Across the Bass Straight, Tim Carroll and Oscar Dawson come together to form the wonder that is HOLY HOLY. Living in country Tasmania and Melbourne respectively, the guys are busy juggling separate ventures whilst putting on a slew of dates across the country with their HOLY HOLY record, PAINT. It’s the third time that their sophomore LP will get a run around Australia, making it all too clear that this bands’ music is some of the most well-loved around. In fact, Oasis’ Liam Gallagher touted the outfit as one of his favourite Australian artists last week, which is some truly wicked and well-deserved stuff.
Music Feeds chatted to Holy Holy’s Tim and Oscar in the lead up to their Love Is For Amateurs tour, on all things touring and writing for 2018, and how they make it work as an interstate team.
“If I’m honest, it’s not that hard…we really just make it work, I actually don’t really notice the fact that we live in different towns,” Oscar (guitars) says on working together from separate states.
“With the tour, we book the dates and then of course we speak on the phone a lot and do a lot of emails and we see each other to rehearse when we need, but it actually doesn’t feel like the distance makes a big difference in a way, the only hard thing is that we can’t just casually catch up and hang out.”
He laughs that with so many other personal projects and family going on, even if they were in the same city, they probably would see each other the same amount anyway.
Vocalist Tim adds that he’s really pleased with the set up that they have. Being able to write and perform in the space of HOLY HOLY, whilst still getting to dabble in other things individually, is incredibly important for the creativity of these two artists. Oscar has a multitude of production projects on the go, while Tim works in event management, namely putting on PANAMA festival in North-East Tasmania, which he co-founded five years ago.
“It’s so nice that Oscar and I are now both totally working in music, and some of it is performance and writing through HOLY HOLY and some of it is on the other side with him doing producing and myself doing events management,” he explains.
“For a lot of Australian bands you do need to find a way to make it possible to perform, because it can be tricky trying to hold down a normal job because for a big chunk of the year you’re unavailable and on the road…so you kind of have to find something that is really flexible, that you can pick up when you’re not touring and then drop when there’s heaps on, so it’s really good that Oscar and I have been able to find music related things that allow us to do that.”
But even with so many things happening on the side, what these guys truly love doing is expressing their upmost creativity through HOLY HOLY. Whether it’s in their writing, or how they like to perform live, Tim and Oscar are passionate about keeping things interesting and innovative, not only for their own creative sanity, but for the pleasure of their much loved audience.
They’re stoked to be taking PAINT on the road for the third time and promise the tour will be filled with stretched out musical moments. They’ll be offering extended versions of tracks; some that haven’t been performed live yet, while they’ll throw in some older stuff from their catalogue and a cover or two for good measure. It’s looking hella good, with their Sydney show selling out last week, and one of their Brisbane performances being taken out too. One thing is for certain, HOLY HOLY know how to entertain a crowd.
“I always think that if someone’s bought a ticket and dedicated a night of their lives to watching you play then it’s really important to stretch out and be musical for them and give them more than what they might just hear on the record,” Oscar says.
Tim adds that that it’s such a buzz to be experimental in how they perform their songs in the context of a gig.
“I often think that the most exciting parts of gigs are moments when things are a bit different and you’re playing songs differently to how they appear on the record, you know doing new arrangements and improvised or extended sections,” he explains.
“We have a couple of days of rehearsal coming up so we’ll definitely be figuring out ways that we can mix things up and make the show memorable and interesting for us and all the people that come along.”
Tim elaborates that some of what he believes gives HOLY HOLY such strength, isn’t entirely surrounding what they play, but how they do it. He speaks incredibly highly of his band mates Oscar and drummer Ryan Strathie.
“Oscar is a really incredible guitarist… it’s just always amazing to watch him play with his sound scapes and his pedal board which is really inventive…in the live setting we like to give him some space to sort of explore and romp around. Similarly Ryan is a really powerful and interesting musician to watch, often when I’ve brought friends and family to shows they just tell me that they watched Ryan the whole time because he’s so magnetic… so I think that in combination with our supports and the fact that it’s probably going to be the last tour for a little while means it’ll be a really good run,” he says.
Punters can look forward to etheral pop/folk darling Clea and alt/rock act Sloan Peterson joining the guys as supports for the tour. They’re a specially curated bunch who Tim and Oscar agree will bring a lot to the experience.
“It’s really important for Oscar and I in terms of who we tour with, so we like to sort of scour the internet and find people that we think are cool and doing interesting things,” Tim says of their handpicked artists.
“I’ve been watching both of these guys for a while now and enjoying their music, so I’m looking forward to seeing them night after night and getting to get to know them and we reckon the audiences will really enjoy them too.”
If anyone needs a touch more convincing, HOLY HOLY’s Love Is For Amateurs tour will be the last headliner the band puts on for a while, so now is certainly the time to catch the guys live. Heading into the rest of 2018, Tim and Oscar divulge that they plan on bunkering down for a while to get started on album three.
The guys met at Oscar’s Melbourne studio just before Christmas to crack the seal on some ideas, the guitarist explaining that their focus has turned to taking things in a different direction to their other releases. With two very guitar-driven albums under their belt, HOLY HOLY are excited to see what they can do without so many guitars in play.
“We’re just trying to write in a different frame of mind because I find that as soon as you’ve got a guitar in your hands you just write a certain way, so it’s not that we want to restrict ourselves but in a way, restriction can make you more creative,” says Oscar.
“Not to say there won’t be any guitars at all but you know I get bored easily and maybe Tim feels the same, so we’re just about trying some different stuff out and keeping ourselves interested and excited because putting out the same style of record time after time would just get tiresome, so we just want to see where we can go.”
Catch HOLY HOLY on their ‘Love Is For Amateurs’ Australian Tour, kicking off later this month.