ChicagoMade Spotlight: Adrian Holovaty – Creator of Soundslice

As SXSW 2015 gets closer, we checked in with web developer and musician, Adrian Holovaty who co-created the Django web framework and made one of the original Google Maps mashups, Adrian also founded EveryBlock, a “news feed for your block” that was eventually acquired by


His current project is Soundslice, a reinvention of sheet music and guitar tablature that’s one of the most advanced HTML5 sites on the web. Adrian gave us his take on what it means to be ChicagoMade.




How did you get your start in music and web development in Chicago?


I was born and raised here. Went away for college and a few jobs, and I came back in 2004.


Where did the idea for Soundslice come from?


It’s always been a hassle for me to learn pieces of music. I’d have iTunes open in one window, a YouTube video open in another window, a PDF printed out with notation — it was a horrible, kludgy system. Soundslice is intended to put everything together seamlessly.


Why do you choose to continue to do business in Chicago over other major cities?


Because I love living here. There’s beautiful architecture, great people, fantastic food, great public transportation negating the need to use a car, a top-notch music scene…all with a reasonable cost of living.


I also like that my friends are in a wide variety of industries. If I lived in San Francisco, I’d only be hanging out with Internet people.


Describe the current climate of creativity in your industry in Chicago.


There’s a nice, friendly community of independent web developers here. The coolest thing happening now is the Cards Against Humanity space, where a whole bunch of interesting people work. There’s also an amazing event and community called ORD Camp that’s a collection of interesting Chicago people.


What does your business do to stay competitive, not only in the local Chicago market, but the global market as well?


We make a great product.


What is your favorite Chicago band?


Joel Paterson and the Modern Sounds. It’s tasty guitar and a super-tight band.


What is your favorite movie that was filmed in Chicago?


The Blues Brothers. I’m never not in the mood to watch it!


Follow Soundslice @Soundslice


Follow Adrian Holovaty @AdrianHolovaty

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