Holy Holy have had a year to remember. Two releases, two headline tours, support tours with Boy & Bear and Ball Park Music, three songs on high Triple J rotation. Next, they’re touring with The Preatures, as well as heading out on another tour in support of their latest single History.
I’m almost scared to think about what’s going to happen in their next year.
I had the opportunity to sit down with Tim and Oscar (from Brisbane and Melbourne respectively) while they were in town with Boy & Bear. This tour sees them playing some of Australia’s most gorgeous, iconic venues – Brisbane’s The Tivoli, Sydney’s Opera House, Melbourne’s Palais Theatre and more. “It’s an opportunity to do something special on stage,” says singer-songwriter Tim. “We get to be really creative. We’ve been playing music for a long time, so these opportunities are the best.”
Concert halls – especially seated venues like the Sydney Opera House, are a different experience altogether to playing at small bars and other venues. “It’s hard to compare anything else to them,” says Oscar. “People sit down, they’re listening. You can really feel as though you’re being heard.”
“That being said, we played Brighton Up Bar a while ago,” Tim adds. (For those unfamiliar, Brighton Up Bar has a capacity of 120. Basically, think of the Opera House. Now think of the opposite.) “There was this little PA and we were cramped into this corner stage. It was fun, it was sweaty.”
Is playing at such different venues a challenge? “Well we’ve done a lot of touring now, so the nerves have gone,” says Tim. “But I definitely get into a mindset where you realise there’s a thousand people watching. You wanna provide them with something, and make a connection to them all.”
Is stage presence something that Holy Holy think about? Not really. They don’t play with theatrics – what’s most important to them, is loving the music. “The biggest part is just really enjoying the music, being present on stage,” says Oscar. “If you’re doing that, your job is mostly done. People can smell it, they always know if you’re not into it.”
The “holy grail,” as Tim called it, is that Holy Holy love Holy Holy’s music. They go on to describe how they use certain songs as ‘tricks’ or triggers to draw themselves – and the audience – in. There’s this jam in If I were You, and we build into it, then drop out into a drum solo. I notice that there’s always this focus in the room. It’s just this section that pulls us into the music. We’re feeling, and the audience is feeling it. It works.”
By all accounts, Holy Holy have hit the nail on the head. They’re passionate about their own music, and it shows. “I don’t remember having a bad show,” says Tim. “We just enjoy playing. The hard part is all the driving, and airports, and being broke as fuck.”
They’re driving around on this tour, mostly to accommodate for the expansive drums and amps which are too hard to fly. They’re flying over to WA, though, as the drive is a little too long (three days without stopping.)
“Some day I would like to do that drive,” says Oscar. “Apparently it’s quite a drive with all the kangaroos. The cars wait by the side of the road for road trains (massive trucks, essentially) to come through. Then they get in behind and follow it, because the road train just parts the sea of dead kangaroos.”
Anyway, after that “gruesome” anectode as Tim put it, the conversation then turns towards the video clip forHistory. While the shoot itself took around two days, this was mostly taken up by programming a motion control camera to rotate and move in the right ways. The band filmed from 8 am – 4 am, before having to be back on set at 6 am.
“And that morning was when we shot all the close-ups,” says Tim. “I’d been asleep for 45 minutes. It was like [singing the History melody..] ‘All I want….’ Is to die…”
Luckily, the video turned out beautifully – despite the early rise. You can view it right here:
One thing that Holy Holy are proud of is their creative freedom. They’ve hand-picked all of the support acts for their forthcoming tour, live sets and more. “We’re in a good situation where we’ve got support, but we still have creative control over our releases,” says Tim.
“It’s kinda how it has to be.”