How we hear a piece of music is shaped by our own personal experiences. An individual can listen to a song or interpret a set of lyrics in an entirely different way to the next. Music, in a sense, is a constant journey of rediscovery through open interpretation, and it’s this sense of openness that Holy Holy have been able to capture on their latest record, Paint. Music Feeds got the chance to chat with vocalist Tim Carroll about inspiration, visual and lyrical interpretation and juxtaposing life’s mundanities with its defining moments.
“Some of the songs existed in some weird sketchy format around the time we were working on the first record,” says Carroll, reflecting on the initial creative stages for Paint. “Songs like ‘Gilded Age’ and ‘Shadow’ were really embryonic ideas that were around at that time, they almost could have ended up on that record, but for whatever reason they kind of sat in the background.
“This record we had these really distinct recording sessions in Melbourne and the mixing happened a lot quicker. We kind of just embraced that.”
It was during these recording sessions, that the concept for Paint, both the word and the idea, really began to take shape. “It was towards the beginning of the sessions, where that word kind of came up and Oscar and I were tossing it around as a possible title. It just felt right to both of us in the way that it represented the work and said a bit about what we wanted to do with this record.” More recently, Paint has since become much more than a concept to Holy Holy. Through a collaboration with Newcastle artist James Drinkwater, the band have transformed the modern concept of the visual album. Their project features a collection of visual artists, as the concept suggests, painting to Paint. The latest instalment in the series, sees artist Lottie Consalvo bring Holy Holy’s ‘Willow Tree’ to the canvas, allowing art to both imitate and reflect upon the music, bringing Paint as a concept, to life.
After such an incredibly busy touring schedule off the back of their debut record, Carroll reflects on the advantage of taking time to get back to the basics of writing, and how this influenced the now completed body of work. “We’d done so much touring and it was nice to get off the road and not have to be doing social media or anything like that. Just to get down to the bones of writing again. It’s scary sometimes but when it happens and when it goes well, it’s really fulfilling”.
Paint as a record, really gave Holy Holy a chance to showcase how they’ve developed, both individually as artists and as a collective outfit. “It’s a lot more cohesive as a band record. All of our playing styles and also together as a unit have developed a lot, we kind of really wanted to show that off on this record”. One of the most notable developments, sees Carroll focusing the majority of his attention on his vocals. “I’m playing a lot less guitar on this record than I did on the last one. I think I hung onto having a guitar in my hands because I’d always done that whilst signing. It was a safety blanket kind of thing.” Although the choice to step away from his beloved instrument may not have been an easy one, this shift of focus inadvertently shaped the changing sound and overall dynamic of Holy Holy. “When we were working on the production for this record realised that removing that part gave a whole heap more space for the synth and for Oscar’s guitar landscapes. That was the key development for our sound.”
Although some aspects and key dynamics of Holy Holy have changed, Paint is a wonderful testament to the vulnerable beauty of songwriting. Standout tracks like ‘Elevator’ and ‘Amateurs’ see Holy Holy delve into the juxtaposing complexities of the mundane and commenting on these particular complexities. “Life can be so mundane and at the same time so full of drama but these are the moments that will define your life so completely,” explains Carroll. “Whilst you’re waiting in a queue at a shopping centre, you might receive a call or have an interaction with somebody that will affect entirely the way your life will play out. It juxtaposes the mundaneness of credit card debt and grocery shopping and wearing out shoes, with the truly epic.”
PAINT is out this Friday, February 24th and can be pre-ordered here