Just A Chat: Holy Holy

By Andrew Brassington
Special thanks to Tim Carroll

Australian indie band Holy Holy have just released their sophomore LP ‘Paint’, a luscious record full of vast sonic landscapes.

Front man Tim Carroll explains how the songwriting process differed from their first album:

‘We’ve done a lot of live shows since we recorded the first record and developed a bit as a band. The way we wrote these songs was more written together. Vocally I was keen to push myself a bit more and hit the take a bit harder. When you’re listening to really great songs often when you focus for a moment on what they are, one really strong theme in those songs is simplicity, just a few key motifs that work together really beautifully so we’ve been playing around with that.’

‘I think the Holy Holy sound now is pretty synthy.’

There’s a huge variety of influences apparent across the record that stem from different styles of music. ‘I felt like That Message had a bit of an RNB feel to it. We were listening to bands like Field Mouse, Grizzly Bear and The National, and there was a Metronomy song called The Look. We don’t want to sound like them but we like the way that their production is interesting. They often take their songs in different directions and we try to do that too.’

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‘Each of the players like finding parts and building tension, using all the different techniques and tricks in songwriting that enable you to create a certain mood.’

In terms of Tim’s approach to lyrics, inspiration draws from everywhere. ‘Sometimes it can be vignettes from my life and vignettes from my youth, just moments and stories. Sometimes there are scenes and characters and sometimes it’s just things that I overhear, I’ll write them down and save them for when I’m writing songs I’ll go over those and see how I can work them into different songs.’

One of the best songs on the album, ‘True Lovers’, was recorded under rather interesting conditions. ‘I remember clearly doing the True Lovers vocal take. It was the last day we had of the studio, coming up against the time and I had a flight booked back to Tasmania so I knew we had to get it. Matt the producer had actually gotten sick so it was just Oscar and I in the studio and Ryan our drummer, so we were kind of recording ourselves and I knew that song had a certain energy to it. It’s really poppy and upbeat so I wanted to make sure I got the take right, so about an hour before I had to do that take I went on a big jog in Melbourne through all this parkland and I was wearing a pink polo shirt with really short shorts and sneakers, and I just got back to the studio and jogged in, all sweaty and exhilarated and then I just bounced out that vocal and it felt good, like it had the right energy.’

Late highlight ‘Amateurs’ was also recorded in very unusual circumstances. ‘That one was interesting because we recorded it early on and then left it for ages, it wasn’t quite finished. It used to have different lyrics too. I changed the lyrics right at the last minute. At the very last minute I came across the idea of ‘love is for amateurs’ so the name of the song and everything was recorded right at the very end of the session.’

Tim’s favourite songs on the album are ‘That Message’ and ‘Send My Regards.’ He says of ‘That message’ ‘It feels like a whole world unto itself’.

The Painting to Paint initiative came to mind after the album was finished. It involves four modern artist’s interpretation a song from the album into a full-size artwork. ‘We wanted to do something that crosses the world between sonic artists and visual artists.’ On Thursday night in Sydney they played a show in an art gallery with all the works on display. ‘The artists really got inside of those songs, I’m really glad to have been a part of that project.’

‘Paint’ is out now. There is a national tour in the works very shortly.

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