When Greg Stainer and Olly Wood first met over something a little stronger than a coffee, what began was a meeting of minds and of music set to last.
That’s what they say, anyway, and as with most things in life, only time will tell.
But if their passion, determination and slightly unnerving collaborative sense of humour are reasons to believe, these guys are going places and fast.
Stainer, a regular on the Dubai music circuit and Radio 1 DJ and presenter, joined forces with MC and festival man Wood, having been introduced by a mutual friend.
In just six short months, time mostly spent in a “rather tight” DIY home studio, Hollaphonic was not only born, but signed to EMI Music Arabia.
As serious as this may sound, don’t expect the same from either Stainer or Wood.
“I still think we should have gone with Ratman Bobin,” said stoney-faced Wood, having asked my opinion about whether or not it’s a better name than Hollaphonic. “We could have gone with it but we struggled to decide who would be Ratman and who would be Bobin,” Wood continued, without cracking a smile.
Luckily, I was saved by Wood’s continuing ramble. “Wives’ names were a consideration too,” he went on. “Initials. His,” pointing at Stainer, a smirk beginning to creep in. “Mine. Letters jumbled up. Kids. Wives. Pets even.”
A conversation with Stainer and Wood would make much more sense if the pair were separated like naughty school boys -- but it wouldn’t be half as entertaining.
Hollaphonic is EMI Music Arabia’s first signing in the electronic dance music arena. Set to release their first single, I Don’t want It to End, early next month, Hollaphonic is already attracting artists from the international arena.
“Hollaphonic is a combination of my classic house mixed with a darker bass aesthetic from him,” said Stainer pointing at Wood.
“It’ll make you wanna embrace your ‘bass face’,” added Wood immediately screwing up his face and miming turning up the radio with both hands. “I’m starting to sing, which will prove irresistible to the masses,” said Wood sarcastically.
“We’ve worked on this single with a talented artist and producer mainly based in east London called Shaduno who features on the first single,” explained Stainer, himself a DJ and artist with two gold-selling albums, a discography of more than 50 productions and remixes on record labels such as Hed Kandi, CR2, Stealth, Loudbit, Seamless, Pacha Recordings and Universal as well as a full length solo album 6mil 2headphones.
“We are also looking for local musicians and artists to collaborate with,” said Stainer, having let slip the first likely candidate is Dia from Abu Dhabi-born band Juliana Down.
“We signed them to our label because they sounded exciting and fresh. Electronic music is very current and Hollaphonic has what it takes to make it big locally and internationally,” V.T. Ravi, senior marketing and sales manager for EMI Music Arabia.
“We are focusing on their first single I Don’t Want it to End. It will be released on iTunes in the first week of February, this means it will be available in over a 100 countries. The beginning has been very promising: we’ve had a good response.”
While Stainer provides the beats, Wood is the more poetic of the duo. “I’m a man of many words,” said Wood, reciting a few lines of Shakespeare for good measure.
Wood honed his skills as an MC supporting artists including Coldplay, Ne-Yo, Busta Rhymes and Deadmau5, as well as a guest appearance with UK dance music heroes The Dub Pistols last year at UK outdoor festivals Bestival.
“We don’t have beef with other local artists,” Stainer insists, not being drawn on a twitter spat between DJ Dany Neville and DJ Bliss over the latter’s latest single. “The music pie is big enough for us all to have a piece and we genuinely get on with everyone. We haven’t even argued between ourselves much because sometimes it’s ok to give others credit for something you don’t know. It’s ok to back down and admit you’re wrong.”
Shoving a hand in Stainer’s face — “invading his personal space, which he hates” — Wood is quick to agree.
“I personally love a bit of beef,” he started. “There is a small shop near my house where you can get the best bit of wagyu. The perfect cut.”
For those looking to go the Hollaphonic way, Ravi had good news.
“The electronic dance music arena is buzzing. We are looking to sign artists from the genre. We are open to talented musicians from other genres too as long as the music they make is a notch above. The quality of music is key.”
*I Don’t Want It to End will be released in February 2013 with Radio 1 UAE already adding it to their Fresh and First playlist from January 8.