One EDM had the chance to sit down with female DJ Holly Woods, also known as Rachel Woods after her Sunset Music Festival 2019 performance. This fierce female has been shaking up the Florida night scene for quite some time now. Rachel grew up with music surrounding her, as her mother played the violin. In some of Holly Woods sets she incorporates the beautiful sounds of live violin on stage.
As an up and comer in a saturated scene in Florida, how do you manage to keep yourself apart from the flock? From your fashion sense to the beats, how do you keep yourself unique?
I tend to make music for myself. There are a lot of trends in music that are going to change no matter what, that’s just how the scene works. There’s popularity then it dies and comes back in a few years. I think a way to beat that whole thing, is just sticking to what you do and doing it the best in your own way. I’ve always loved melodic music, from day one. I never got into the “party music”, it’s been a straight path for me, I’ve known what I wanted to do in music the whole time. Sticking to it, being authentic to myself, I don’t want to fit in, I want to be me.
Being a female in the industry, have you had any negative experiences?
Not to my face, I don’t know what people say behind my back but everyone’s been super welcoming. They take care of me and make sure I am okay. Everyone I’ve experienced, like my whole team is men and they’re like my family and body guards. I know that there is a stigma, but I don’t really care, I feel safe.
Were you just up north for a show a couple of weeks ago?
Yeah, I was in Illinois , I went by myself. It was definitely an experience, everyone was looking out . I had a whole new squad to roll with when I got out there.
How do you get your music out to that area of the US?
They actually discovered me on Soundcloud, which was pretty crazy. They hit me up and asked me to play their festival. It was a cool experience that people out of the area were looking out and listening.
Who and what keeps you grounded overall?
I think what keeps me grounded are my goals. I went to college, I did everything I wanted to do in my party, teenager scene so now I am really focused and dedicated. I have people around me who know my goals and if I ever veer off of them I have a great family and group of friends to keep me leveled. I know what I want , so I would not allow myself to steer wrong. I grew up as a junior Olympic swimmer, so it was always me against everyone else.
Outside of EDM, who inspires you the most?
This sounds basic but I really like Billie Eilish. I love everything about her, motives, voice. She really inspires me, I love that who Lorde, funky girl vibe. I hope maybe one day to incoorperate those types of vocals into my songs. I have a song right now that I am working on; Billie Eilish meets EDM.
I know you play violin during some of your sets, do you sing as well?
To be continued…
I have never seen one of your sets where you play violin, is it for a specific crowd or someone you are opening for?
If it’s an earlier, opening set I usually don’t bring it out. Or, like pool parties I wouldn’t want to damage the vibes. It depends on the vibes, if it’s a show and it fits then I’ll bring it. If it’s a day pool party and everyone’s just trying to party then I’m not gonna stop what’s going on.
Not to go off topic but you are opening up for one of the biggest DJs in the scene tonight, Illenium. Tell us how you feel.
I feel tired because I haven’t slept in days preparing for this set. I honestly found out three days ago and Illenium is one of my favorite DJ’s . He is one of my biggest inspirations. I love what he’s doing and I am so overly excited for the experience.
Is this the biggest artist you have opened for?
The biggest is kind of subjective, I’ve played with Audien. To me, this is the most sentimental. Audien was as well , he was one of my first favorite DJs. Illenium just hits home for me.
If you could ever go B2B with a musician, any genre, dead or alive who would it be?
Shania Twain. I grew up in the country. I idolized her. I was her for Halloween and if she could come out to my Coachella performance to sing ” Who’s Bed Have Your Boots Been Under” .
Have you had a big DJ fail during one of your performances?
Oh God yeah, so many. The first one that came to mind is, I was playing a gig in my early days, a deep house set. I was playing before Dr. Fresch, I threw my arm up and cracked my glasses in half. The arm on the side of my glasses fell off and I really cannot see without them. So, here I am looking around like a lost puppy. This security guard had orange duck tape, and he fixed them for me. I played the rest of the show with neon orange duck taped glasses. I’ve had at least ten fails, if you haven’t there’s no way you are human.
Look out for this stellar human by following her on facebook.