You can thank Justin Timberlake for Hollaphonic’s latest single, Runaway.
UAE’s home-grown electronic duo, Greg Stainer and Olly Wood, met with Timberlake’s backing band when the pop star performed in Abu Dhabi in May. They promptly hit it off with back-up vocalist, Aaron Camper, and in a weird twist of fate, he became the voice of their newest track, which released on November 4.
“I was in London in the summer and Justin Timberlake was performing at the Virgin Festival in London,” Stainer told tabloid!. “I got in touch with Aaron, and he was in London literally for one day, so we met up in the recording studio in London and we recorded this track.”
It marks the third single from the duo’s upcoming debut album, Personal Space, due to release in the beginning of 2015. The album is one that fought to exist, surviving a switch from EMI Records to Universal Music MENA, and needing nearly a year to take shape.
Now, as the duo prepare to open for Armin van Buuren on November 21, during his Formula 1 After Race concert at du Arena, Stainer told tabloid! all about why he and Wood recorded the album nearly in each other’s laps, and why emails from his label excite him.
Tell us a bit about your switch in labels.
Universal pretty much took over the EMI record label. A lot of the artists, as far as I know, were getting dropped, but Universal here heard the stuff that we had done, and saw the music videos and saw the live performances, and they said, you know, when we change over, we’re going to take these guys on board at Universal. I always say now, whenever I get an email from anybody at Universal, their signature has the little Universal logo in it — the excitement every time I see that logo in an email, it’s like a scene out of a movie.
What makes you stand out in the region?
A lot of the time, we’re working and working for hours and hours, and it’ll be a case of [listening] to something we’ve done, and we both agree, yeah, this is good, but is this going to make it on a pop show [or] on a radio station? We end up always putting projects to the side and [saying], let’s just release that one as an underground track, but let’s get back on track and think about music for the masses.
Why is the album called Personal Space?
The first sort-of half of the album was made in a spare bedroom in my house. The way that I’ve got my studio set up, the microphone is literally right next to where the computer is. The first track we’d done, I Don’t Want it To End, was literally the first session we had in a recording studio together, and it was a matter of Olly almost sitting in my lap to be able to reach the microphone whilst I was recording. It wasn’t really a two-man studio. Then we just realised, it’s got a double meaning, we’re giving the world a bit of our personal space.
What excites you more, a show like Creamfields or Formula 1?
I mean, Creamfields is obviously a lot more specialist for people who are into dance music, but to perform at Formula 1, you’ve got everyone from all walks of life, all styles of music, and we’ve got to somehow entertain everybody — stuff like that excites us. It’s a lot easier to get in a nightclub with 300 people and play straight house music. For us, that’s easy. But to perform to up to 40,000 people at the Formula 1, that’s a massive challenge.
— Hollaphonic’s single Runaway, from their upcoming album Personal Space, is out now. Follow them on facebook.com/Hollaphonic.