Review by Georgia Corpe
2015’s gone, and what a year it was for Tim Carroll and Oscar Dawson of Brisbane/Launceston/Melbourne based band Holy Holy. After the release of their debut album When the Storms Would Come, two EU tours and a string of sold out homeland headline shows to boot, Holy Holy have a lot to live up to in 2016. Bear Family’s Georgia Corpe sat down with Carroll to discuss all things 2015 and the some exciting things to come this year.
BF: You’ve had a pretty successful year after the release of your first record, killed it at this years BIGSOUND Showcase, national tours and two EU tours. Is all this hype what you expected after the release of your first record? Are you happy with the response?
HH: Yeah, I mean, it’s definitely been a pretty amazing journey the past couple of years. The whole project has gone way further than I ever kind of allowed myself to dream that it would.
There was a time not very long ago where I thought that just getting one song on Triple J was just something that I would really like to see, and if that ever happened that I would die happy. So you know, since then, a lot has happened and it’s been really exciting.
It’s been good to put the record out and to start playing bigger venues. The European tours have been really fun. So yeah, it’s all gone much better than I thought it would.
BF: Did you ever expect Liam Gallagher to be into your music or for him to even come and tell you face-to-face how much he’s into your music?
HH: No, definitely not. I mean, I remember being on a childhood holiday trip, I don’t know how old I would have been, when their big record came out. I’ve got an older sister and she got that record for Christmas and I remember listening to it so much. You know, that was the time before Spotify and all those sort of things so when you had a CD you just listened to it to death. And me and my sister listened to that record to death and I kind of knew it well.
I heard it on the grapevine, you know, because Liam Gallagher is kind of a friend of someone who works with us in the UK, that he had listened to our record and that was kind of like pretty crazy to think that he would listen to our songs. When we heard he was at the show it was pretty nerve racking. I think I spent the first half of the gig thinking about what he would be thinking, and you know, just trying to get him out of my head really. But it was a good show and I kind of got over it eventually and forgot about it.
BF: Do you have any other highlights from the EU tour?
HH: Well, I mean, as well as Liam being at the London show it was pretty amazing and humbling thing to sell out a ticketed show in London, where people had to actually buy tickets. Because our last show in London in May was sort of at capacity but it was a free show so it was a bit easier to get people along for free in a small room. But this was a ticketed show and I think it was around 250 capacity. And yeah it was pretty amazing to sell out a show in another city. I mean, we didn’t even sell out our last Brisbane show. Oh no, the show before last, we sold out The Zoo show for our album, but the one before that we didn’t sell out in Brisbane and I’m from Brisbane and so is half the band so it was really nice to think that another city on the other side of the world there was enough people there to fill the room.
We played an amazing show in Amsterdam. The Netherlands is actually going well for us. I think we got some radio play there. It was such a beautiful place to travel around and the venues there are really nice to play and they really look after the artist so we just loved it. We played three shows there on the last tour and they were all really special and enjoyable. We played at the top level in this beautiful modern art gallery in a small city in the Netherlands. It was without a PA, so it was just like a stripped back show and so I was singing just into the space with no microphone and there was just like 100 people just sitting there quietly watching. That was really fun.
And then we played in this beautiful venue in Amsterdam called Paradiso which is quite a big venue, like a 1500 capacity venue. It was part of a festival. It was a packed room, really beautiful stage and a really receptive audience so that was one of those moments where as I stood there and sung I was kind of thinking back to the days of carrying my guitar to school, on the bus and stuff, and how I never thought it would end up like that.
BF: Yeah that’s pretty amazing. I’ve heard a lot of good feedback from bands touring around the Netherlands.
So, Tim, you said before you’re from Brisbane, but you’re down in Tassie at the moment setting up for Panama festival happening in March. How is everything going for the festival?
HH: Good, good. It’s a pretty fun project. Like I really love it, it is a real passion for me. I’m in a really lucky position where I have got the band, which I really love to do, and the only other thing I do is this festival and it’s really exciting and challenging and scary. It’s very high risk, we kind of put everything on the line and it all has to come together over three days and you know I am always reading in the media about different festivals that are folding and so on. But we have been pretty lucky. The first year was really enjoyable for us just to be apart of and it had been successful. Last year was a sell out and we have had some of our heroes come through already. Like we had Sharon Van Etten last year and Charles Bradley the year before, and we had Courtney Barnett headline last year and now she is totally smashing the fuck out of stuff all over the world, winning every award that ever was. So it’s pretty exciting that we were kind of able to get her as she was breaking.
This year we’ve got some exciting bands. We’ve got Seun Kuti, Hiatus Kaiyote who just got the Grammy nomination, and CW Stoneking, as well as some other breaking bands like Slum Sociable and The Harpoons and so on.
BF: And to add to your busy end of year schedule, you guys have just released Heroine, a Ming Dynasty inspired track, and are heading on a national tour next January 2016. Are you excited to hit the road again for this single?
HH: Yeah I’m looking forward to hitting the road. It’s been a little while I guess. I haven’t seen the guys since we were in London together. We’re playing Falls Festival over the new year so that will be good. I think we are going to get together in Melbourne and get a rehearsal studio and have a bit of a brush up on the songs and work on some new material and so on, so that will be nice.
And then January we are on the road. We’re playing some venues we haven’t played before, or at least we haven’t headlined before. We are playing The Corner for the first time as a headline, which is kind of exciting and a bit of a rite of passage. It always seemed like such a big room. We supported Husky there many years ago, and we supported Ball Park Music there also, so to actually be the headline act at The Corner is kind of special to us.
BF: So you said you’re working on playing some new songs live, does that mean we can expect a new record in 2016?
HH: I doubt it will be out in 2016. Time just goes so quickly. We’ve got this tour in January, and I am working on Panama, so I am kind of really focused on that for March. And then in late April we are going on tour with Vance Joy throughout the country so it kind of feels like half the year will be gone. But you know, we have written about half a record worth of songs that we kind of got in various stages of demoing so we are definitely keen to put another record out as soon as we can kind of make it happen.
BF: Yeah cool. I am sure a lot of people are really excited to hear the new tracks.
Thanks a lot, we are keen to see you in January!
*****HOLY HOLY ‘A HEROINE’ AUSTRALIAN TOUR*****
FRI 15 JAN | OXFORD ART FACTORY, SYDNEY NSW
SAT 16 JAN |THE CAMBRIDGE HOTEL, NEWCASTLE NSW
THU 21 JAN | THE ROSEMOUNT, PERTH WA
FRI 22 JAN | FAT CONTROLLER, ADELAIDE SA
FRI 29 JAN | CORNER HOTEL, MELBOURNE VIC
SAT 30 JAN | THE TRIFFID, BRISBANE QLD