An Immersive Audio-Visual Activation by Sound/Multimedia Artists The Holladay Brothers

Stemming from the concept of emergent phenomena and blurring the boundaries of imagination, ColorSong is a visual, immersive experience where music becomes the performer rather than a performance. A popular example illustrating emergent phenomena is that of fireflies which can spontaneously synchronize without a “head” firefly providing directives.

Featuring an array of varying sized lamps, original musical compositions, and the DJ duo, ColorSong was conceived as a way to re-envision the ambience of a space and is uniquely adaptable to compliment any environment, indoors or outdoors. Designed to activate and invigorate unconventional spaces, the installation of forty to one hundred retrofitted, networked lamps are masterfully controlled through pre-programmed loops and patterns performed in real-time. The lampshades also act as screens for projection mapping to display image sequences that captivate with color and surprise. A viscerally hypnotic experience, ColorSong is a magical duet between light and sound.

The Holladay Brothers have presented ColorSong at TED@IBM, SxSW, and in their recent collaboration with Bose.

It’s exciting to change people’s ideas about how music can be experienced and interacted with, and give people the opportunity to see the places they know in a new way.
— Hays and Ryan Holladay


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 Holladay Brothers have garnered critical acclaim as sound pioneers and multi-dimensional storytellers.

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 the US State Department in the process. As a Senior TED Fellow, Ryan spoke about the project at the annual TED Conference in a talk that has been viewed more than a million times.

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 new commissions for Dolby’s headquarters, the Hirshhorn Museum of Art and Disney’s Magic Kingdom, among others. 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.

To learn more about The Holladay Brothers, click here.