Interview with Niles Hollowell-Dhar of The Cataracs

The Cataracs

The Great Plaza at Penn’s Landing will play host to the 618 Fest (presented by Pixie and Buck) this Saturday. The event, which kicks off at noon and goes until well after sundown, is being billed as”Philly’s Electronically Flavored Music & Arts Festival”. The event will feature hip-hop during the day and electronic artists at night. With acts like Shwayze, Switch of Major Lazer, Porter Robinson, Jokers of the Scene, T3RROR, Autoerotique, and more, it is sure to be a great event. 618 Fest will be headlined by Universal Recording artists “The Cataracs” and before they roll into the City of Brotherly Love to rock the river this weekend, Niles Hollowell-Dhar (one half of the group along with David Benjamin Singer-Vine) took some time to chat with Independent Philly about life, music, and spandex.

Independent Philly: How did you guys come up with the name “The Cataracs”?

Niles Hollowell-Dhar: It was hard after we found out Ramstein was taken. But eventually we settled on the Cataracs because it had the word cat in it, which apparently is great for stacking YouTube views

IP: How would you describe your music to someone who has never heard it?

NHD: Most people have heard our music and just don’t know it bc we do so much work behind the scenes. But, in a word, I would say eargasm. High in protein and somewhat salty.

IP: What makes The Cataracs stand out from other up and coming artists?

NHD: It can be tough to stand out. Our decision to dress solely in orange spandex helped a lot.

IP: What’s it like to be on tour with Usher?

NHD: It was a great learning experience. Usher is the most relentless and impressive performer I have ever met. He also takes a tremendous amount of interest in the music coming out of our generation, which I think is why he has had such a sustained and successful career.

The Cataracs "Club Love"

IP: You guys work with “Dev” a lot. How did you meet her and how do you impact each other’s music?

NHD: We do. Dev had a few songs up on MySpace under the name of a group called the “Blast Off Kids” which she was a part of at the time. The songs were very rough but I took notice of her voice and felt there was something special about it. I think the the success of G6, Bass Down Low, etc have confirmed that.

It’s hard to say exactly what impression we’ve had on Dev’s music. There were only a couple Dev songs in existence before I reached out to her. But I will say she has been essential to this “sound” that people say we’ve created. Her voice is just magical.

IP: What’s your favorite venue to perform in to date?

NHD: My favorite shows are the early ones back in Berkeley. Venues — community centers, really — like La Pena and Ashkenaz. By far the least choreographed and most technically dysfunctional shows of our career but they were fun as shit.

IP: Have sites like Facebook and Twitter allowed you to connect with fans? What’s the craziest FB message or Tweet you’ve ever received?

NHD: Yea, which is great. Occasionally a filter would be nice. I can’t really sign on to Facebook chat anymore. But it’s cool that fans who listen to our music can see we’re normal people. Sometimes my mom will chastise me publicly on FB if she sees a picture of me smoking cigs.

IP: Which one of you (You or David) wins the following battles…

 Cook-off…

NHD: That’s tough. But if ever there were a cook-off, we would definitely have Lil B the master chef presiding.

Dance-off…

NHD: Dave has been shuffling a lot lately. Probably David.

Boxing match…

NHD: I might take that one. Don’t think David has ever been in a fight before.

IP: You’ve collaborated with a lot of groups, from “Far East Movement” to “New Boyz”. If you could work with any living artist, who would it be?

NHD: Either Brandon Flowers from “The Killers”, or Cam’ron from “Dipset”. They are both really evocative.

IP: What’s more fun, producing music or shooting a music video?

NHD: Producing music. Shooting music videos is a lllongggg process, usually filled with half naked girls… Ewww

IP: How has your music changed or evolved over the last few years? Is your recent music different from older songs like “Julia”?

NHD: I think we just have short attention spans. We listen to so much different music in our spare time, music that excites us and and inspires us to take new direction. There was a sort of sonically congruent handful of songs that we made over the last 12 months or so that really catapulted us and we recognize that. But where the future will take our music, I can’t say. I think it’s important to keep it interesting for our fans, who will be growing and outgrowing themselves.

IP: What can fans expect from the Cataracs in the future?

The Cataracs

NHD: Our debut album!! And a new signature line of scented orange spandex.

IP: What can Philly expect from your upcoming show on June 18th?

NHD: A real sexy, dancey mix of DJing and original tunes from yours truly.

IP: Tell us your most embarrassing moment on tour…

NHD: When we were on stage in Portland, OR I said something along the lines of… “So, do you guys fist pump in Canada?”

IP: Tell us something that would surprise or even shock our readers…

NHD: There is no scented orange spandex **runs away in tears**

Independent Philly will have staff at 618 Fest to bring you photos and a recap of the event and we hope to see you there Philadelphia (and you out-of-towners as well)!

Hip-Hop Afternoon
1:00-1:45 Gilbere Forte
2:00-2:45 Ground Up
3:00-3:45 Tayyib Ali
4:00-4:55 Shwayze

Electronic Night Show
5:00-5:40 Jokers of the Scene
5:45-6:25 AutoErotique
6:30-7:10 T3RROR
7:15-7:55 Porter Robinson
8:00-8:55 Switch of Major Lazer
9:00-10:00 The Cataracs

[Interview by Jacob Miller & Ed Wons]

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