Student DJ Whole-Z wins SpringFest set
Published: Thursday, April 19, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, April 18, 2012 21:04
Junior Andrew “DJ Whole-Z” Holzberger will DJ SpringFest 2012 alongside Soulive, Dillon Francis and Battle of the Bands winner Sloe Loris April 21.
In search of a DJ to play SpringFest 2012, the UVM Concerts Bureau released the “Soulive Remix Contest” on March 19. Among six entries competing for the DJ slot, Holzberger’s remix “Soul Power” was the chosen favorite. He is scheduled to play two 20-minute sets broken up by a hot dog eating contest.
Holzberger began DJing in his senior year of high school when his father bought him a program called Ableton Live.
The loop-based digital audio workstation was intended to help him get a start performing live, and Holzberger did not want to disappoint his father by not using it.
“I felt bad that I wasn’t using [Ableton Live] for its intended purpose, so I started messing around with performing live just to make my dad happy,” Holzberger said.
Upon coming to UVM, Holzberger did not plan on continuing to perform, but during his first year he met senior Jake “DJ Jakels” Smock, who shared Holzberger’s interest in music. Smock introduced Holzberger to students who had house parties where he would have an opportunity to DJ.
“[Smock] took me out and introduced me to the kids throughout Burlington that would have house parties,” Holzberger said. “I introduced myself and told them I was willing to play music — it’s a good way to get into a party.”
Holzberger was first recognized on popular music blogs such as “This Song is Sick” and “Dirty Mexican Lemonade” for his remix of Edward Sharpe’s “Home.” Now, when Holzberger searches a song of his on the Internet, it will show up on five to 10 different websites.
In addition to the “Soulive Remix Contest,” Holzberger has placed in other contests such as a peer-voted Snoop Dog “That Tree” remix contest, and has performed at venues including UVM FallFest 2011, Rasputin’s and Nectar’s in downtown Burlington, other colleges and even high school proms.
“It’s cool when a person from a random school will hit you up via Facebook or email [saying] ‘yo man, we really want you to come play,’” Holzberger said. “That’s an awesome feeling.”
Holzberger believes that remixing is a good way for people to create their own music. He said mixing with popular songs that people already know is a good marketing technique.
“I think remixes are just as good as original tracks,” Holzberger said. “A lot of people are saying remixes are getting old, and that people should just start creating their own music, but I think they are creating their own music.”
Within the past year, Holzberger has transitioned from making remixes to strictly making his own original music.
“‘Original’ is exactly what it sounds like; it’s all you — you’re not using anyone else’s sounds or music,” Holzberger said. “When I make music now I just sit down at the keyboard and … find a chord progression that I like and try to build off of it.”
The song “Listen” — which has sounds that Holzberger created in an external program used in Ableton called Massive — was well-received, according to Holzberger.
In May 2012, Holzberger will be releasing an EP titled “Diversify” under his DJ name Whole-Z on the music blog “This Song is Sick.”