DMA Success Story: Music Production Student Ezra Hollis

By Michael Rosa

Ezra Hollis of Arcata, Calif. attended Digital Media Academy – and liked it so much that he’s returned again and again. Now he’s launching a career as a DJ and producer, combining old school Hip-Hop with contemporary Dub-Step and his own creativity…and what he learned at DMA.

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Ezra Hollis took his DJ and music-production skills to the next level at DMA tech camps at Stanford.

You enjoyed one DMA course so much that you came back for seconds. What classes did you take this year?
My first class was DJing with Ableton Live, and the next was Electronic Music Production with Ableton Live.

Do you have any previous music production experience?
I’ve DJ’d a little bit before but nothing like this. DMA gave me more insight into the DJing process. Complicated stuff like mastering, how to use Massive (a really complicated plug-in) to make whatever sounds you want…which is really cool. It was awesome learning all the things I never learned how to do before.

What do you plan to do with this experience?
I’m going to take these skills back home and start making my own music. I have some mixes up on Mixcloud already.

I want to be a DJ or producer. DJing is super fun; I think it’s amazing. While I was at DMA, I got to DJ twice for the camp. It was awesome to get hands-on experience and DJ in front of so many people.

You learn so many new skills and cool and exciting things…and you make friends with like-minded people who want to learn the same things as you.
– House DJ and DMA Music Production Student Ezra “DJ Zera” Hollis

Would you recommend DMA tech camps to your friends?
DMA is a super-awesome place if you want to learn the things you love. It’s so fun and amazing and educational. Some of the things I learned from the DJ class were beat matching, overall mixing of genres, songs, and how to mix with different keys and BPMs (beats per minute).

What about the pre-collegiate experience?
I enjoyed the overnight program; it’s really nice at Stanford. We got to roam around and hang out on campus. I actually celebrated my birthday while there, which was super-fun because we went to the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk and I got to spend my birthday at the beach.

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Ezra met fellow music lover and aspiring producer Salim Ingram in the Electronic Music Production with Ableton Live course. Students inspire each other by bringing their own musical tastes and experiences and bouncing creative ideas off each other.

This wasn’t your first season at DMA, was it?
This was my fourth time coming to DMA’s Stanford tech camps, and I’m planning on coming back again next year.

Whose idea was it for you to come to DMA originally?
Initially my parents signed me up for camp, but since then I’ve found that coming to DMA is something I want to do for myself each summer because it’s such a fun experience. It’s an amazing place and you have such a fun time here and meet so many new people that have the same interests as you.

Which courses have you taken and which did you like best?
You learn so many new skills and cool and exciting things, whether it’s DJing, coding or animation, and you make friends with like-minded people who want to learn the same things as you. My first course was Animation with Maya, then I took a course in Video Production and filmmaking before realizing my passion lies in music.

Where do you find your musical inspiration?
I get my inspiration from artists like Skrillex, but there’s so much music in the world it’s insane. My brother DJs and makes his own music which was also kind of a pushing point for me to want to do more, and I’ve found I really like DJing.

Cool. We hear you’ve already got an international DJing gig coming up?
My mom puts on live-music events and now that I’ve taken these courses in DJing and music production, I’ll be able to do some more of those as well. And I even have a wedding gig in Costa Rica later this summer!

One of the coolest things about taking the DJing class is that I’ve expanded my music horizons so much because the other students bring so much super-cool music to the table. We made two songs in class, but I have other mixes online on Soundcloud and Mixcloud.

From Ezra Hollis…to DJ Zera!

Ezra Goes by “DJ Zera” when he’s making music. Check out his Soundcloud, Mixcloud, and Instagram to hear the sweet beats he came up with at camp this summer.

DMA offers a full slate of music production courses, with classes for kids (ages 8 to 12) and teens (12-17). Start mixing your future…next summer at DMA.