Interview: Oscar Dawson (Holy Holy)

Australian indie musicians Holy Holy are halfway through a huge year, with a UK/European tour already under their belt and another one planned, a national tour, album release and a brand new film clip we were fortunate enough to have them take some time out to tell us a little about themselves.

Can you tell us how you met and formed Holy Holy?

Tim and I initially met whilst teaching English as volunteers in Thailand, of all places, in a ‘GAP’ year after finishing school. We played a bit of music over there, but really were just exploring the world and keeping our heads above water. Over the years since then, we remained in touch whilst working on other projects and jobs. Eventually, Tim was living in Stockholm whilst I was spending time in Berlin; I travelled to Stockholm on other business, and somehow got in touch with Tim via the interwebs. Asked if I could sleep on his couch, and that weekend worked on a simple demo for a tune that eventually, years later, found its way on to ‘When The Storms Would Come’. Stayed in touch, kept working on music, and then when we arrived back in Australia, Tim started organising sessions with Matt Redlich, our producer. Slowly, it built from there, and when we released ‘Impossible Like You’ in 2013, we figured that we had something; the band started coalescing and, seemingly accidentally, we were touring around Australia and releasing more music.

When did you know you wanted to pursue a music career?

When I heard Bohemian Rhapsody for the first time, aged about 9 years old. That sealed the deal.

How would you describe your sound?

Crazy Horse elements, with a dash of The National, a little bit of Midlake, some My Morning Jacket, and a sprinkling of Tom Petty. Roughly.

Can you tell us a little about your upcoming debut album When The Storms Would Come?

How many words do I have? We recorded it over a several-year period in Brisbane, at ‘Grandma’s Place’, the studio run by our producer, Matt Redlich. After writing and demoing a bunch of tunes in various parts of the world – Stockholm, Berlin, Melbourne, Brisbane – Tim and I went into the studio and starting putting songs down on to 2-inch tape with some other musicians. That project coalesced to form Holy Holy, and since then, the band has expanded to feature Ryan Strathie on drums, Graham Ritchie on the bass, and Matt, our producer, on keyboards and backing vocals. The album developed from something rawer, softer, and more live, to something louder, stronger and more powerful as we went from recording live in the analog world, to multi-tracking within the digital realm. I hope we keep all those elements, in parts, and make the best of both of those worlds.

Where did the concept for the video for new single ‘Sentimental And Monday’ come from?

My brother, Josh Dawson, is a filmmaker. He captured a whole bunch of footage during long-haul plane flights that he’s had over the past few years. Initially, he put this clip together and the intention was that it would be set to a different song. Then, we decided to release this song as a single, and we got in touch with him. He is constantly developing ideas using VFX, and had added some of his own designs into the footage. The song is about leaving a place behind, and we kind of extrapolated that idea in the clip. The clip is about taking a third-person view of the planet, with the idea that we are leaving the place behind. It’s about looking down from the outside, to a land that time forgot, and that we had to leave. So it’s designed to fit the tone of nostalgia and the slower pace of the song.

What inspires your songwriting?

Sounds, music we hear, turns of phrase, figures of speech, guitar solos, and drum beats we pick up from around the place. Probably biggest of all, though, is life experience and the types of scenarios and situations you go through and spend time in. We have more to write about now, and you never fail to pick up new perspectives on the way, through which we can speak and play.

You’ve recently returned from a UK/EU tour, what was the highlight?

Primavera Sound, in Barcelona… Playing as the sun went down over the Mediterranean was pretty cool. Catching The Strokes, Interpol, Perfume Genius and Ariel Pink was also pretty damn cool too.

There’s a 17 date national tour kicking off next month, what can audiences expect in a live set?

In our show we try to play honestly and naturally. We also try to explore all the dynamics of our album, from the softer and more contemplative songs right through to the louder and more driving tunes. Also, guitar solos. I try to play as many as the guys will let me.

What’s your career highlight to date?

Playing the main concert hall at the Sydney Opera House last year, with Boy & Bear, was pretty sweet. That place pretty much has it’s own atmosphere, it’s so cavernous. I was surprised there weren’t clouds forming on the ceiling. What a beautiful room to play music in.

What is next for Holy Holy?

Splendour In The Grass this weekend, album out on Friday (July 24), our national tour throughout August and September, then another run in the UK/EU in October/November. Lots on the plate.

holy holy

AUSTRALIAN NATIONAL ‘WHEN THE STORMS WOULD COME’ TOUR DATES

Thursday 13 August
DARWIN FESTIVAL, DARWIN NT (ALL AGES)
Tickets available from www.darwinfestival.org.au

Friday 14 August
PRINCE OF WALES, BUNBURY WA
Tickets available from www.oztix.com.au | 1300 762 545 | All Oztix Outlets

Saturday 15 August
AMPLIFIER, PERTH WA
Tickets available from www.oztix.com.au | 1300 762 545 | All Oztix Outlets

Sunday 16 August
NEWPORT HOTEL, FREMANTLE WA
Tickets available from www.oztix.com.au | 1300 762 545 | All Oztix Outlets

Friday 21 August
ELSEWHERE, GOLD COAST QLD
Tickets available from www.oztix.com.au | 1300 762 545 | All Oztix Outlets

Saturday 22 August
THE ZOO, BRISBANE QLD
Tickets available from www.oztix.com.au | 1300 762 545 | All Oztix Outlets

Thursday 27 August
FRESH ON CHARLES, LAUNCESTON TAS
Tickets available from www.oztix.com.au | 1300 762 545 | All Oztix Outlets

Friday 28 August
THE REPUBLIC BAR, HOBART TAS
Tickets available from www.moshtix.com.au | 1300 GET TIX | All Moshtix Outlets

Saturday 29 August
JIVE, ADELAIDE SA
Tickets available from www.moshtix.com.au | 1300 GET TIX | All Moshtix Outlets

Thursday 03 September
WORKERS CLUB, GEELONG VIC
Tickets available from www.oztix.com.au | 1300 762 545 | All Oztix Outlets

Friday 04 September
KAROVA LOUNGE, BALLARAT VIC
Tickets available from www.oztix.com.au | 1300 762 545 | All Oztix Outlets

Saturday 05 September
HOWLER, MELBOURNE VIC
Tickets available from www.moshtix.com.au | 1300 GET TIX | All Moshtix Outlets

Friday 11 September
ANITA’S THEATRE, THIRROUL NSW
Tickets available from www.ticketmaster.com.au | 136 100 | All Ticketmaster Outlets

Saturday 12 September
LIZOTTES, NEWCASTLE NSW
Tickets available from www.lizottes.com.au | 02 4956 2066

Friday 18 September
TRANSIT BAR, CANBERRA ACT
Tickets available from www.moshtix.com.au | 1300 GET TIX | All Moshtix Outlets

Saturday 19 Sepotember
OXFORD ART FACTORY, SYDNEY NSW
Tickets available from www.moshtix.com.au | 1300 GET TIX | All Moshtix Outlets

For more information about Holy Holy you can find them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and their Website.

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