Heath Holme – You have to be realistic, it’s hard graft getting gigs & don’t expect to get paid very much

Musical diversity and technique is the key with Heath Holme, resident at Bora Bora Beach Ibiza since 2005 where dancing on tables & having a blast 7 days a week, 12 hours a day is the norm.
Rocking peak time sets for Tour gigs & his daily residency, Heath also relishes the opportunity of warming up or closing out for guest DJ’s, & has worked with, Fat Boy Slim, Steve Lawler, Yousef, John Acquaviva, Hernan Cattaneo, Dave Seaman, Olivier Giacomotto, Silicone Soul, Chus & Ceballos, Felix Tha Housecat, Christian Varela, Stefano Noferini, Mendo, Ali Borem, Riva Starr, Sonique, Luigi Rocca, Amo & Navas, MYNC & many more..
Having now lived in Ibiza 10 years, Heath has played at Privilege for Saturday Night Project, Privilege Live, Privilege Club Nights, Space for Chris Liebing’s Spinclub, Zoo Project since its inception & has performed at most of the coolest, glamorous locations on the island be it Bar or Club. Heath has played some of the best festivals & night clubs in Europe, Sth America, the Middle East, Asia & his home of Australia.

We caught up with Heath outside of his busy studio sessions and before the Ibiza season kicks off once more

Hey Heath, good to meet you. Hows your day been so far?

Hola Decoded, nice to meet you too! Today’s been good thanks, I’ve been up early this morning finishing off a track & shortly looking forward to heading outside for a walk in the Ibiza Winter Sun.

So tell us about growing up in Australia. What was the scene like in Adelaide and how did you get your big break?

Growing up in Australia was great, it really is a special country & I feel very lucky to call it home. I mean what’s not to like, great weather, healthy lifestyle & long Summers. When I was old enough to go clubbing, Adelaide’s music scene was underground, mostly small clubs, House, Techno & Jungle sounds. Adelaide’s reputation (a bit of a back water) compared with Australia’s bigger cities, I think actually helps give the city it’s music edge.
There’s no doubt Adelaide helped shape & fuel my passion for electronic music & DJing. But it wasn’t until I travelled & based myself in the U.K that I got my first break.

Music has an interesting way of shaping our later years in life from our younger years, who were you heavily influenced by and was this a catalyst to become a DJ?

I liked in my younger years & still do, DJ’s, music acts, who push you to move, dance, sweat, lose yourself within the music. When i began to go out clubbing the music was high energy. The local DJ’s playing high energy sounds were cool, but it was International DJ, Tony Devit (RIP) that gained my attention & maximum respect. His seamless blending of tracks, & constant musical energy, pushing you to move on the dance floor was addictive. Probably not the catalyst to become a DJ but definitely a part of the journey.

Every DJ has to start out the daunting task of their first gig, do you remember it and how did it go?

It’s a bit of a blur, as was some time ago ;) I do however remember being extremely happy & nervous when I answered the phone call from the promoter, who had rung to book me. As far as I can recall the gig itself went well & what I wished & hoped for, was to be asked to return to the same venue to play again & that came true :)

With a successful music career in your home country, you made the brave decision to leave Australia. What prompted the move to Europe and how were those first few months on the island of Ibiza?

I think the move to Europe came from a point in my life where circumstances changed & I got restless. I love my own country family & friends very much, but I also had a hunger to find out for myself what things were like outside of my own country. I understood there was a big world out there, bigger music scene, festivals, artists etc. The 1st few months in Ibiza were like being on a roller coaster full of ups & downs. I came very close to pulling the pin on my Ibiza dream, but somehow as I was contemplating that things weren’t working out, everything just clicked & fell into place :)

A challenge for any DJ is a residency, talk to us about landing what some may think is a dream residency at Bora Bora.

