Q&A With Rob Holladay
Love him or hate him, there’s no denying that Yung Berg makes hits. But give as much credit to Berg as you would to one of the architects of his sound, Portsmouth, Virginia-bred producer Rob Holladay. Holladay’s been banging out tracks since high school, which is when he got a copy of Fruity Loops from a friend and fell in love with beatmaking. He became so enamored with the craft that dropped out of high school to pursue a career in the music business. Eventually he linked with Berg, who brought him out to Los Angeles to work on his debut, Almost Famous- The Sexy Lady EP. Riding high off the success of “Sexy Lady” and Berg’s new single, “The Business,” Holladay’s focused on continuing to get it in.
Q: How did you first get introduced to the world of beat making?
A: When I was in the 7th grade, my friend and I had an old sampling machine that we used to loop song intros. I didn’t start making beats until I was 15, my friend JFK introduced me to Fruity Loops.
Q: What were some of the first steps you took to try to get into the music industry as a producer?
A: I was introduced to Yung Berg through JFK. Berg was the first artist I shopped my beats to and we’ve maintained a close relationship for about five years now.
Q: You dropped out of high school to become a music producer, how did your parents feel about your decision, and looking back, do you think it was the right choice?
A: My mother always supported me and my music. She rather see me doing something I love. Although once I became stable enough she encouraged me to get my diploma.
Q: What did you early beats sound like compared to now?
A: Ha ha…. my first beats sounded like an amateur Kanye West and DJ Premier. Although some were cool, you wouldn’t want to hear them. All I did were samples. Roc-A-Fella Records were on top at the time, and their beats were all I loved.
Q: What gear did you start out with, and what are you using now?
Q: How important of a role do you think gear plays in the type of tracks people are coming with these days?
A: It comes down to whatever is most comfortable to you. I use Fruity Loops for everything because it lets me focus on my creativity instead of the technicalities of the gear your using.
Q: Musically, are you classically trained, do you even know how to play, do you sample?
A: When I was younger I played the cello but I don’t really remember being any good. I mostly learned from listening or by playing what I thought sounded cool.
Q: Talk to me about the relationship you have with Yung Berg and how you guys work together
A: Berg and I have been cool for years, since I left VA for Hollywood. I love making records with him because he adds his own magic to every record I create. I made “Sexy Lady” as a bet, Berg turned it into my first big hit. That’s enough to state we do this in our sleep.
Q: Walk me through the process of putting together the beat for “The Business,” how you started the track, what inspired the melody, the drums, etc.
A: The drums i already had for about 6 months before I tracked the melody. Then Mariah Carey started working on her new album and I originally wanted it to go to her but it didn’t make it. So Berg heard the beat while searching through my hard drive and wrote the song on the spot.
Q: How did the hook and the lyrics for “The Business” come together, was that something Berg wrote himself, or did you have a hand in that?
A: Berg wrote the entire record in about 15 to 20 minutes.
Q: Virginia has a lot of notable producers- Teddy Riley, Timbaland, The Neptunes, Danjahandz- how is Rob Holladay expanding on that legacy of great producers coming from VA?
A: I feel as if coming from Virgina and being a producer is an honor. My goal is to take it where no else has taken it before, Just as Timbaland, Danja, Pharrell, and Chad did.
Q: How do you categorize your sound, and if you had your way- no politics or industry ears involved- what type of music would you want to put out to the world?
A: My sound is equivalent of putting on Moon Boots and flying into outer space with a bag of green. I’m putting out the music I want the world to hear, until I decide to switch things up a bit. The only record I’ve released that I don’t like that much is “Sexy Lady.”
Q: What’s coming up for Rob Holladay?
A: Look out for Look What You Made Me, Yung Berg’s debut album due this August, I’m all over it. As far as everything else, I’m cooking up a few things in a couple different kitchens. I love the element of surprise. So stay tuned to the radio.