Artist Interviews

Made On The Road – Approaching Songwriting Differently

Photograph of the blog post author, Chris Reynolds

Chris Reynolds

21.7.2020

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Built and Founded by songwriter George Holliday, Made On The Road is a creative hub on wheels.

Starting in 2017, George purchased an old ex-library bus and quickly began a renovation project to transform it into something entirely unique.

Following several showcases at a number of expos, alongside companies such as Tesla & many more, George eventually moved into the bus – making it his home, studio & means of travel. Holliday then spent the summer of 2018 and the rest of the year travelling around Europe. Taking in countries including Croatia, Germany, France, Spain, Belgium, Luxembourg, Slovenia, Austria, Scotland & England.

During these months, Made On The Road established itself as a huge success. The initial stop-overs were convincing enough to land George his first major-label conversation with Warner Chappell, where George and his writing partner Isaac began working creatively whilst still on the road.

Made On The Road

Project: In Motion

In 2019 George announced that he would be writing a collaborative album, getting everybody and anybody involved. Funded by merchandise sales & generous donations from his growing fanbase, Made On The Road spent the following 6 months visiting 60 locations throughout Europe.

Welcomed with open arms by all who met him, George found himself with over 100 hosts & musicians at his disposal. This led to the creation of a 16 track album, all recorded & produced on the bus; thus being Made On The Road.

Singles from the album are scheduled for release throughout 2020. The first single, ‘Drop By‘, was featured by BBC Introducing as an Artist To Watch In 2020 & received further air-play from Jamz Supernova on BBC Radio 1Xtra, in addition to being selected by BBC Introducing: South as Track of the Day.

A Catch Up With George

George Holliday

We were lucky enough to catch up with musician, producer and Made On The Road founder George Holliday, to hear all about his incredible project and journey.

So George, what is Made On The Road all about?

Made On The Road is a travelling music production company based in an old library bus. We are a small team that helps modern pop artists create authentic music with commercial appeal.”

“Our mission is to help artists become remarkable and overcome those dreaded ‘career obstacles’, allowing them to build a career that they are proud of.”

What would you say inspired you to create all of this?

Made On The Road

“Initially, I was hooked on the #vanlife on Instagram, I saw the lives that people were creating for themselves, turning these buses/vans and creating little homes. I’ve always dreamt of travelling with my music as well. So the two just seemed to fit perfectly.”

“I have performed for many years and made some great experiences along the way, but somehow I never felt satisfied.”

“After a family RV holiday, I knew that’s what I wanted to do with my music. To hit the road and find inspiration in whatever I found along the way. I made my move and committed a whole lifestyle change to living on the road.”

And how long did it take you to renovate the bus?

“With help from my dad, the build took 9 months in total. “

“I worked through the winter months. Which was both a bad and good decision. Working on the bus in the freezing cold was very uncomfortable and I would probably never do it again. But it was well worth doing as it meant I could leave for my first trip in the summer.”

What was it like living and travelling on the bus?

“Incredible. I got used to driving it very quickly. The hardest part is that the bus is 10m long and 7.5 tonnes which limits you for some of the adventurous places you have your eyes on.”

“But you just have to go for it and work things out as you go. It’s what the adventure is all about!”

Sounds amazing. What would you say was your favourite country/countries to visit?

“Ooooh, hard question. Croatia was BEAUTIFUL. Waking up in the sun, taking one step from the bus and jumping into the sea is fantastic and a great place to bring clients to for a weekend of recording!” 

“Second, I would say Copenhagen. Last summer we spent 3 and a half weeks on the sandy beaches of the city. Making music and working on blogs. It’s also where the ‘business’ really started to come together, so I have fond memories of building Made On The Road on those beaches.”

How many artists did you work with when making this album?

Made On The Road

“60 people came forward wanting to be involved in some way or another. But as the tour progressed we met with just under 100 people in the 6 months we were out there. Some people would come and make pancakes for everyone as we were writing, we even had several BBQ’s. It was truly incredible and I can’t wait to do it again.”

