A Chat With…Holy Holy

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Songwriter Timothy Carroll and composer/guitarist Oscar Dawson are the duo behind Holy Holy. In a matter of weeks the pair will release their much-anticipated debut album When The Storms Would Come. I had the pleasure of interviewing Timothy.

Oscar Dawson played on your debut solo album ‘For Bread and Circuses’. (it’s still one of my favourite albums today) The two of you later reconnected in Europe. At what point did the project evolve into a collaborative effort, and was no longer Timothy Carroll’s second album? Good Question. It was clear pretty quickly that when I was working with Oscar he was having a huge impact on the sound. In the studio we just started recording the songs and to some degree we didn’t worry about what it would be called. With the songs recorded it was clear that it would be inaccurate and wrong to call it Timothy Carroll. It was something else, and I was so happy to not have my name on it to be honest. I like being in band. The other factor is that when we play live Oscar is such a big part of the experience. The name Holy Holy suits us I think.

Many years ago, you sent out an email to your mailing list about The Swedish Tapes, and with it came an early demo of ‘If I Were You’. Compared to your previous releases at that point, it seemed to mark a shift in the musical direction with it’s driving percussion and textured soundscapes. Has working with Oscar and producer Matt Redlich influenced your approach to songwriting and the overall sound of your music? Undoubtably. Oscar and Matt have helped me grow as a writer and performer for sure. I’ve also grown older and my tastes and desires have changed. I’ve become less self conscious and I’ve grown to really enjoy the power and energy from an electric band of good players going flat out.

The two of you are joined onstage by Ryan Strathie (Hungry Kids Of Hungary) Graham Ritchie (Airling), and producer Matt Redlich. How did you go about getting a band together for your live performances? Ryan was the first to join. Matt was our producer and he just said Ryan was the best. Matt describes Ryan as a true artist and I get why. He lives to play and he really understands the drums in a way I never could. We asked him to come and record first and then that led to him joining the band properly. Graham was next. I knew him from around Brisbane. I liked his band Skinny Jean and knew them to be good players and writers of thoughtful and weird music so that was perfect. Matt joined the band last. He’s a producer but he’s also a musician. He can play guitar and keys. He’s not a gun on the instruments but he get’s the songs and for the keys we’re chasing a minimalist thing anyway. He’s also got a good ear for harmonies and we all like having him around on tour so yeah. There you have it. Band.

Can you tell us about your favourite Melbourne acts? Ainslie Wills is a legend and her and Lawrence write powerful, thoughtful and moving music. I love them. Dick Diver are cool – I like their new record. What else…Total Giovanni are cool.

And Melbourne venues? Gee. I enjoyed playing the Palais in St Kilda. The Corner is an Icon. I like drinking at the Gem. The Northcote is a bit of rite of passage. I’m a pretty big fan of Melbourne really. If I’m in a venue, with a beer in hand and some pals to hang with, I’m happy.

Where do you find inspiration outside of music? My son. There’s nothing quite like looking into his eyes.

With you now based in Tasmania and Oscar in Melbourne, how do you approach collaborating and rehearsing material from different cities? Well I was in Brisbane before so nothing has really changed there. We email ideas back and forth, we jam in rehearsals and sound checks. It works.

Having recently completed a run of shows overseas, you’ve announced an Australian tour. Are there any cities/venues you’re particularly excited about visiting? Looking forward to visiting Darwin for the first time. Also with Brisbane being the place I grew up, playing the Zoo as a headliner will be special. So many great bands have graced that stage and I’ve been there for a few.

Thanks for your time! Thank you. Thanks for the thoughtful questions.

Holy Holy are touring nationally this August and September. Tickets are on sale now and available here.
Thursday 13 August – Darwin Festival, Darwin NT (All Ages)
Friday 14 August – Prince Of Wales, Bunbury WA
Saturday 15 August – Amplifier, Perth WA
Sunday 16 August – Newport Hotel, Fremantle WA
Friday 21 August – Elsewhere, Gold Coast QLD
Saturday 22 August – The Zoo, Brisbane QLD
Thursday 27 August – Fresh On Charles, Launceston TAS
Friday 28 August – The Republic Bar, Hobart TAS
Saturday 29 August – Jive, Adelaide SA
Thursday 3 September – Workers Club, Geelong VIC
Friday 4 September – Karova Lounge, Ballarat VIC
Saturday 5 September – Howler, Melbourne VIC
Friday 11 September – Anita’s Theatre, Thirroul NSW
Saturday 12 September – Lizottes, Newcastle NSW
Friday 18 September – Transit Bar, Canberra ACT
Saturday 19 September – Oxford Art Factory, Sydney NSW

When The Storms Would Come is out Friday July 24th in Australia. Pre-order it here.