Holtzman formed Dengue Fever in 2001 with his brother, Ethan Holtzman. In the 1990s Ethan became interested in Cambodian pop and rock through the compilation album Cambodian Rocks and eventually visited the country, returning with several cassette tapes he purchased there. Some time later, Ethan heard Zac listening to the same music and had an idea for a band based on the psychedelic, surf, garage rock and pop of pre-Khmer Rouge Cambodia.
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