I often find it interesting when reading the many guides published on how to blag a set in Ibiza. I mention this because I think my journey & experience to the turntables at Bora Bora, won’t be found in those guides. If you asked many Ibiza resident DJ’s how they got to play where they are resident each & every story would be different. My first years in Ibiza were about creating friendships, visiting Bora Bora & DJ GEE, was all about just a chat, sometimes I would ask the name of a tune he played & nothing more tbh. I loved to visit Bora Bora dance outside in the sand, pull up a towel, drink some beers, the vibe was great.
It wasn’t until somewhere into year 2 of knowing GEE, that there came a moment, when I mentioned that I also DJed. He suggested some Ibiza venues where I could try to find DJ work. I had nothing to lose at this moment so I handed him an Ibiza inspired mix CD. I knew the music was on point for Bora Bora (Which btw is Really important advice, do your research & make sure your mix, music, fits the venue, your enquiring to work at)
The rest of the story, just comes down to timing, somehow my mix CD, got listened too, (As GEE would often get up to 30 CD’s a day & many went into the bin as he couldn’t possibly listen to them all.) They were a man down at Bora Bora one week during the Summer, GEE liked my mix, called me up & asked me to come down & play. The rest is history.

If your fortunes had been different, where do you think you would be now?

Well some things in life like being raised in Australia, I consider as being fortunate. Otherwise I have no regrets or wish for things to be different from where they are now, my philosophy is work hard, harder & you’ll achieve what you want to achieve.

As we know, Ibiza is full of amazing clubs and bars, but do you have favourite place to play on the island?

Daytime – Evening, Open air venue; Some faves in no particular order, are, Benimussa Park (Where the Zoo Project & HOLI Garden parties take place.) Boat Parties (Various), Bora Bora Beach. Night Time – Early Morning; Space.

Bora Bora released a mix CD in 2007 which was split into a day disc and a night disc with yourself mixing disc 2. Can you tell us about how the music was selected, and the process behind it?

Sure, The 1st stage is to select the tracks you want to include in your mix. My musical style, energy, way of playing, lead me to do the Night Disc, it seemed a natural fit. The most important thing for me during the process, of selecting tracks, recording etc was that my disc truly reflected how I play in Bora Bora at night time. I wanted to provide listeners, wherever they where when listening with a journey that’s as close to the real thing as possible.

Ibiza can make or break a DJs dream, what advice would you give to any aspiring DJ wanting to make it in Ibiza this year? We understand its more than turning up with a hard drive full of tunes. Which contacts should people look to make and who can give them that big break?

I kind of threw in some advice in my answer to the previous question “landing a dream residency”. Additional advice, would be to get too Ibiza early & just network, network, bash out mixes, let people know what you do! Try broadening the style of what you play, by all means stay true to who you are musically, but i.e. if you’re a Deep Tech DJ looking for Summer work in Ibiza, you’re going to seriously limit your options..
There are a few places on the island that do give chances to new DJ’s & promoters so if you’re on the island keep an ear out for where & when.
You have to be realistic, it’s hard graft getting gigs & don’t expect to get paid very much, be patient & very importantly it’s cool to be confident but importantly just relax & be yourself!!

We have all heard stories about the island, but can you tell us about the funniest or strangest experience you have witnessed at a gig?

Hmmmmm, tbh I’m not sure I can, what happens in Ibiza stays in Ibiza. Although some years back in Ibiza, when parties such as Manumission were all about live sex shows, I had a don’t know where to look experience.
I was Djing as a guest in the main room of Privilege, & as part of the nights entertainment a live porn show took place directly in front of me.
I have to say it’s probably the 1st time in my DJ career I didn’t know where to look, oh yeah & I was playing vinyl so there was no looping available just the music running to silence if concentration was lost ;)

Ibiza gets a raw deal in certain media circles. We always hear about gangs of drunken youths laying waste to San An. Kids inebriated in the street too wasted to walk back to the hotel. Pickpockets etc. What changes have you’ve seen as an Ibiza regular to dispel this picture? Is it the same place you fell in love with 10 years ago?

I think tbh the reporting in certain media circles is more about satisfying their readers needs, than really painting a truthful picture about Ibiza.
Crime rates in Ibiza are super low, generally my only advice to friends when visiting is to watch out for your valuables, thieves, opportunists spoiling your holiday is always a possibility if you don’t use your common sense.
I still love Ibiza as much as I did 10 years ago and to be honest the changes in Ibiza I’m more interested about, are Paris Hilton’s (DJ) residence, marketing of the island as a VIP destination etc, etc

There has been much talk of the music being played in Ibiza, with comments in 2014 that proper house music has made a return. Is there enough of a spread of sounds for all tastes, or are promoters all trying to put on the same names?

