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Standout Track: “It’s a Boy,” an instrumental that should sound familiar to fans of Bluebrain, Hays Holladay’s electronic-pop project with his brother, Ryan. While Bluebrain blends hummable and experimental sounds, Hays says his solo work hops between the two, from catchy beats to space-age ambience. Making the album Life Swap, Hays says, was kind of like “recording boot camp.”
Musical Motivation: In the past Bluebrain has extracted audio data from digital photographs and invited its audience to collaborate via an iPhone app. Holladay’ recorded his Life Swap material with looping software, drum machines, and a Dave Smith Instruments Prophet ’08 synthesizer, an analog device that produced the rise-and-fall melody surrounding the constant percussion at the core of “It’s a Boy.” The recording environment, however, was decidedly low-tech. Holladay made his first pass at Life Swap last August in a stuffy attic in 16th Street Heights. “I did Bikram Yoga for the first time [recently],” Holladay says. “That’s how hot that attic was.”
Getting Sidetracked: The album is much nearer completion than Hays’ previous attempts at a solo full-length. “I’ve had a lot of things that were almost ready to go but then something came up,” he says. “There’s a sense of laying down important parts before I lose interest.” This time Holladay aims to push out songs online before self-releasing the album later in 2011. “I think by the end of the year my friends will be sick of me putting out songs,” he says. “But it’s nice to go from start to finish and share it with people.”