 most important records? And maybe 5 that recently caught your attention?
Going back to when I was young and discovering music, I fell in love with Jimi Hendrix, Jimmy Page, Kurt Cobain - the somewhat stereotypical guitar heroes and their music/albums. The Strokes were a big influence when Is This It came out - I got that record as part of a mail-in CD bundle and it was unlike anything I'd heard. The Beatles were the first band I liked that my parents also liked. All these bands' pivotal albums were big for me. Later on, Mazzy Star's So Tonight That I Might See and Beach House's Depression Cherry are what got me into Dream Pop, which has been a huge influence for my solo project. Almost anti-guitar hero in a way, using notes sparingly to create an atmosphere rather than showboating, which I was really searching for at that point in my life. There's a million more albums and artists that have influenced me but, to be honest, not a lot of them are current or new.
What's your relation with clothes?
I've always liked fashion to some degree because all of my favorite musicians dressed a certain way, mixing nonchalance with out-of-this-world. Definitely a very immediate way to express yourself and convey who you are as a person. I like being able to tell who someone is based on what they choose to wear.
Do you have any icon when it comes to gettin dress?
I love 60's fashion, particularly women's (ha). But I've definitely looked at some people like Bob Dylan, Mick Jagger, Lou Reed, Syd Barret, Jane and Serge... and thought, yeah that's pretty cool.
Are clothes playing a role in your musical project?
Yes and no. I kinda just wear whatever I like, there's no set theme or anything. I started this project with the ethos of not overthinking anything, not trying too hard and just doing what feels right.
What is your approach to Lo-fi music?
Lo-fi music, to me, accentuates the imperfections between the notes. It's a recording technique that's based around feelings rather than textbook "perfection". I love using old equipment that I have to fight a little bit, rather than relying only on computers and taking all the human elements out in editing, like most pop music has been doing for the past 20 years. Lo-fi is a bit counter-culture and it's nostalgic and just embodies what my music is about.
It seems that you pay a lot of intention to your sound, how did you built it?
It took a while. I was chasing a sound that was in my head but I hadn't done before. I basically tried to break every rule I learned as a producer, just because I could. Because nobody was telling me otherwise... how to sing, what instruments to use or how the mix should sound. So I kept at it and found something I'm pretty proud of. I wanted my music to sound like it's own thing.
It looks like you don’t want to rush anything with your project, how do you approach music production?
In different ways, but often times a song will start with a voice recording on my phone or on this vintage handheld tape recorder I bought for $7 on eBay. When I start to build/produce the actual song, what normally happens is I work on it for a while until I hate it. Then I'll revisit it months later with fresh ears and a new perspective, change one little thing and then it's right and I love it.
Your first Ep came out this year, how do you feel about releasing music these days?
Don't feel great about releasing music these days to be honest. My EP came out just as the lockdown began, mid March, so I had to cancel shows. The highlight of being a musician for me is performing live and sharing a moment with people who've grown a connection to these songs. It's one of the most special things I've ever experienced. So with that being off the table because of COVID, it's hard to carry on with the rest. But we're all trying. Artists everywhere are suffering and will suffer for a while.
How do you deal with actual context? We’ve seen a lot of artist having troubles with inspirations, how’s it been for you?
I think inspiration extends even further than the context of a song. People are finding it hard to even make sense of the whole thing in these times. I've taken some time off and I've also learned to really chase ANY form of inspiration, wherever it comes from. I might have more bad days than good in that sense, but I've learned to really appreciate the good days.
When everything will be cooler, do you plan to tour in Europe?
Hell yes, no question. Will definitely stop in Paris! Feels silly planning for anything like that at the moment, but I will absolutely make it a priority as soon as things open back up.
And as a parting question, what would you like listeners to take away from your work?
My goal has always been to make my listeners feel like my favorite music has made me feel. Whenever people tell me about their connections to my songs, the relationships they've sparked, the 4AM drunken nights they won't forget... that's what it's about for me.
All pictures by Nathalie Osborne
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