Monday, February 2, 2009

Welcome to the DJ booth and let me introduce you to the DJ Gavin Holland of Nouveau Riche

Photo: "Sexy Fitsum/iLLIMETER"

Last year, I wrote a feature piece for Not for Tourist’s DC on DC’s Hottest DJ’s. Since then I’ve come across an amazing roster of DJ’s in the District who have kept it movin’, parties bumpin’ and awaken a newfound musical explosion in the city. Thus it only seemed obvious I take the time to interview each and every one of them to give you, the reader, insight on how they select their jams and who are these musical magicians behind the turntables.

So welcome to the DJ booth and let me introduce you to the DJ Gavin Holland of Nouveau Riche. Peep my February interview with him below and I highly suggest you listen to him HERE as you partake, it'll make life so much more enjoyable.

You are always on the go, a real jet-setting DJ, what do you do in your free time?

Lately I've been reading when I have the chance. Jonathan Safran Foer's "Everything Is Illuminated" was mindblowing. Now I'm on a nonfiction kick, just finished Malcolm Gladwell's "Outliers" and "The Tipping Point", and moving on to a collection of interviews by The Paris Review. Apparently, William Faulkner is a badass.

What are you currently listening to in your car/at home/ on your Ipod?

The new crop of Nadastrom remixes. Best thing to come out of D.C., ever.

Are there any upcoming albums that you can't wait to hear?

Not to beat a dead horse on the D.C. thing, but I'm really looking forward to Will Eastman's full-length.

How did you learn to DJ?

In 8th grade, right around the time of the Napster explosion, I found a program called Virtual Turntables. It allowed you to set cue points and adjust the pitch of MP3s, so I used to make hip-hop mixtapes for 8th and 9th grade parties. I was obsessed with it. I finally got turntables the summer after my sophomore year in college, after meeting a dude in Zurich, also from Virginia, who explained that you really can play trance at frat parties, as long as you throw in a little Motown. This is true. I bought my whole system a few days after I got back to the U.S.

How has technology impacted the equipment and the state of music?

It's made everything completely insane. It is now possible to make tracks on a laptop in your bedroom in Melbourne with absolutely no help from a record label, and tour the world with that. Miami Horror, I see you.

Your style is sick. I always see you rockin’ some super fresh gear. What’s the story?

DURKL clothing is one of my sponsors. Wear it all the time. Looks great, feels great. I lost 30 lbs. in two months just from wearing DURKL.

What are your thoughts concerning DJ's and their role in the music business? Do you think that your work supports or subverts most artist?

I hope my work is supporting artists... otherwise some people are wasting a lot of time and money sending me their music.

Who your inspirations for your work?

DJ-wise, John Digweed and Diplo have been major inspirations. Both of these guys are magicians, creating wildly successful parties, dance tracks, and record labels out of thin air. I also look up to The Rub as an example of what a DJ trio with chemistry can accomplish. I was incredibly lucky to have met Andrew and Steve, my partners in Nouveau Riche.

Who was the first person or artist who you heard growing up which got you hooked on music?

I grew up on some of the most whitebread music imaginable. As a really little kid, I was into Neil Diamond. That has faded, but my admiration of Elton John has not.

Lights and music were on my mind.

What do you think differentiates you from other DJ's?

I have no musical integrity whatsoever, and I'm ashamed of myself when I play a coherent DJ set.

What is your favorite piece of music? What are your favorite albums?

My favorite piece of music is "Trap Star" by Young Jeezy. My favorite album is probably "Loveless" by My Bloody Valentine, which is a testament to what human beings can achieve if they write great songs, and then sit at a mixing board long enough.

What was the first DJ competition you entered? How well did you do and what did you learn?

The first DJ competition I entered was when I was going to school in Charlottesville. A competing party insisted on having its events the same night as ours, and they were out of business in two months. I learned that if people won't be reasonable with me, I will crush them.

What are some of your favorite places to unwind in D.C. and around D.C.?

My favorite place to unwind in D.C. is at the Fort Reno summer concert series, up in Tenleytown. I don't know why they aren't mobbed with thousands of people every week.

What is your advice to up-and-coming DJ's?

Throw totally sick house parties, then take it to the club.

Are there any national/international artists you have performed with?

Yep. I just played with Stephen from Soulwax (Belgium) and So Me (Paris) last month in NYC. I've also performed with Sinden (UK), Miami Horror and Gameboy/Gamegirl (Australia), and MSTRKRFT (Canada).

Other than being a DJ what talent would you most like to possess?

I guess it would be cool if I could wake up before 9 a.m. on a daily basis.

Which gig/tour will you remember forever?

When I played the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas last March, I was transported in a gold stretch limo, which I had to pretend was normal.

Was it difficult to get into the DJing scene? Were you taken seriously?

Well, to get into the scene, all you have to do is say you're a DJ and throw a party. That was easy. Getting people to come to my parties, however, was extremely difficult. I've written hundreds and hundreds of personal e-mails to ask people to come out to Nouveau Riche. You have to get over yourself and beg. As for taking me seriously, I really hope nobody is doing that.

So what's the deal with your music production?

I just finished a remix of U.S. Royalty's "Every Summer", and right now I'm working on two tracks for the upcoming Nouveau Riche EP. That'll be out sometime this Spring, with two tracks from each of the Nouveau Riche DJs. If you don't get it, the rest of your life will be plagued with a sense of emptiness, a feeling you have missed something truly great.

What kind of preparation do you do before playing a set?

I generally just try to think about Young Jeezy, and how he is the best rapper alive. Then I'm ready to go.

What made you decide to be based in the DC Area?

Initially, it was because my dad had recently passed away and I wanted to be close to my mom. Then I realized that DC is totally awesome, so I stayed.

If you could spin for anyone, who would this be and why?

Birthday party for the Obama daughters.

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