Without a doubt it’s Holly-Jane Simpson’s vibrant pink hair that catches your eye, but it’s the beats she shares as Holly-J that will make your heart sing and your feet blast off into a dance. Having always had a love of music and the secret talent of playing instruments only by ear when she was growing up, it wasn’t until the New Zealand-born artist moved to Australia in 2006 that she discovered dance music.
Holly purchased her first set of CDJs, and the digital audio workstation Ableton Live at the end of 2008, that led to her performing her first gig at Revolver Upstairs just six months later. From here she threw herself headfirst into learning everything possible that there was to know about DJing and producing her own music. And if she had to pick her favourite gig of all time?
“It would have to be either OnlyOne Festival over in Italy a couple years back, Electric Storm Festival in Darwin or Yost Theatre in California,” Holly-J says. “There is literally no better feeling than playing music that you’ve spent hours upon hours making and seeing thousands of people going nuts and totally embracing the music – especially when it’s interstate or overseas and they may not have ever even heard your music before. Melbourne has an incredible nightlife scene too. I feel blessed to be able to play epic shows locally every single weekend.”
As Holly-J, she ignites her audiences’ senses with vocal but heavy underground club music dubbed ‘Melbourne Minimal’ and festival music like PsyTrap that she creates combining the sounds of psytrance with trap. She also started a new alias to split up her branding so as not to dilute her heavier Holly-J brand – enter JINXIT.
“I initially created JINXIT a few years back to be my more downtempo trap alias, but that has since morphed into being basically everything else I make or play that doesn’t work under the Holly-J banner – so it could be anything like commercial party tunes, r’n’b, pop, rock or downtempo trap. I have a lot of fun projects in the works for both aliases, and have just actually released a swagger rock record called I’m On Fire under JINXIT.”
Whether she’s on stage as JINXIT or Holly-J, her energy on the decks is contagious because she’s so full of life and exudes the passion that she holds for her craft. As soon as she plugs in her USB and begins to play, an automatic energy boost hits and in a second she’s jumping around and hyping the crowd to get them amped up along with her.
When she’s not on the decks, you’ll find Holly-J at the functional training centre ELEV8 in Carrum Downs that she owns with her partner Alby, working retail at the sports brand 2XU, booking upcoming shows or getting creative by producing tracks and editing videos. As if she wasn’t busy enough already, Holly-J is hoping to restart her production and DJ lessons by taking on new students in the near future.
Catch the ever-enthusiastic Holly-J and her epic sound at Motley in Frankston on Sunday, June 13, and regularly at AREA in Mornington on Friday nights. For future show dates and to experience the Holly-J sound for yourself, head to @djhollyj on Instagram.