Holy Holy released their fourth studio LP and triple j feature album, Hello My Beautiful World in August 2021 via the Wonderlick Recording Company. The dense and ambitious record is built upon a foundation of electronic beats and rolling synths; it combines lush string arrangements and chanted vocals that culminate in a heady and persuasive mix. Recorded in a series of modest studios and spare rooms in Tasmania and Victoria, Holy Holy’s fourth album, Hello My Beautiful World is perhaps their most fully realised. The record moves fluidly through a collection of feverish moods and atmospheres, unfolding unpredictably and building to a series of fierce and manic highs.
Like many records you will hear throughout 2021, Hello My Beautiful World was forged in the midst of Australia’s ongoing lockdown period. The pair didn’t tackle the album entirely on their own – Japanese Wallpaper added distinctive texture and flair across the album, and of course there is the hyperactive, fiery guest verses of Melbourne rapper Queen P on Port Rd. Throw in the flourishes of composer Toby Alexander’s string arrangements, plus collaborations with The Presets Kim Moyes and you’re looking at a record that sees the band redefining itself as a powerful force in the Australian song writing landscape. Now with the easing of restrictions Holy Holy finally get to play the iconic Thebarton Theatre and Oscar Dawson, at the time of interview battling Covid, speaks to Hi Fi Way about the album and tour.
It sounds like you have been put through the ringer having Covid?
I have been! The Covid thing is pretty mental! Luckily we have only had to cancel one show. It has been a nightmare but that’s the world we live in and a lot of people have it worse. At the end of the day we can’t complain too much. I have been that sick I’ve been wondering that if I didn’t get vaccinated I don’t know how bad it would have been, it could have been really bad, so I feel lucky about that as well.
How have you passed the time?
It has been the most boringest week of my life, I mowed the lawn and had to lay down afterwards and I vacuumed once or twice! It has been the most boring week ever, I’ve been amazed at how incapacitated I have been. Been playing video games, a bit of guitar but I feel really stupid, my brain is a bit slow like I’ve got nothing going on upstairs.
Hello My Beautiful World is a sensational album, you must be pleased with how it’s keep on keeping on and resonates with fans?
Sure, definitely, it is hard to know because we haven’t been able to get out there yet. It is always nice when people respond well to it. We are really lucky that our fan base are really great people and there is a cohort of them who we constantly see online, super nice, positive people who come to shows and they are a part of our big wide friendship group.
Did you find that working remotely on the album with Tim really suited the way you go about your music?
We’ve been used to working remotely for a long time because we live in different States but to be honest the main thing is the Covid factor and the fact we couldn’t be around each other much. Even if we were in the same parts of the country we wouldn’t of been able to see each other that much. I think our attitude was not to let anything stop us from making music. There is no reason to stop being able to make music in any situation in my mind unless something is really severe. I think music is a really key part of who we are as people. It is like in the Ukraine where you see people in bombed out cities coming together and singing songs for example and we saw it earlier in the pandemic with cities that were locked down coming out on their balconies, being isolated from each other yet singing together. I think music and nothing we have done is anything like that, we just made an album in our respective places and put them together, but music is core to who people are. It makes no sense to me that a pandemic is a reason to wait until it is over to make music.
People ask whether it is to hard to make music during this time, I don’t think there is such a thing in a way. Until you have lost all your capacities I don’t think there is any reason not make music. It is a core part of what makes people, people. For us, it was this is the world we live in right now so lets keep making music and see what comes of it. How many times over the last couple of years have we thought we are in the clear now? We might have started making the record thinking in six months time we could get in the studio together and record a few songs but wasn’t possible because the pandemic keep on going. We did it, I like it and now we are able to tour it. It has been two steps forward and a quarter step backwards at times.
How do you see the change in the Holy Holy sound between albums?
It depends on who you ask, if you ask me, I would say there has been but it does feel subtle when you are in the band because I am present in all the moments where it is shifting. It is like if you put a frog in water and boil it the frog won’t jump out. If you chuck a frog straight in hot boiling water it will freak out. Outsiders I think sometimes think what the hell are these guys doing, so if you ask someone else they may think it is a bit less subtle. I don’t know I think we change without consciously or desperately trying to because circumstances change, feelings change, technology change, pandemic rages and there’s all sorts of reasons that affect the way music sounds and the way you make it. All of those are relevant and that’s the sound you come out with.
What was it like working with Japanese Wallpaper on a collaboration for the album?
Gab is a friend of ours and someone we have known for a long time and we did some work with him on the third album. He is very technical with his skills and we like to find people who are different to us. We like that and unfortunately on Hello My Beautiful World we weren’t able to get together with him because of the pandemic but we did a bunch of remote stuff with him, sending files back and forth, chatting, talking and stuff. We love what Gab does and he is a real talent.
Has there been much thought about the next album?
There has been talk about it, we have a few things on the boil all the time. It is hard to know when something because a new album or a bunch of ideas. There is a point where you know you know.
You must be looking forward to playing bigger venues with a bigger production at iconic venues such as Thebarton Theatre?
I have heard a lot of things about the Thebbie! I have family in Adelaide and I was over for WOMAD which was beautiful, my wife was playing. The family was saying it is a big, classic venue so yeah I can’ wait. It has been a while since we played in Adelaide and every time we have tried it hasn’t been possible. Can’t wait!
Interview By Rob Lyon
Catch Holy Holy on the following dates, tickets from tickets on sale from https://www.holyholymusic.com/tour