Interview with Trey Hollingsworth and Issac London
Of Electra Vega
By: Gary Flinn
HHM: How did Electra Vega come together?
Trey: I was recruiting people for Def Jam artist Trinidad James and that kind of fell apart. So we took it from there with Electra Vega.
HHM: How did Isaac come into the mix?
Trey: We were recruiting singers and he came through and we really liked him. He was the thirteenth guy to audition, and we stuck with him.
Isaac: I was auditioning them, too.
Trey: Isaac auditioned for me on the phone at like three o’clock in the morning. I couldn’t really tell if he could sing or not right then, but I liked his personality a lot.
Isaac: You made me sing something wacky, James Brown or something. I forget what it was.
HHM: What is the meaning behind the name “Electra Vega”?
Trey: There’s really not any meaning behind the name.
Isaac: It just sounds good.
Trey: I came up with the name four years ago. I was looking at a Playboy with Carmen Electra in it. I was a really big Killers fan at the time, and I always wanted to establish a band similar to them. They are from Las Vegas, and I was looking at Carmen Electra, and it just clicked with me – “Electra Vega.” I really liked it!
HHM: Who or what would you say has had the greatest influence on you musically?
Trey: As a guitarist, Jeff Beck and Guthrie Govan are the two guys I’ve studied the most. As for what I’m incorporating in Electra Vega, it’s a lot of current artists. Phantogram, The XX, St. Lucia, Ambassadors X, The Arctic Monkeys… I’m also listening to a lot of moderate stuff like Zhu, Parachute Youth, Disclosure, Phantogram, Calvin Harris, Bruno Mars, Major Lazer, Robin Shultz and a lot of techno and house. I listen to a lot of EDM and top 40 and incorporate that into guitar. It works for me.
Isaac: Don’t say Taylor Swift! You’re about to say Taylor Swift. Her beats are on fire and you can’t deny it!
Trey: Anything that is new and fresh is cool. Growing up my background was Jimmy Paige, Jimi Hendrix, Jeff Beck, Van Halen, Yngwie Malmsteen, Buckethead, Jason Becker, and Joe Satriani. They are my favorite guys. But I lay back a bit for this project.
Isaac: I grew up in a smaller town so I had very limited music resources. I was in the marching band in school. I played trumpet, so I listened to a lot of the great trumpet players. Growing up I realized that I really loved Hip-Hop and I moved to Atlanta. Outkast had a huge influence on me. I was like “how are these guys so energetic and how do they make a sound so unique?”
I’ve always listed to a lot of different stuff that is way beyond what I could ever achieve musically, but it drives me to improve. Most of what Trey said as well. I stay in my headspace a lot, and as far as music is concerned I take in a lot of influence from the modern stuff he was talking about along with some of the greats from here in Atlanta. I have mized that wacky and mainstream sound into what we do.
Trey: My vision was to create a modern sound that can reach people world-wide and have long-term staying power.
Isaac: We are not just doing Rock-n-Roll music, we want to blend the sound of some of these electronic bands that are out there and not just do another electro-rock project. We combine that with the classic sound Trey grew up with, and the stuff I listened to as a teenager.
HHM: While Electra Vega is relatively new to the scene, you are not newcomers. What would you say is the greatest challenge facing bands, particularly independent bands, today?
Isaac: A lot of bands are trying to go with the sound of what is current and relevant. Ten years ago it was this. Five years ago it was that and now it’s this. You hear it in every music scene. The death metal scene, the hard rock scene, the pop scene, the market is flooded with a thousand bands in this city, a thousand bands all trying to make the same driving, grinding sound from current influences. I think market saturation is the biggest challenge. I mean you really have to be on your shit to make money today. Everybody wants to get a record deal. You have to be so cool. so good and so business oriented to get anywhere today. Another challenge is finding guys who are not just serious about the music; I mean everybody loves music, but finding the guys who have a business mindset, that aren’t addicts, and that are focused on creating a business with something that has staying power.
Trey: I agree with what Isaac said, In this business talent is only 35% success. The rest is hard work, networking, prompt communication, consistent creativity, promotion, good marketing, perfect image, the ability to constantly grab the public’s eye, and funds. Keep this in mind, continue to push, and a dream can happen overnight. If you don’t follow these steps there is someone out there a lot thirstier than you that will beat you to it. A lot of people think “well, I’m good. I shouldn’t have to pay for things”. Needless to say, “it’s a long way to the top if you wanna rock and roll!” Before you get signed by a record company, they are going to want to see that you are putting in enough hard work for them to put their money toward you. You can’t just go in with a list of songs and say we are really good. “…And?… So was the last guy who came in here.” What has the group that you are presenting done to prove to us as a company that we should consider putting money into you? A lot of musicians don’t understand that basic business.