Personally when it comes to the topic of variety, music genres for all tastes, in my opinion this is where Ibiza truly excels.
There was a short period during (2013) where some of the scenes bigger names seemed to be playing not at one, but all of the super clubs.
I think tbh this was as much about the artists themselves making money (Ie going wherever they’ll pay me) rather than the clubs recycling the same names. Thankfully this bubble burst & all returned back to normality in 2014. Ibiza really is unlike any other music destination, you can choose to go clubbing at the beach, boat, warehouse, go glam, end up at private villa party etc..
Soundwise you can hear raw in your face, never heard before music, thru to commercial pop vibes, if that’s your thing (So in my opinion, all tastes are def covered )

Everyone has their Ibiza secret places away from the tourist traps. Where do you recommend the more adventurous travellers to eat, drink and explore?

Eat; if you like super fresh Seafood, look no further, than the Fish Shack, Talamanca (Head to Sa Punta) great informal place, no reservations, 1st come 1st served, open Summer only!!
Drink; Cap Des Falco – Experimental Beach, for a truly beautiful location to watch the Sun disappear, & very tasty Lge cocktails (Near to Salinas)
Explore; Some great walks to do around the island, but probably top of my list, is a boat trip to the neighbouring island of Formentera!! (Get up early it’s worth it & take one of the morning ferries across, hire a scooter or car & get exploring, then return back to Ibiza the same day, later in the evening.

Lets move on to your productions. Firstly, what motivated you to start to make your own music and how steep a learning curve was it for you?

I think my motivation to make music came to me during a moment of contemplation. I was thinking about longevity within the music business, was I going to be a DJ playing 6 days a week, forever, where did I see my future going? The answer was for me to get inside the music, learn to produce, make my own sounds, express myself.
I can’t say I’ve made a better decision in my life, I totally enjoy the challenge of making music, I have a thirst for knowledge, passion & energy.
It’s great to find the right outlet to channel this I think like with all things you never stop learning, & one can not fast track experience. A lot of things have now clicked into place. For me personally you need to train your ears & this takes time, it’s a different way to hear sounds when you produce as to how you hear them when you DJ.

Talk us through your studio set up. Which DAW do you prefer and do you have any favourite VSTs or hardware?

Some of the kit I use, KRK Rokits, Native Instruments Soundcard, M-Audio Midi keyboard, Mac Book Pro. My DAW of choice is, Ableton Live 9 Studio VST Synths, Massive, Arturia Mini Moog, Korg M1. I have too many plug in’s, but some of my faves, Sausage Fattener, Camel Phat, Sugar Bytes, Waves

You’ve worked with a variety of big names. Who do you feel you have the best rapport with? When you make tracks together, do you naturally fall into a groove or is its a gathering of ideas between you both?

I’ve not had any bad experiences playing with big names over the years, which is cool. As for having a rapport, that takes time. When I’ve had a residency, regular appearances, things get a little easier & you get to know guys better. I had a couple of seasons playing with the Definitive recordings Family, John Acquaviva, Olivier Giacomotto & Simon Doty they were, fun & top guys to be around & play alongside.
Typically when collaborating with another producer the gathering of ideas from both parties is a great starting point. Making a track with someone, the studio chemistry needs to be right, if it is, you’ll begin with ideas & then fall into a groove! Happy Days

Well, its been great to meet you and chat Heath. We’re looking forward to another great year of music and parties in the White Isle. Finally, How is 2015 shaping up for you gig and release wise, and where should we look to go in the summer for a great party?

Thanks, Decoded Magazine, it’s been great to meet you guy’s a chat!! 2015 is shaping up good, I’ve been in studio lock down mode since the 2014 Summer season ended & I’m happy with the results. In the coming months there will be news to share, regarding Ibiza 2015, DJing in the snow before it melts, new music releases etc To keep up to date, feel free to join my Facebook, Soundcloud pages


About the Author

Loves long walks along the beach, holding hands and romantic 80's power ballads, partial to electronic music and likes to make the odd mix or two.