Holy Holy’s new album ‘My Own Pool Of My Light’ is an exceptional body of work. The duo’s evolution from their 70’s guitar-laden 2017 album, ‘Paint’ to their latest, future sounding album ‘My Own Pool Of My Light’ demonstrates their ability to not only adapt to the dominating presence of synthetic pop production indicative of modern music but to become innovators of the transition without losing an inch of their authentic, trademark sound.
Tim, one half of Holy Holy, chatted with me whilst he was onsight at his day job as a production manager, building event stages, whilst in parallel, building his own fan base as an artist with ease thanks to their latest album ‘My Own Pool Of My Light’.
We chatted about a range of unexpected inspirations for the record, making references to Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston for vocal melodies and Justin Timberlake’s ‘Cry Me A River’, bravely opting to record the vocals on the album dry (no fx). About capturing the feeling of Phoenix and Future Islands’ future-historic sound, guitar tones reminiscent of The Cure and the sophisticated production of Solange’s album ‘A Seat At The Table’. His chance encounter meeting the drummer from Metronomy in London and the balance of being an artist and the side hustle of maintaining a lifestyle to support that.
What was the writing process for the album?
Oscar lives in Melbourne and I’m in Tasmania. We would book blocks of time, 2-4 days, set up an interface and start to develop ideas, melodies and used these sessions as starting points for the studio sessions, constantly pushing the songs to the finishing line. We committed to an end date and the pressure created the urgency that ultimately fostered our creativity. We had ideas about writing with drums first, our drummer would write a drum track and send those to us, then we would layer synths and vocals, then once the song had its form then we added guitar.
Did you set out to have a definitive sound for the album?
This was the first album that we self-produced which gave us a lot of room to experiment. Oscar’s experience in producing other artists added a lot of value to our own production. We were both on the same page about what we wanted the record to sound like but still flexible and open to the songs curating themselves. The energy of the ideas we had was captured at the moment versus returning to them as an afterthought.
Let’s chat about the lead single ‘Faces’ and that iconic do-do-do-do-do-bup-bup. Where did this idea come from?
We were preparing for our cover of Beyonce’s ‘Hold Up’ for Triple J ‘Like A Version’ and we had some time left on the day and the melody just came through. We recorded the vocal melody in demo form with the intention to replicate them with a Synth, but decided to keep it as a vocal.
The track ‘Flight’, what is that about?
It’s about asylum seekers. I had worked as a social worker in refugee settlement. I’m talking about children in The Pacific Island the government’s responsibility in taking on a parental role in caring for these asylums and at sometimes, not doing the best job at it.
The track, ‘Teach Me About Dying’, who’s doing the teaching here and what did you learn?
I was listening to a podcast about how we talk about death. There was a nurse talking about her experience of death the impact it has on her viewpoint towards living. There was a line in there that grabbed me ‘teach me about dying’. Maybe I’m thinking about my own life and getting caught up in petty grievances and what’s important to me. It’s an ode to trying to remember that.
Throughout the album, we hear children, how does that relate to the album?
Most of the kids are field recordings that Oscar had captured. It’s funny how they relate to the album, going back to ‘Flight’, and the children seeking asylum, the song ‘Frida’, which is about my daughter and the song ‘Sandra’ starts with how her life was like as a child.
Do you have any rituals to prepare yourself for creativity?
Creativity is not in short supply. The main barrier for me is time. There are intermittent periods that I don’t write music, but the time Oscar and I set aside to work on our music is productive. Over the course of this album, I read a lot of books. Reading inspires the words in the lyrics, the characters, the rhythm.