My favorite quality about music is the beautiful variety of sounds and styles that musicians create. While it often seems as if we only hear of a few musicians on the radio and in the media, there are many artists all over who are creating art and building a connection to their audience and fans. Recently, I have felt a connection to music made by alternative pop artist Vlad Holiday.
After discovering Vlad Holiday on Contagion’s music blog last year in a feature written by Riley Tiernan, I quickly became a fan of his distinct voice and nostalgic sound. I heard Holiday’s single “Like in the Movies” and felt an immediate connection to the feelings of late nights, chill vibes, and love stories. It immediately felt as if I had heard the song long ago, countless times.
Vlad Holiday’s style is effortless and smooth; it is a joyful experience I happily fall into every time I take a listen. If you’re not convinced yet, listen to more of Vlad Holiday’s singles, like “Artificial Paradise” and “Bad Influence.” I promise the quality won’t disappoint.
This interview has been edited for clarity
At what age did you start creating music? What made you want to start pursuing music as a serious career?
I was around 13/14 when I started messing around with writing songs. I didn’t start writing lyrics until much later, but those early days in my bedroom on a program called Fruity Loops was when I realized that I could do it myself too, rather than just be playing other people’s songs. I knew pretty early that this is what I’d be doing with my life.
What is your dream musical collaboration or project?
They’re all dead. However, it would be cool to collaborate or grab drinks with anyone that’s like minded and as passionate about music as I am.
Do you produce all of your own music? How did you learn how to produce?
I do. Production came out of necessity for me. I didn’t have money to pay people to record my music, so I had to figure out how to do it myself- it was as simple as that. It escalated into something much more, where I needed to be able to express myself sonically as well... paint the full picture. I also produce and write music for friends sometimes. From local NYC bands like Public Access TV, Lissy Trullie, and Donald Cumming, to Australia’s Slum Sociable, to Bastian Baker whose latest album charted No. 2 on the charts in Switzerland as he was playing our songs in arenas every night. Producing music has become a great passion, maybe an obsession.
Watch the Official Music Video for “Artificial Paradise”
Who are your biggest music inspirations?
It’s hard to pinpoint because I love so many types of music for different reasons. Lately I’ve been digging into a lot of Roy Orbison’s early stuff, Lou Reed, Dylan, Cash, Serge Gainsbourg... that kind of darker anti-hero persona.
My current music is inspired by a lot of female fronted groups like Beach House, Mazzy Star, early Lykke Li. People have compared me to Lana del Rey. So many others that have gotten me to where I am today-I feel like everything that’s touched my ears has influenced me and my taste, whether it was jaw dropping or absolute garbage.
How would you describe your solo sound compared to the sound of Born Cages? How has it evolved since going solo?
I would say it’s just a different vibe, more understated. With my old band Born Cages I was all about writing big songs with big production, positive messages tinged with bits of realness and melancholy. My new stuff is just trying to create a different mood. Born Cages was like a big daytime party and my solo stuff is the more intimate late-night afterparty.
Can you give us insight into your song-writing/song-producing process? How long does a single typically take to create from conception to the finished product?
It’s always changing. I don’t love having a process to the point where it fees mechanical. I need the freedom to experiment every step of the way.
How does releasing song single by single influence your process compared to releasing a whole album?
The single by single process has been super convenient for me. The more time I spend doing this, the more I realize that I need to put myself first and release music on my own terms. If I’m not happy or satisfied with my art, why even do it at all. I want it to be in the moment. This has been the most relaxed I’ve felt - if I get super inspired I can pretty much release a song right away and not worry too much about anything else. I feel like that is how music should be made.
Listen to Vlad Holiday’s newest single, “Bad Influence”
What are some of your goals in your music career? What can your fans expect from you in the near future?
My only goal is to keep doing what I do without compromising the integrity just to be able to put food on the table or sleep indoors. Everything else is noise. Fans can expect that I’ll keep doing this until I physically can’t anymore.
How do you feel being on stage versus performing to yourself?
Being on stage is everything. Without the human interaction, the job starts to feel like it’s not real. Like you’re just an insane person mixing words and sounds for no explicable reason. Doing it with people there is the explanation.
Don’t miss Vlad Holiday’s live performances this upcoming week in Austin, TX. On Wednesday, Vlad Holiday will be playing at the SXSW conference and festival. Additional featured artists at SXSW include Japanese Breakfast, Vaarwell, Billie Eilish and Khalid. Purchase your tickets for SXSW now!