Pretty much from the moment Wayne Holtz burst onto the San Antonio music scene in the mid 2010s, he seemed destined for a bigger stage.
The consummate showman’s mesmerizing live performances include a full-on choreography, back up dancers, costume changes and hefty doses of attitude. He puts on a stadium-ready show regardless of how small the venue is.
Of course, none of that would matter if he couldn’t back it up with music — and it was hard to deny the power of his sensual lyrics and sleek electronic dance tracks.
Perhaps it shouldn’t have surprised anyone that he moved to LA last August in search of the next phase in his musical career.
But, as of last month, Holtz is back in the Alamo City, and as of July 15, he’s dropped the new EP Evility
, which is now available on all streaming services.
This time around, the singer known for his animated pop performances is letting his love of country music — yes, you read that correctly — ride shotgun. Thanks to production help from Honey Bunny’s Bobby Rivas, twangy guitar riffs and harmonica punctuate the six tracks, which retain a dance pop feel under the Nashville veneer.
With lyrics like “He ain’t out of luck if he don’t drive a pickup truck,” it’s clear Holtz has the goods to handle to back up his reinvention as a country pop star. And these songs just might be the perfect soundtrack to lift our spirits during quarantine.
With the world not looking like it’ll be going back to “normal” anytime soon, Holtz sat down with us to discuss why he moved back to SA, how he’s been keeping busy and what prompted his stylistic left-turn.
So, what brought you back to San Antonio?
LA was cool, and I got to do a lot of cool things, but COVID took over. And, honestly, after spending about three months alone in my head thinking about life in general and my placement in the world, I decided to come back here to save more money and stay productive. I feel like the next six months are going to be very interesting in the world with the election and COVID, and so I’d rather wait it out here where it’s a safer space for me.
What were your biggest inspirations for Evility?
Well, I really, really love the band West Bound Departure. They’re from here and played a mix of country and rock ’n’ roll, and I wanted to make something like that. Evility
is almost an homage to them. I also love country music. I feel like [the genre] has a very romantic way of writing. Even in the first song, “’Til I Make it In,” it’s not necessarily talking about [a relationship] but more talking about the love of the journey of life. I also kinda wanted it to be aggressive, but cute and hot and very gay.
What is the overarching theme of the EP?
is a combination of “evil” and “lit” and is kinda like a little city in my head where I talk about my dreams and who I want to fall in love with. I wanted the EP to be dirty and raw while still party, happy and lit.
Besides working on this EP, what have you been doing to keep yourself busy during quarantine?
I’ve been working from home and working out. I’ve also been spending most of my time and making most of my money exploring my other artistic adventure, which is drawing. So, I’ve been doing custom portraits from people, anything from them and their beloved deceased animals to them being in space in a hot air balloon.
So, you’re basically exercising all your artistic abilities to bring in income?
To bring in income, yes, but also to bring in a little sanity. I’m enjoying my alone time. It’s so unfortunate with everything that’s happening in the world, but you know, you can take advantage of being in solitude, mentally, and with your productivity.”
What would you say to people struggling with being in quarantine?
Rebel Mariposa from La Botanica told me, “Yeah, Wayne, everyone right now is pivoting. Everyone is creating side ventures and getting creative and figuring out how to help themselves and others. The old [world] is gone now … it’s a free-for-all jungle, so you better hop on a new vine, girl, it’s that time.” And really just know that you’re hopefully going to be healthy and alive, and if you are, then you’re going to have to find some way to adjust and get with it. So, take your time, don’t stress yourself out, but don’t wallow too long, because that will become your pattern. Many generations before us have gone through crazy shit.
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