Sometimes here at Music Feeds, we just can’t interview every artist we’d like to. So on this occasion, out of equal parts necessity and curiosity, we enlisted them to do our job for us.
Today, Holy Holy have unveiled their fourth studio LP Hello My Beautiful World, an atmospheric project that combines lush string arrangements with chanted vocals, dancing together to create an enchanting, and uplifting world.
“We were given all the freedom in the world to do whatever we wanted, and this is what we did,” says vocalist Timothy Carroll. “It’s a work we’re proud of. Some of the songs are really different for us, however, at the same time, I feel really connected to this album.”
The album also features its fair share of collaborators, including Japanese Wallpaper, Clews and Queen P. “Music genres aren’t black-and-white,” adds Oscar Dawson. “It’s all about the grey zone, and you meet somewhere in the middle. You’re similar enough to be together in the first place, but where you differ is where the light can come through.”
In celebration of the dream new record, we thought we’d see what would happen if we let Tim and Oscar of Holy Holy interview each other.
Oscar: Ok. Where are my questions. I can’t find them. I hope they’re good.
Tim: Mine are pretty shit.
Oscar: Hmmm. OK. Here they are. Timmo. Do you believe in miracles?
Tim: Well yes, I suppose I do.
Oscar: Could you please elaborate on that, a little?
Tim: Well, it relates actually to the album. Which is maybe why you’ve asked the question, you crafty fucker. But I mean, it blows my mind completely that this planet actually exists.
Tim: That we’re hurtling through space, and on this particular planet, and there’s an atmosphere, and not only did algae evolve, but also apes, and we human beings, and we started doing this crazy shit that we do, and we live these lives.
But; I definitely don’t believe in miracles like… I don’t believe in an interventionist God, to quote Nick Cave. I don’t believe someone turned dust into bread or water into wine. OR cured the blind or anything like that.
Tim: But I do think that this situation in which we find ourselves, is miraculous.
Oscar: Yeah – I thought that’d be your answer. And I get that.
I read that apparently Jupiter because it’s so big, holds so many objects in its orbit, that it’s basically shepherding us from destruction-by-asteroids. So without it, we’d be bombarded. So without Jupiter, who knows if life would exist
Tim: You went deep of the bat. Which I like. Ok, well now it’s your turn to answer. If you could be in the studio, during the creation of any record in history – say, for example, if you were an engineer or even a fly on the wall – is there a record that comes to mind?
Oscar: I’d prob have to go back a bit. Because the idea that a record gets made in a singular blocked out stint of time in the studio, is a bit behind us nowadays. But in any case, in answer, I’d like to be there for OK Computer.
Tim: Oh really…
Oscar: Did you think I’d say something else?
Tim: I thought you’d say something by Queen.
Oscar: Yeah, true. The problem with Queen, is that each individual record, I’d struggle with all the song choices. There’d be one or two songs on each record that I love. But with OK Computer, it’s like, every single song on the record is so great. Oh, and the other record is Abbey Road.
Tim: Great. Ok you go.
Oscar: This is a silly one. By the way I stole this question from somewhere else. If you had to choose between being 9 feet tall and 3 feet tall, which would it be?
Tim: WOk.. well, the tallest person ever was 8 foot 11. So you’d be the tallest person ever. What’s 3 feet in centimetres now… 90cm. Hmm.. yeah… probably 3 feet. I think being 9 feet tall would be tricky.
Oscar: The novelty would wear off in about 1 hour.
Tim: I suppose I live with someone who’s around 3 feet tall. I could get down and be pals with my daughter Frida. Alright. Ok, moving right along.
So if you were going to be a government minister, what would be your preferred portfolio, and what would be your first policy? And don’t worry about how popular it’d be. You can just make a law.
Oscar: I mean the obvious choice would be minister for arts and culture. But what would my policy be. Hmm.
Well, actually, if I could be a dictator…
Tim: Which is something I’ve often thought about…
Oscar: And I could just make laws by decree, I’d probably make a law where term limits for the prime minister, or the president, wherever you may be, are longer.
Tim: But we don’t have term limits in this country, though…?
Oscar: But you do have to call an election eventually. Which means you have to fight an election, eventually.
And I think we could do with longer times between elections. So, it’s like, this is who you’ve got for 8 or 10 years. Because everything is too short-term. We can’t fix the major problems. The most obvious one being climate change.
Tim: I can see where you’re coming from. Guess the issue is if you get a bad leader, you’ve got a decade …
Oscar: Yes true, but…this is my thinking…
Tim: …we’ve had bad leaders that are short term?
Oscar: …well, yes, that. But actually, I think even the worst leader would be better if they knew they had ten years, and they didn’t have to fight the election so soon – because they wouldn’t be playing politics the whole time.
Tim: I guess the likelihood of the person going for a second term would be less.
Oscar: I also reckon, say a Donald Trump, if he knew he was signing for a 10-year stint, he wouldn’t have done it.
Tim: Ok great. Interesting answer. Not what I thought.
Oscar: Ok so. If you lost your hearing tomorrow what would you do? Like in that movie that came out recently. Sound of Metal.
