Brothers Hays and Ryan Holladay create innovative music experiences that celebrate the act of discovery. With a shared background in composition and music production, their projects span a range of fields and disciplines and frequently invite user interaction, blurring the lines between performer and participant. From sound and video installations to mobile apps, their expansive body of work represents an intricate blend of art and technology that reimagines how we interact with and experience sound.
The duo received early praise for their location-aware composition: music created and mapped to a physical landscape, released as mobile apps, using GPS to dynamically alter the music as the listener explores their surroundings. Their first production, “The National Mall,” a location-aware album mapped to the eponymous park in Washington, DC, was described by the Washington Post as “magical…like using GPS to navigate a dream” and was included in their list of the year’s top albums (a first for an app). They’ve since gone on to create similar works for New York’s Central Park, SXSW Interactive in Austin, Texas, and other sites around the world, partnering with groups like IBM and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in the process.
In 2013, they served as visiting artists at Stanford University’s Experimental Media Art Department where they began work on their forthcoming location-aware composition spanning the entirety of the Pacific Coast Highway in the US.
Hays and Ryan continue to break new ground with the latest iteration of their live show, which showcases an interplay of old and new, utilizing an array of antique lamps retrofitted with LED bulbs, networked and synchronized with the music to create a duet of light and sound. Last year, they created a new work for Dolby’s headquarters entitled Prime, a piece that explored the concept of memory and that unfolded over the course of a year. Their scoring and sound design work can be heard in television shows like ESPN’s 30 for 30 series and on podcasts such as Sincerely X, Constitutional and Reid Hoffman’s Masters of Scale. The Holladay Brothers have spoken at universities and institutions worldwide and have been featured in numerous media outlets including The New York Times, BBC World Service, The Guardian, Rolling Stone, WIRED and Fast Company.
A Million Suns is an installation centered around a new musical commission by The Holladay Brothers. The work has no beginning or end, no fixed sequence or arrangement and near infinite playback configurations. Ryan and Hays Holladay have composed 100 individual musical scores for a sunrise -- a scene that is projected over multiple vertical screens, configured to surround the visitor, played on repeat and at various intervals. Accompanying each screen is an audio speaker playing a corresponding score. The result is an ever-evolving piece of music that can't be experienced in one sitting and that would take a lifetime to hear in the same way twice. The relationship between the various "suns" changes as the sequences shifts and the individual scores drift out of synchronicity, resulting in a work that was written to have a life of its own. Future iterations of the piece will allow for new scores to be added, eventually allowing other artists to contribute their own scores to the ever-expanding bank of musical sunrises.