It was an ordinary day at work for Kollin Houghtaling. He was too preoccupied with patrons to notice a missed call from California, until his break had finally arrived. Only one word could be made out in the voicemail, but that was all he needed to hear. He informed his supervisor that he needed to make a call and proceeded outside.
The phone began to ring…shortly after, a voice could be heard on the other end. It was Avi Gallant calling from The Untz to inform Kollin that he had been selected as the winner of the Staff Pick in The Untz Challenge VIII.
“I probably had four heart attacks in that ten-minute span,” he said.
Without pausing to ponder, the twenty-four-year-old electronic music producer from Grand Haven, Michigan had just accepted an opportunity that may alter his life forever.
When he started his project Flats Stanlie nearly four years ago, he never imagined he would be spending his summer playing festivals with nationally recognized electronic music artists.
The vision originates back to 2013 at a concert he caught in Chicago featuring Zeds Dead, RL Grime and Keys N Krates. He fell in love with the high energy environment. Kollin can even recall the moment he made the decision to pursue music production.
“I stopped dancing,” he recalls. He remembers looking on stage at the artists performing and thinking to himself, “I’ve been playing piano for ten years…I can do that.”
Later that night was his first introduction to FL Studio, the software he still uses today. When he returned from Chicago, he purchased the software immediately. He described his first direction in music as “shreddy dubstep” infused with funk, a nod to one of his biggest influences, GRiZ.
A passion for performing wasn’t discovered until later, when a DJ controller was gifted to him by two of his friends with a note attached that read, “Let’s get live!” a note he still has to this day.
His manager, Joshua Osborn, attributes a lot of Kollin’s success to The Intersection, a concert venue located in Grand Rapids.
“They’ve played a huge role in making this happen,” Osborn said, referring to the venue’s decision to donate their front room for the Flats Stanlie Benefit Show back in May. The show in combination with their GoFundMe has helped raise over $2000 towards expenses they expect to incur. Click here to access the donation page.
Kollin completed the first stop on his festival tour over Memorial Day weekend at Summer Camp Music Festival in Chillicothe, Illinois. When asked how it felt to play on a stage that size, one of his responses was “brain rattling.”
Congregated near the left side of the stage to support the hometown homie was a group of employees from The Intersection. Kollin described it as eye opening to see such support from a venue he’s visited since he was 16.
His performance packed a mixture of future bass and funk, while adding touches of trap to keep the crowd on their toes the whole time. Fans were also given a sample of songs off his EP Digital Astronauts set to be released later this month. The biggest moment was when electro-soul and bass music producer Statik joined Kollin on stage armed with a guitar in hand.
With the name Statik appearing on bills for some of our favorite artists like GRiZ and Pretty Lights, we’re shocked that we’ve never been exposed to him before Summer Camp Music Festival. Nonetheless, we were overly impressed with the duo’s ability to smoothly integrate the instrumentation into the performance. Without Kollin telling us that this was the first time he had ever had a musician sit in on one of his sets, we would never have known otherwise. Watch Static seamlessly shred over Flats Stanlie’s set on Saturday at Summer Camp Music Festival.
For Kollin, it’s not as much about the music as it is the relationships he has established through music. His life will continue to change, but the message he wants to spread remains consistent.
“Music is the vision, but the love is the dream,” he says.
When he pulled into a gas station on his way to Summer Camp Music Festival, he was reminded of this dream.
“That’s a wild Flats Stanlie,” said a man walking out of the convenience store.
As he drove off, Josh asked Kollin if he knew who that was, to which he happily replied, “no idea.”
To read our full interview with Flats Stanlie, click here.
Lift Spirits, Drop Bass.