Q&A with DJ Holly Waxwing

/ Interviews

DJ Holly Waxwing
Holly Waxwing will perform during the Third Space Opening Party on January 27.

Inspired by the works in Third Space, DJ Holly Waxwing will create a soundtrack for the Opening Party right in front of your eyes… and ears. Check out this Q&A to learn more about the man behind the music.

Birmingham Museum of Art: How did you come up with your name? Who is Holly Waxwing?

Holly Waxwing: A few things went into the name consideration. I definitely wanted to use a pseudonym and not a band name. It’s nice to have a persona or myth accompany sounds. I wanted it to have a bit of whimsy (e.g. Pippy Longstocking) without being too kitschy. I tried to make the name tonally pleasing and memorable. Holly is one of my favorite shrub/tree species and Cedar Waxwings, my favorite bird, will feed on holly berries in the winter and sometimes get drunk if they are fermented. Cedar Waxwings almost look like suede and they have a really discreet beauty that I try to convey in my music, so I guess the name is an attempt to mirror qualities I wanted to seek out in my music…a drunk and sophisticated acrobat.

Artist Nick Cave's Soundsuit
Soundsuit, 2009 Nick Cave (American, born 1959), fabric, with appliquéd crochet and buttons, knitted yarn, metal armature, mannequin, Collection of the Birmingham Museum of Art; Museum purchase with funds provided by the Collectors Circle for Contemporary Art 2010.80
© Nick Cave. Photo by James Prinz Photography. Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York.

BMA: How do you find new music?

HW: Secret societies and sophisticated algorithms.

BMA: What five words would you say best describe your style?

HW: stipple, steeple, whiffle, ripple, swizzle.

BMA: Do you have a favorite local artist or music venue right now?

HW: Firehouse is my favorite local music venue and Jasper Lee is making really amazing music.

BMA: How do you create music inspired by or related to a visual work of art? 

HW: I guess in the same way my name relates to my music. I might try to imagine what a glossy, translucent white dress might sound like. I like trying to make what I think of as literal approximations of visual aesthetics, but that’s obviously challenging and is more of a starting point than an end goal!

BMA: When we think about the connections made between music and art in Third Space, the soundsuit by artist Nick Cave is the first work to come to mind. What song would you dance to if you were wearing it?

HW: Most likely:

 

Third Space is presented by

 

 

 Additional support provided by the Alabama State Council on the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts, City of Birmingham, Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham, Protective Life Foundation, Vulcan Materials Company Foundation, Robert R. Meyer Foundation, Susan Mott Webb Charitable Trust, The Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation, Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, Alabama Tourism Department, Alabama Humanities Foundation, the state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, The Lydia Eustis Rogers Fund, and Friends of Third Space.