Tim: There are multiple things I do in my life – obviously one is play music with you. The other main thing I do is run Panama, my festival. Most of the work I do with Panama I’d be able to continue to do. So I’d probably lean into that. I dunno. I’d like to study. Go back to uni, I’d like to study history. I do also have this idea about writing. And, during the lockdown, I started doing some painting. Watercolour painting. Definitely, something I could explore more. But probably not watercolours. I’d probably like to do some other type of painting. Oil painting.
Ok. What is something you wish you were better at?
Oscar: Mm. Geez. That’s a good question. I wish I was better at … singing. I always felt comfortable playing guitar or even other instruments. But singing was always hard. And never felt natural. That’s one of those things. But outside of music… sometimes I think things like, surfing, or, tennis, but actually, I don’t care about those things. I’m happy not being good at them. I do wish I was better at trusting myself. I wish I was better at knowing how to fix things, like a light switch. I wish I was better at plumbing.
Tim: (We then talk about plumbing for quite a long time, probably the longest section of the entire conversation, it went for ages).
Oscar: Actually, you know what, I don’t care that I’m not a better singer. I used to care. I’m actually fine with it.
Tim: Cos yeah, then you’d be in a position, where it’d be like, you’d be the songwriting, musician, producer, singer… everything… and, I dunno… I like in our project art there are two of us.
Oscar: Yeah, I actually think that way as well.
Tim: Ok your turn to ask.
Oscar: This is a bit of a standard question, but anyway. If there was one specific time in history you could go to, when and where would it be?
Tim: I am fascinated by what it was like in this place we call Australia pre-invasion.
Tim: I think about the middens at the Bay of Fires, on the east coast of Tassie, where generations and generations of people came and ate shellfish on the beach together with fires – I would have loved to have seen that.
I read this book called the The Biggest Estate on Earth and it was about the indigenous practices of using fire, and it talks about some the big Corroborees, and the way in which certain peoples would host, and to be there, and be a part of something like that, would be pretty epic.
Another thing, I grew up in Brisbane, and the Brisbane River, which they call the Brown Snake – that river is only brown because they dredged. But I’ve heard stories that when the Europeans arrived, the river was crystal clear, and you could drop a coin in it and see it fall to the bottom of the river. Because that’s where I’m from, I do love the idea of coming into Brisbane and going to the bends aboard where Fortitude Valley is now and seeing what it was like.
What’s something you want to do before you die?
Oscar: I want to make a movie.
Tim: Do youuuu. I did not know that.
Oscar: It could be a TV show. I do probably watch more ‘TV’ shows than movies these days.
Tim: Yeah TV has changed. Is there any particular genre? Because your TikTok vibe tells me you might want to do something comedy.
Oscar: I don’t have a genre… I do like comedy… but I also like serious genres… I guess I also like it when they combine…
Tim: Like Ricky Gervais or something…
Oscar: Yeah I love Ricky Gervais. Ok. Is this my fifth question? Ok. So you have Irish background, born in Australia, dual national, Australia itself is… a difficult concept. Do you feel like an Australian?
Tim: Yeah, I do. Umm. Yep. I think… to a degree, I do sometimes feel like an outsider. In certain settings. Like, I don’t belong. And my parents being Irish … there are certain parts of the culture here that I wasn’t really a part of, like footy or cricket. But, what actually makes this an easy question to answer, is; where else? I definitely don’t feel Irish. If I were in Ireland, I’d feel like I was overseas and travelling. If anywhere, this is where I’m from. I guess, more and more, I think what does it mean to be Australia, and I think the answer is broad, and I guess I feel like I’m a part of that.
Oscar: Yeah, that’s roughly what I feel too, except it’s England in my case, not Ireland.
Tim: Yeah, I mean, it’s interesting, because obviously, we share a few things… born in the same year, born to migrant parents of a similar generation, that came in a similar time. Both left-handed.
Oscar: Oh yes. Both c*&ts.
Tim: Yes. Both in Holy Holy.
Tim: Ok, my last question. Who is your favourite producer?
Oscar: Music producer, obviously? Right?
Tim: WHO IS YOUR FAVOURITE PRODUCER OF CHILDREN’S STORIES?
Oscar: Ha, ok fair enough. Um.
Tim: What names are rolling through your mind?
Oscar: Well, I guess Nigel Godrich. Because I just love Radiohead so much. But I get the feeling that, with Nigel Goodrich, it’s his work with Radiohead that I like. So is he my favourite producer? Or just what he did with Radiohead? There are a few mixers out in the world these days that I love, like Shawn Everett.
Tim: Did he do stuff with Emma Louise?
Oscar: Yeah, and with Grizzly Bear, Angel Olsen…
Tim: What about, say, Timbaland?
Oscar: I never got into that sound, although I respect what he did. But for example, Rick Rubin… I always liked what he did over the years. And then there’s someone like Jack Antonoff, I suppose.
Tim: Yeah I was thinking of him.
Oscar: But I just find his vibe a little too…tasteful for me.
Tim: Ok. So there we go. We’re done.