HHM: You just finished working on a new single called “Fool”. From the advance copy you sent me, I hear a dark, kind of ethereal mood within it. It’s a very tense feeling, like something is about to happen. What is the idea behind the song?
Isaac: I wrote those lyrics and Trey put down those great guitar lines over the course of a weekend. The lyrics are about the politics of shame, those of a fool who can’t change. It’s the boiling point of a relationship where both people know it’s over, maybe the girl more than the guy, but they refuse to do what’s necessary to change. Or maybe they are just not able to do it anymore. You are right on it man, it’s about something that is about to happen, it is a darker song. It’s the inevitable end of a good thing that could have been great.
Isaac: We have three songs we want to put out over the course of the next three or four months, and then we are going to put out our EP.
Trey: We already have the album written
Isaac: Yeah, we have some good Rock-n-Roll music. Some of it is a little dark, some is kind of sad. It is going to have a lot of dynamics to it. We are re-writing a lot of our songs, working with producers to get the exact sound that we want.
Trey: We actually have enough material to keep us in the public’s eye and busy until this time next year. So we are already ahead of the game. We are slowly releasing material and taking the time to do it strategically.
Isaac: We are always writing.
Trey: Artists must always write. I think we are a quarter of the way through our second album already.
HHM: Trey, you as a individual have been working the Atlanta scene pretty hard, do have any tours planned?
Trey: Not right now. I’m a session musician, and a lot of the session work that I do is with Hip-Hop artists. Once I lay a track down, a DJ spins it on tour. So there haven’t been a lot of opportunities for me to go back on the road lately. The only way I am going to get on tour is with a rock band and there aren’t really that many rock bands out of this area that are touring that don’t already have their members lined up.
HHM: What has been your greatest moment on stage so far?
Trey: My greatest moment on stage was in London at KoKo in 2012. I was twenty two years old and it was my first commercial tour. To be able to look out and see thousands of people looking at me, not only from down below, but from the upper levels looking down, that was great. From the age of six up to that moment, I had spent all those hours in my bedroom playing and nobody was listening, and my parents were bitching at me the whole time.
Once you step out on that stage, you know that all that hard work, all that time you spent brought you here to this moment. Although nobody listened to me play and everyone told me I should focus on school because it was never going to happen for me, I have another world looking at me and I’m overseas killing it.
Trey: Thet feeling of walking out on that platform and seeing that every night for a month straight. I would have to say that was the greatest moment so far.
Isaac: That’s hard to beat. It’s hard to top that. When I moved to Atlanta, I immediately started doing studio work playing trumpet. I’ve spent a lot of years in the studio, and now it’s just locked in for me. I want to do this for the rest of my life.
HHM: What is the next step for you as a band?
Trey: Putting out our material in the public’s eye, and trying to get some type of label recognition. But if we can’t, that is not going to stop us.
HHM: If you had the chance to perform for just one show with any musician, living or dead, who would it be?
Isaac: Damn! That’s hard.
Trey: I’d have to say a large Led Zeppelin show. Out of all bands, Led Zeppelin was the true number one heavy hitting Rock-n-Roll band of all time. They really set the path for everyone else that followed. I would want to be on stage with them, because what comes with Led Zeppelin at those shows is a lifestyle that you would never know otherwise.
HHM: It’s true. I’d have to say that Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath really set the standard and defined the whole genre for all the bands that have followed in Rock, Hard Rock and Metal. Everything you hear now in those genres can be tied back to one of those two bands, or in some cases, both.
Trey: They have had an influence on everybody. They are the original “Rock Stars.”
Isaac: Questions like this always get me. I mean, I can’t even pick out a tomato at the grocery store. If I had to pick just one, I guess I’d have to say Outkast. Andre is a legend. 3000 is on some other shit and always has been. Their influence is the reason the Hip-Hop scene in Atlanta is so powerful. In fact the whole state has become one of the most influential music scenes in the world.
HHM: Years from now, when all is said and done, how do you want Electra Vega to be remembered?
Trey: Like U2. That’s exactly it.
Isaac: That we were doing it big, with our biggest sound. I want to do this until I die; however old that is. I want our songs from our first project in 2016 to be remembered in 2070. I think that’s all any band could hope for.
Trey: I want to be remembered like U2, Coldplay, the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, etc. Bands that stayed relevant and twenty-plus years later, their fans are still there watching them grow and develop.
HHM: Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Trey: I want to be loved by everyone.
Isaac: Trey’s a whore. You can throw that one on the record.
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