Australian band Holy Holy consists of singer songwriter Timothy Carroll and guitarist/composer Oscar Dawson.
These two have made an impression over the last year, with their singles ‘Impossible Like You’ and ‘House Of Cards’ both receiving high rotation on Australia’s Triple J – and critical acclaim.
We recently reviewed the new single History : http://rawramp.me/2014/09/04/the-history-of-holy-holy/
And later we got a chance to chat to Holy Holyman Oscar Dawson about creating that highly praised sound – and taking it out on the road:
TELL US ABOUT WRITING YOUR LYRICS – HOW DO IDEAS COME TO YOU? DO LYRICS COME FIRST OR IS THERE AN ORGANIC GROWTH BETWEEN MUSIC AND WORDS?
I’ll admit I’m not the lyricist from the band – that’s Tim Carroll.
It’s generally a little from both columns. I believe that Tim always has ideas floating through his head.
He uses a lot of phrases from everyday life and expands them out.
And then we’ll have a musical idea, and it will slowly co-mingle.
Occasionally I’ll have a musical idea and he’ll put something over the top of it.
In general, however, music and words are like putty and you are squeezing and massaging them around one another.
Sometimes it doesn’t work. The public only hear the times where we feel that it has gone well!
YOUR SOUNDS HAVE BEEN DESCRIBED BY FANS AS “DREAMY” – IS THAT HOW YOU WOULD DESCRIBE YOUR MUSIC YOURSELF?
To be honest [we] never thought of the sound as ‘dreamy’ per se – although I do enjoy a lot of that sort of thing – Sigur Ros, the post-rock genre, and so on.
I play a lot with ambiences and Tim’s voice sounds great with reverb, so we certainly try to capture some of that.
Matt Redlich, our producer, is also really great with ambiences and we do spend a lot of time working on pads, delays, reverbs.
The Prophet synthesiser also helps. But having said that, we also want the band to sound strong and ‘weighty’ – drummer Ry Strath helps in that department, with his John Bonham influences. For example, I don’t think our new single, ‘History’ is dreamy exactly… in short, we try to achieve a blend.
WHAT WERE THE HIGHLIGHTS OF YOUR PACIFIC EP TOUR?
Well, we were really pleased to sell the tour out.
Brisbane is always fun at our old haunt Black Bear Lodge – but playing some smaller venues like Brighton Up Bar in Sydney and Shebeen in Melbourne was great, as you gather a real vibe and communicate with the audience on a smaller stage.
As far as learning about the songs – you really learn what works and what doesn’t.
Some older songs we have completely rearranged and rewritten, as the sound of the band has developed, and we’ve watched how audiences react differently to them now. It’s a great testing ground.
WHAT HAS CHANGED FOR YOU – SINCE THE ‘THE PACIFIC EP’ RELEASE?
Haha – nothing major.
Releasing music is immensely relieving, no matter how well it goes. So a weight is off the shoulders!
However, that weight is fairly immediately replaced by a whole new one, as you look ahead to subsequent releases.
It’s an endless cycle. So really that’s it – just looking ahead to new songs, and enjoying playing to more and bigger audiences as things grow.
WE THOUGHT THAT ‘HOUSE OF CARDS’ REMINDED US OF TOM PETTY/FLEETWOOD MAC – HOW MUCH DO THOSE THOSE ARTISTS STILL IMPRESS YOU?
Both artists are endlessly impressive.
It comes in waves – sometimes you think, oh god, I can’t listen to Rumours, or any of those Tom Petty classics, anymore, this is getting silly.
And you explore all sorts of new music. And then you hear them again, and you say – why did I ever not listen to this music? And you’re back again. And then you hear The War on Drugs, and you’re like – sweet! A fresh new release from a truly great band with all the influences I could ever have dreamed of!
But in all seriousness – it is easy to underestimate the import of those artists, and also how incredibly difficult it is to do what they do.
Tom Petty in particular writes outrageously simple songs, and that is really hard. You have to sort-of stop yourself and stop thinking so hard to write like that. That goes against a few instincts.
HOW MUCH HAS THE AUSTRALIAN GEOGRAPHY and LANDSCAPE INFLUENCED AND SHAPED YOUR SOUND?
I must admit I didn’t really think it had.
But I suppose wherever you are, and wherever you grow up, affects you in ways you won’t even notice. Even simply the heat of summer in Brisbane can affect the way you think and write.
We wrote ‘Impossible Like You’ on a balmy summer evening in a dilapidated old Queenslander. I was in my underpants, sweating (nothing weird), and this cool breeze started blowing through the cracks in the walls. As though the song was whipped up from outside. Perhaps that wouldn’t have happened during a cold Melbourne winter.
WHAT’S HAPPENING – FOR HOLY HOLY – OVER THE REST OF THIS YEAR?
we are on our own tour in support of the single ‘History’.
That promises to be pretty enjoyable – playing all the cap cities here in Oz, and heading over to Western Australia also to play our first headline shows in Perth. If you’ve been over to Australia before, you might realise how far away that actually is. Roughly the equivalent of Dublin to Moscow.
Australia is an interesting place to tour, given how far away everything is from everything else. We also recently signed with The Agency Group who will be booking shows for us in the UK and Europe. So with luck we’ll be making our first trip over there in 2015.
We’ll keep you posted.
Thank you, Holy Holy…
HOLY HOLY were taling to @neilmach © 2014
Grab the single here: https://itunes.apple.com/au/album/history-single/id906594604