- George Holliday has spent the last two years traveling all over Europe in a converted bus.
- He founded “Made on the Road,” a mobile recording studio, and works as a traveling producer to help pop artists record songs from his bus.
- Collaborators usually stay with him on the bus for a few days while they record
- He also recorded his own 16-track album from the road. The latest single was released this month.
The road was George Holliday’s home even before he committed to van life.
The British musician spent eight years touring before he decided to focus on songwriting and producing. However, he didn’t want to give up on travel, and since he says that as a piano player he can’t just strap a piano on his back like, say, a guitarist, he had to get creative.
Holliday told Insider he’d been following #vanlife on Instagram for a while and was “in absolute awe” of the
Musician George Holliday spent months converting an old library bus
Holliday’s original idea was to get a small van for short trips, but he ended up with a 33-foot bus he’s been living in full-time for two years. His mother was actually the one to find the former library bus, which had its original bookshelves and library tickets in the walls.
“It has symbol status in a certain age group,” Holliday told Insider. “I think in the UK, everyone remembers the library bus turning up.”
Holliday spent nine months converting the 270-square-foot space into a home and studio, mostly learning what to do on YouTube. He says the bus’ interior was “quite hideous” when he first got it, describing a bright-orange color scheme and gray tile carpet, but he managed to turn it into an airy and minimalist space with plants and skylights.
He’s got a bedroom in the back with a queen-size bed, a bathroom with a toilet and shower, a living area with a pull-out couch that doubles as a bed, three swivel seats, and his keyboard, and a kitchen with a four-burner stove, full-size oven, and small fridge, as well as a TV and Wi-Fi.
Holliday says five people can sleep on the bus “depending on how friendly they are with each other,” and that six people can comfortably work in the living area.Advertisement
While Holliday says he loves how spacious the bus is, he admits that its size can be limiting in terms of where he can drive and park. He said he had to get a special driver’s license to legally drive it.
Since hitting the road in his new home on wheels, he’s traveled and recorded music all over Europe
Holliday has traveled to Croatia, Austria, Germany, France, Spain, Belgium, Luxembourg, and Slovenia, as well as all over the UK, in the bus.Advertisement
But he doesn’t just travel for fun. Nicknamed “Mark Ronson on wheels,” Holliday created “Made on the Road,” a service for which he works as a traveling music producer that helps pop artists create songs.
He’s both traveled to artists and has had them travel to him, though they usually end up spending a few days staying and working on the bus with him.
“It kind of doubles as a great Airbnb experience for them,” he said. “It’s a really good way to break down walls. By the evening, it’s like we’ve known each other for a long time.”Advertisement
Holliday says the change of scenery can help inspire new music
He said that when he first started converting the bus, he had “no vision of how it could actually be a business.”
However, since he was already songwriting and producing while traveling, it became a natural next step.Advertisement
“It just made so much sense for me to take people on this experience, take them wherever they want to go, to change our location to give them inspiration to write new music,” he said.
He’s since worked with individual artists as well as record labels, and has produced music for film, TV, radio, and ads.
“We record music on site. So wherever we are, whatever we learn, whatever we’re inspired by, we can get recording whilst that feeling is there, which is basically our most unique thing,” he said.Advertisement
Collaborators usually find Holliday through social media or his music, though he doesn’t work with just anyone.
Holliday says he asks a bunch of questions before taking on a new client because he feels that a personal connection is important. He also likes taking them on long walks or to explore a new place since he believes that experiencing something together helps them get in sync and inspiredAdvertisement
Outdoor noise can be an issue on the bus, especially when parked in a city, but he says that it often adds to the music, citing a song that had seagulls and waves crashing in the background. In fact, he always has a microphone on him to “capture sounds that go into the music.”
For Holliday, the hardest part is finding locations that are suitable for the job ahead.
“You almost become a location scout at the same time as a producer, which I wasn’t really expecting,” he said. Advertisement
Holliday hasn’t just produced other musicians’ work; he’s also made his own album on the road
After spending a year on the road producing other people’s music, Holliday decided he wanted to write his own album, and invited his 4,000+ social-media followers to help him write it.
Six months, 60 locations, and 100 collaborations later, he has a 16-track album. The latest song was released just this month.Advertisement
Currently, as the pandemic continues, Holliday is staying in a “super cheap meadow” around 40 minutes from London that feels like a safe spot to have people visit. He says he’s actually gotten more interest in his work recently as people have more time to focus on their music, and says he’s enjoyed exploring his own backyard amid travel bans.
“There’s so much beauty on your doorstep,” he said.
His biggest inspiration, however, is meeting and working with new people. He says that one of his songs was recorded in five countries with five different musicians.Advertisement
“That was a true collaboration across borders,” he said. “I’d like to encourage people to make those connections and collaborate and learn from each other.”