DJ Hollyw8d – An Xperience Interview
Written by Staff on February 7, 2024
DJ Hollyw8d – An Xperience Interview – by Rob Smittix.
RRX: DJ Hollyw8d, man, thanks for taking the time with me here today. I knew I had to talk to you about this eventually. “More Music, Less Violence,” 100%, I can get down with that! Tell us a little bit about how you got involved in this and how it started up?
HW: Yes. More Music, Less Violence is a community concert series. I kinda coined the idea in 2020. We all know what happened in 2020.
RRX: We sure do.
HW: With the lack of being able to do social engagements.
You know? Being a full time DJ, that’s how I made my money. Bringing people together and doing community stuff. It derives from me doing a virtual event called “Housechella” in 2020 in which I would basically have artists come on to my Instagram live and do a split screen. They would perform and that was a cool way to do the mass communication thing.
I had people from London performing, people from the west coast. It was super cool man. I realized people wanted to come back outside. So I ended up doing a pop up show uh in Troy, New York at the riverfront. I brought like four artists. I didn’t really promote it as much. It was very flash mobby as I dropped the flyer not even eight hours before.
We got some people to shoot some content there as well. The photographer and I basically put it together. An actual like legit show. Whoever was there enjoyed it, the feedback was great.
So, I ended up doing it the next year and I did it legit in a coffee shop. It started from about 60 people and then it just slowly gravitated more and more. We’ve been to Troy, Albany, Schenectady even Caffe Lena. We’re bringing in 100 plus people per show now. I’m pretty excited for what’s to come for this year and ongoing.
RRX: Well, the thing that really made me gravitate towards your whole idea, as uh you put it on your social media pages and your website… the name says it all. More Music, Less Violence. I talked to Doc Horton not that long ago. He was talking about you and about this and I think he has some involvement in this as well.
HW: Yeah. Doc Horton and the Jay Street Band performed at our first annual Gala which was at Capital Rep last year. They kicked off the show and they got the crowd going, it was such a great time. Doc and I, have done a bunch of different collaborations. We did a recent collab for his single release party at Proctors. It’s been an amazing ride and since knowing Doc and the band it’s been amazing.
RRX: Well, back to the whole More Music, Less Violence because I mean… You mentioned 2020 and obviously we had the pandemic but Albany (and other cities) but Albany in particular… I know the stats because I was a big part of trying to do whatever I could to help fight gun violence. Gun Violence in Albany went up 1000% in 2020.
I was so happy to wake up to the Thanksgiving Black Friday edition of the Times Union, the biggest paper of the year because Xperience had a special edition in there and that was a big deal for us. But on the front page of the Times Union on Thanksgiving Day it read that Albany close to surpassing the homicide record again. I hope that we didn’t, I didn’t see where that ended up. Now we’re here in 2024 and not even a week into this thing, it’s not looking too good out there. It’s really sad.
I started walking and doing the shooting responses with SNUG. The cause is near and dear to me, especially after my friend’s son was gunned down. Not to mention I, myself have had a 45 to my head getting robbed in Washington Park. So to me, More Music, Less Violence is very necessary. We need music embrace this concept because as you know, it’s no big secret that much of today’s popular music promotes and glorifies violence and negativity.
We gotta do something about that. And I feel like the message that you’re putting out there is what we need. Especially the youth.
HW: I agree and the big thing with More Music, Less Violence is when I have people perform, I tell them, one of our guidelines is no curse songs. Even if you have a song with one or two curse words in it, I still advise them to cut it and clean it up.
Music can go way further with having a clean version or just not even cursing in your songs to begin with. On top of that, for me, having a message with your music goes a long way and will resonate with someone.
That’s how I try to form it with our artists. Our shows are open to all ages, Doc is in his sixties but telling it like he’s 21! The youngest we’ve ever had perform was with an eight year old. She’s 10 now.
She got the opportunity and I booked her to perform with me at Tulip Fest. She got to perform in front of her mother. And I got to actually perform in front of my mother for the first time too!
She came up from Brooklyn on Mother’s Day and she performed with me at Summer Night Out in Schenectady in front of like 20,000 people. I’ll remind you once again, she’s 10 years old. I’m super big into helping the youth and giving them a different outlet to express themselves. And letting them know that people are here to support their talents and foster it, more and more.
RRX: Absolutely, 100% respect! Let’s get the artistic integrity back into it. Let’s get some talent back into it. And God, man, if we can get that message out there. Imagine the kids starting to grab onto that. Imagine getting the message out there, that’s real solid and it starts catching on. I’m all about that.
HW: With that being said… just giving kids just different options of things to do is definitely a way to keep them away from all that negative stuff that just might come their way. You know, I grew up playing sports my whole entire life. And luckily that kept, that kept me out of, um, you know, being in trouble. But, you know, at the same time, sports, you can only go so far with sports, you know. So, uh, you know, my second passion was, was, uh, music. So, you know, that I came to play and, you know, I’m just thankful for that.
And when I say More Music, Less Violence, I left it being very vague in regards to like… more music, more producers, more singers, more music managers, more DJs and more engineers. I’m really trying to push that factor too, to the youth to let them know that there’s multiple sides.
So, you know? Like I said the more options we have will definitely increase the rate of success. I’m here for it all!
For more information visit moremusiclessviolence.org