Born a child of hip hop, Hollis P. Monroe explored every facet of the then developing culture. Starting out as a casual observer, he quickly became a contributor through break-dancing, djing, rhyming and tagging. Always searching for other artistic outlets, he found what would eventually lead to his true calling – production. During his high school years, Hollis was formally introduced to Prince via a friend’s copy of Sign O’ The Times and it changed his musical perspective forever. He became inspired to play his own self-taught chords and melodies along with the samples he used in his hip hop productions. From that point on, Hollis consumed a strict diet of hip hop and Prince and expelled a weird hybrid music which became the foundation for everything he does musically today.
In college, Hollis was reintroduced to electronic music (which he vaguely remembered from his break-dancing days) and began experimenting with a formula to combine the mechanics of electronica with the organics of his style. Aided by his friend, musical counterpart, and business partner, Kyle Odum, they started a demo production company called Renaissance Infinity which eventually evolved into a small record label. On this label, they would release their own tracks to gain exposure and make an attempt at music as a career. Renaissance Infinity’s release of The Stupid Def EP marked a turning point where lifelong dreams of success seemed to be within reach. Recorded under his early turntablist tag, DJ Decent, it was Hollis’s tribute to his b-boy beginnings. This very diverse collection of breakbeat-laced tracks received very favorable reviews from magazines such as XLR8R, Urb, and DJ. It also received high acclaim from individuals including Keoki, Scott Hardkiss and Propellerhead’s Alex Gifford who listed Reflex Speed in his top nine all-time favorite records on the internet magazine Ultra. This particular track from the EP, is frequently noted as a standout on DJ Icey’s mix CD The Funky Breaks to which it was licensed.
Avoiding the typical pigeon hole effect, R.I. followed Stupid Def with a deep house-influenced track called I’m Lonely. Completed in approximately three hours, this was the unexpected result of Hollis’s mood during a solo recording session at home. Only available as a promo with no credit given or taken, it was destined to become an underground classic. Judged only on the merits of Hollis’s chords, melody, bassline and use of a vocal sample by Terrence Trent D’arby, it was quickly added to the charts and playlists of many notables such as DJ Sneak, Moodyman, and Pete Tong to name a few. Eventually, it’s under-produced yet mysteriously complete sound reached the ears of The Stickmen, who licensed it and immediately used their formidable resources to take things to the next level…. The end result: licensing to an unheard of 7 labels around the world, almost 20 remixes, over 60 appearances on CD compilations, a very interesting official music video, and recognition as an instant classic.
These days, Hollis has begun a new chapter in his career as a music supervisor and composer for film, television, and advertising. As well, he continues to make sporadic yet significant musical contributions with releases and remixes on highly respected and renowned labels including Ovum (US), West End (US), Soul Candi (South Africa), Jive Electro (US), Worship (US), De'fchild (US), and Bargrooves/Defected (UK).