The HARD Father talks ShipFam, the Competition, and Why It's All About the Music on HolyShip! January

January 16, 2015 -

Ashlyn Fulton

Rewind to January 3rd, where almost 4,000 people set sail on a 200,000 ton, $550 million cruise ship, all with one thing in common: their love for this once underground set of sounds. By it's fourth time around, Holy Ship! had developed into so much more than just a voyage around the Bermuda triangle accompanied by some dope tunes. For this particular sailing, freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior shipfam gathered for a once-in-a-lifetime family vacation. Amongst the surrounding madness, I got to sit down with the man who started it all, the HARD Father.


Shipfam is a community, a family, that has grown so much over the last year, even for people like me who have never been on Ship before. This is my first time and I felt like Shipfam before I even stepped on board. How do you feel about being the foundation for that?

It's really cool ya know. I mean, to me the plan for Holy Ship was always just good music on a boat and to party. The fact that all these people made relationships and friendships around the globe is the best part of the whole thing. It was never planned but to see it happen and grow is... for me, that's why we added the second ship. Because just having one, we couldn't spread it. I want to still keep them special, but I want it to grow and keep shipfam growing. It's a really organic thing and I'm really happy. That's like a byproduct and it's really better than anything else.

How do you feel about all these other festival cruises popping up like Mad Decent Boat Party, EDSea is in talks.

It's cool. I always say 'often imitated but never duplicated.' I think that it's cool and when you do something good & people like it, there's going to be completion. Wes is awesome and Pascal is cool. Ya know, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. It's just pushing me to be more unique and come up with new ideas and just keep it fresh. I try not to pay attention to what other people do and just try and blaze my own path.

Ya, and you've proven that by the two different line ups and different vibes of both ships.

Ya, it makes it a little more difficult, having that competition, because it throws a curve ball but I know that we have a good team and we can always work our way through.

A challenge is always good.

Ya, keeps us on our toes.

Who is one artist that you haven't had on any of the voyages that you would bring next year?

I'm always trying to get Erol Alkan to come. I love Erol. I think he's one of those guys who could play an 8 hour set. He's always wanted to come so I'm working on that. Who else do I try to get every time? There are some people, like Tiga... Ya know, there are certain people who are my dogs but just can't do it. It's funny though, Armand Van Helden, last year, I really wanted him to come but he said, 'I'll come but I want to come, play, and then fly me out.' So he flew off the island and I remember we did a helicopter swap. Pharrell was coming in and he was leaving. And as he went he was looking at me going, 'Why am I leaving?' Ya know, and he goes, 'I promise if you ever have me back, I'm staying the whole time.' And I was like, 'Dude, please. You're welcome anytime, anywhere, forever.' So, he came back this year and he's having a great time. Ya, I think sometimes people, in their head, think that when they're stuck on a boat with all these people, with all these lunatics, it sounds miserable to them. I don't know why.

Yeah, I don't either. I mean, it's music festival on a cruise. It's two very awesome things combined.

I think those people don't realize what kind of boat it is. They think it's some rinky dink shit hole that's rocking back and forth and they're going to get sea sick. I look at this boat and I cant believe they allowed me rent it for 4 days. I mean, whenever you throw an event, the key thing is location. Most important is always the location. If you don't have that, you have nothing. And the fact that we get to use the Divina is like, whoa. I could have never dreamed of anything like this. To do an event, and program things, and the food and everything. It's perfectly designed for what we do.

Well you're doing a great thing. Obviously people are impressed. I gotta say, many of us thought you were going to fly Skrillex in, since he was in Puerto Rico yesterday.

Yeah, he's going to be on Feb. Sometimes it's tough with these special guests. Sometimes they show up and sometimes they don't. I feel like we're always under pressure. Like, even if I don't have anything planned everyone is all, 'Who's the guest? Who's the guest?' Ya, know, so that was cool that Guy from Disclosure wanted to come. He's killin' it right now. And Feb will have some cool stuff. I mean, fuck, there are already 60 incredible artists here.

I prefer Feb's line up a little more because I'm into bass music but I'm definitely walking away from this with a bigger appreciation for music that I wouldn't normally listen to.

This one has been the best one, musically. I feel like when its the same guys it ends up being the same hip-hop songs. I think everyone has had their space a little bit more and have been able to do their own thing. Everyone has got to shine instead of it being a takeover. Sonny takeover on every set. I love Sonny but..

That's exactly how it was on Mad Decent Boat Party. As soon as he got on, everyone wanted to see him, everyone was looking for him, and everyone was flocking to where he was, which was basically everywhere.

And I love him but I want to see Doorly play, and I want to see Vanilla Ace play, and I want to let Busy P play Black Sabbath, and Branchez play fuckin' Bob Marley. I feel like there have been very diverse styles and the crowd has been not as ratchet and crazy. More music-appreciative. And just really more... I don't want to say under control but not like throwing furniture off of the fuckin' balcony and shit. We don't need that kind of shit. But it goes like this: I always stick to my guns with the music and when everyone else does their own thing, the music wins out. Always.

Check out our first interview with him at EDC NY
and then again about his West Coast EP.

Photo by Rony's Photobooth

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