Would you say it is easy to record on the road?

“It’s just as easy as recording in your bedroom. You adapt. The hardest bit is recording in slightly noisy areas but I’ve worked out great techniques to get around it. I think the music kind of speaks for itself, you’d never guess it was on a bus and not in a studio!”

What equipment do you use for recording?

Aston Microphones and Yamaha have been very supportive throughout. Supplying us all of the basic equipment that we needed to start recording, including Microphones and Guitars. We also have Nord Keyboards, Adam Audio Speakers and Focusrite interfaces on board too making it a producers paradise.”

“We also have lots of fun little extra, like talk boxes, shakers made from whiskey bottles and maracas from Cuba. But my favourite thing about being on the road is being able to head out into different locations with my microphone and capture samples on walks. Doing this with my clients has really helped as we are literally building the song by exploring around the local areas!”

How has the pandemic affected business?

“I must admit, the pandemic had a very positive effect for Made On The Road. Creatives saw it as an opportunity to invest in their music and we were there with the abilities to record remotely and teach our clients how to record from home.”

“Sadly it began to slow down a little as people realised we were in the lockdown for the long haul. With clients losing their jobs, it became very difficult. But I like to think we catered as best we could for these situations, offering payment plans to relieve the pressure of big payment during these tough times.”

What are your plans for the future and bus?

Made On The Road

“More tours, more travel, and more experiences for artists to hit the road!”

“I just absolutely love bringing people’s music to life through production, and in many cases even writing from fresh with artists. It’s just the most inspiring place to write on this bus and I call it ’the beauty of the bus’. As Made On The Road builds and we are able to provide more services and help to artists, who knows what’s next.” 

“One thing I am focusing on is making a series of courses that share what I have learnt. I want to see people living how they want to whilst having a career in what they love. Whether that’s travel, van life or simply getting up and making music every day. When you have the skills and knowhow to set yourself up for getting results, you can build that into whatever lifestyle you want and for me, that’s travelling in a bus making music and having a business to go with it.”

Would you recommend other people doing what you have done?

“One hundred percent! But not because I want them to have my life, but because I want people to experience the joy of what chasing your vision can bring.”

“But the main thing I have done is just pursued an idea and didn’t wait. This bus cost £15,000 in total, so it’s not crazy money. I’m very open about that because people think I had a huge bank account and spent £100k on it, but the biggest cost was the 9 months I spent building it. The biggest hurdle is just that day you commit – I’d recommend that to anybody!”

Where do you plan on visiting next?

Made On The Road

“I fancy taking a trip to Portugal and Spain next year when everything feels safer. Heading to the south coast of Europe and spending a month or so in Italy would be a dream.” 

How has living on the bus changed your approach to creating music?

“It forced me to be more creative and flexible because on the bus you have more restraints like relying on the sun to power your equipment. Also, you have less equipment than in a studio because you have less space to work with, this forces you to be more creative. We recorded drums once in a storage container outside the bus, but I think the results are better and more unique because of it. It also goes without saying that the locations become a huge asset to creating music and I find it quite important to be aware of my surroundings and the potential it brings.”

If people wanted to collaborate with you. How would they get in touch?

“The best place is via the website or through Instagram (@georgejazzmanholliday). We have some great videos and music on the website showing experiences we’ve had making music with artists.”

‘Young and Free’

Set for release on August 13th 2020, Made On The Road‘s newest single ‘Young and Free‘ was recorded and written on the bus across 5 countries, with 5 musicians.

Young and Free Artwork

Creating a unique collaboration across the borders of Europe, the track emanates feelings of freedom and adventure, bringing out the inner child in everyone who listens to it.

A song that will sound at its best blasted at full volume, ‘Young and Free‘ encompasses a feeling of togetherness. A title and message that perfectly encapsulates the spirit and ethos of Made On The Road.

Find & Follow Made On The Road

Facebook | Twitter | Official Website | Instagram

Find & Follow George Holliday

Facebook | Instagram | Spotify | YouTube

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