Veering outside of the normal trends and carving her own sound is something that Holland’s been doing for years. Aside from the DJ world, she’s deeply invested in projects such as Black Gold Buffalo, a band formed in 2014 (lead singer Keziah just happened to walk in the door to whisper the answer to that question), with a debut album released in April 2018.
“We went through a few variations of band members,” Holland says, “and the songs that we recorded on the album were a collection that we’d been writing over a period of about five years. It kind of started as a live thing... the love of playing music and playing live. We didn’t have anything recorded, as we didn’t know how to do it. It’s so different from recording electronic music.”
It wasn’t until they met a producer that understood their vibe that everything came together. “We spent a year with him making an album that we’d be working on for five years. We spent a lot of time perfecting it how we wanted it. We achieved what we had imagined, which was why we waited for so long really.”
The result is a set of atmospheric, expertly produced synthpop songs with a post-punk attitude, which tear the roof off in a live setting. The final tracks were recorded in Margate, the seaside town in Kent in which Holland and Keziah currently reside. So what inspired the move to the South East coast?
“We were getting really bogged down with crazy rent in London, and we wanted something new,” Holland says. “I met the legendary dub producer Adrian Sherwood in an artist liaison van in Croatia. In the van it was me, Adrian and Steffi from Berghain. None of us had met before, and we just had this really great conversation about music. Adrian and I were both born in London with a similar background, and he was asking what I was doing about living, and saying that if I wanted to do music, I’d need to put some roots down and invest in something house-wise.”
Adrian was living in Ramsgate and listed off a ton of creatives that were also residing there: namely Ashley Beedle, Congo Natty and Adamski (who Holland knew from Berlin). A couple of years later, they went to visit.
“We fell in love with it, and found somewhere for way less money, and it was a no brainer,” Holland says. “We moved there straight away, and just started hanging out with all these amazing legendary music producers and DJs.” It was in that mix that they met their current producer. “It was a beautiful situation. We were really lucky to meet him, and it was a real blessing that it happened.”
While the plan is to continue to work on new Black Gold Buffalo material, right now Holland is revelling in her latest EP, entitled ‘Mutualism’, that’s currently doing the rounds on Batty Bass. With remixes from friends who happen to be producers she rates highly — Alinka, Joyce Muniz and The Carry Nation — it’s heavily influenced by jungle breaks and old school UK rave.
“I hadn’t put anything out for ages,” she says. “I really wanted to go back to what really made me start being excited about music, like old jungle, Aphex Twin, Orbital, Warp Records. That was the first music I really adored back when I was first collecting records. I was listening to a lot of that and trying to incorporate it into some new music. I always try and get some of my idols in there, so I had Goldie, David Bowie, and Iggy Pop vocal snippets, and dBridge got sent it through promo and sent me a message on Twitter saying, ‘I love the EP, I’ve sent it to Goldie, I hope you don’t mind’. I was like, ‘shit’,” she laughs. “But Goldie sent me a message saying he loves it, so that was a real full circle moment. One of the first clubs that I ever went to that blew my mind was Metalheadz when I was 14, so it was definitely a huge influence on me. It’s amazing that he’s heard anything that I’ve done and liked it.”
The 14-year-old Holland would have been very proud. It’s an EP harbouring influences from her early raving days, and it’s been tearing up the clubs through her DJ sets. “It’s had the best feedback that I’ve had for anything that I’ve done before, so I’m really excited for it to actually come out,” she says.
One of the nights that she has free reign to play exactly what she wants at, much like the Trailer Trash days, is Adonis, where she’s now a resident playing alongside Grace DIY of NYC Downlow and one-off special guests such as Andy Butler of Hercules & Love Affair. A party started by Shay Malt, it’s landed a suitable home at North London warehouse The Cause.
“Adonis is like stepping into another dimension,” Holland says. “Somewhere people can be totally free to express themselves, let themselves get lost without any shit from the outside world. An important space for the LGBTQI+ community, it’s not for everyone. Music-wise, it’s a dream for me, I can really go hard and experiment, because people are there to dance their tits off and trust you. It’s a great club because the crowd are fucking off the scale, the promoter knows how to party and the venue put so much love into the space — and that is really what makes a club night special.”
Speaking of free-spirited affairs, Holland’s also bringing her own club night back on 15th March.
“We haven’t put on Batty Bass for a number of years,” she says. “We did a one-off in the summer of last year that was really brilliant, and it just seemed right to do it again.”
For 2019 she’ll be hosting it at Mick’s Garage: a building that was once used for vehicle repairs and is now a major player in London’s late night venues. She’s booked Resis’Dance, a DJ collective that are doing great things right now, and Ostgut Ton’s Virginia. “She is someone I just totally adore. An amazing DJ, and totally the right ethos for Batty Bass.”
Much like those that Holland signs to the label, and books for her parties, she’s a good friend and an artist with a totally original style. There’s another club-focused EP on the way to follow ‘Mutualism’ in April, and she’s currently working on film score music for a feature-length film. Whether playing bass guitar, producing her own style of club music, or creating cinematic sounds for the big screen, there’s nothing short of creative spark in everything Holland sets her mind to — in her Margate studios and beyond.