These words with Holy Holy’s Timothy Carroll are exchanged with one party in a Swedish country house and the other in a drab Melbourne office building. Carroll is the interview’s Swedish contingent enjoying time off post Holy Holy’s first European tour. A cross-hemispherical discussion about the band’s highly anticipated debut album When The Storms Would Come takes place. First up, details of Holy Holy’s European gigs are requested. “We played sixteen dates over a few weeks all over the UK and Europe. We played a great, fun headline show in London, which was free, but was still full. We also played Primavera Sound in Barcelona.” Carroll confirms The Black Keys’ Patrick Carney was fit and well enough to also perform at Primavera Sound, along with fellow headliners The Strokes and Antony And The Johnsons. “It’s such a beautiful part of the world and a great way to travel”, says the lucky Carroll of touring in general.
Having spent a pleasurable week or two listening to When The Storms Would Come, the phrases ‘very satisfied’, ‘nailed it’ and ‘raised the bar’ immediately come to mind. “Okay, cool” says Carroll, on hearing this feedback, “that’s good to know. We tried really hard, for like two years, and put a lot of thought into the album, even re-recorded certain tracks.” Avowed appreciation of the simple, yet profound, lyric “Darkness is nothing but a lack of light” in lovely first track Sentimental And Monday provokes a discussion about Carroll’s lyric writing. “Lyrics are very important to me,” he says. “I have a few lyric inspirations, Conor Oberst and Jeffrey Lewis in particular. Jeffrey Lewis is this somewhat obscure, cultish type of guy. If you actually take the time to listen to his lyrics, they’re next-level thoughtful and impressive. I used to write songs in certain ways, but after listening to those records in particular, I thought I’d work on putting more effort into writing my own.”
Clearly, You Cannot Call For Love Like A Dog is next-level song titling. “It’s a Chinese proverb we made up,” explains Carroll, all tongue-in-cheek. “The song is an examination of love and the ways we try to bend it our will.” Inspired by a moment on a lake near the Swedish country house, Carroll tried hard (why remains a mystery) to make a hole inside the ice. “The lake was so frozen you could drive a truck over it easily. It took two hours to make a tiny hole with a sledgehammer, saws and a crowbar. Then in summer, the ice had vanished.” Thinking like all good artists, Carroll saw the metaphor offered up by the seasons. “Like the ice, sometimes love feels impenetrable, and then sometimes it’s just gone. You have to cherish love when you have it, because one day it might disappear.”
Vocally, Carroll’s performance goes next-level too on the beautiful Wanderer. Howling “Daaaarling” like a madman on his knees, Carroll lets his gorgeously rich voice rip. “When we were looking for tracks to cover for (triple j’s) Like A Version”, explains Carroll, “I listened to Jeff Buckley and thought about singing one of his songs. He’s so brave in his performance, I really wanted to give being braver vocally a go myself”. Fortunately, the Holy Holy team were right behind him on this particular mission. “Oscar (Dawson, lead guitarist) and our producer Matt Redlich were really encouraging me to let go a little more, so it’s good to hear that came through. We recorded that particular song all together in the studio, facing each other, and we left in the intro where Ryan (Strathie, drummer) counts us in, just to give that full sense to the recording.”
With Splendour In The Grass and a six-week Australian tour coming up, Holy Holy are taking all the next level goodness live to the people. “Splendour In The Grass, how ‘bout that?” Carroll says. “We’ll also be heading to lots of regional places again, so hopefully people will come”. Yes they certainly will, because Holy Holy are as divine as their name suggests. When The Storms Would Come, a truly great album, will surely convert more devotees to the cause.
Now watch this spectacularly transcendent video for Sentimental And Monday, book your tickets to one of their live dates and preorder When The Storms Would Come releasing on 24 July via Sony/Wonderlick Entertainment.
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