Deciding to place their bullseye on immediacy of ideas rather than the exacting arrangements of their past material, Holy Holy have created a burning, vital new album which sees tickering drums and topical lyrics leading reliably bountiful soundscapes. Here are vocalist Tim Carroll’s musings about My Own Pool Of Light, in conversation with Zoë Radas.
Read our review of My Own Pool Of Light.
On why self-producing My Own Pool Of Light made for a more immediate approach to creation:
It just gave us so much more freedom. We also both had the same idea that we weren’t really concerned about trying to capture these really beautiful mics in a really beautiful room; we were happy with any decent mic into a laptop. I guess we just felt like the ideas and the messages and the melodies were what were most important.
On the ‘when it rains, it pours’ phenomenon of songwriting:
Oftentimes ideas come in a run for me and [Oscar Dawson, bandmate]. So it’ll be nothing, nothing, nothing. And then I’ll be like: this, this, this! And everything spills out of you. When that happens, you need to be ready to catch it all. I think it’s also partly Oscar’s recording style; he’s pretty nimble with setting up and catching ideas, and I really enjoyed that on this album.
On why writing is like sculpting with clay:
On a song like Hatswing, there were so many ideas, and by the end we were like, ‘Oh God, does this make any sense?’ But that’s a good position to be in. Then, in the mixing process, you can go back and cut things out. I’ve often said songwriting is a bit like working with clay, in that when that idea is fresh there’s all this possibility, and that’s when you really need to work fast and free. If you wait a week and then listen to the song and try and improvise ideas, it’s stuck – by then it’s harder to break out of the melodies that are written. So, that first moment is really important.
On treating great ideas like skittish creatures:
Sometimes you can get this sense in the studio that we’ve hit something, like we’ve hit a seam of gold songwriting: good things are happening, and there’s this sense [that] you don’t want to scare it away. Me and Oscar wouldn’t even say, ‘This is feeling really good.’ It’s just, ‘Okay, alright, let’s keep going.’
On the Sandra Pankhust biography The Trauma Cleaner, and how it became inspiration for stand-out track Sandra:
Anything that comes into my world is at great risk of becoming a song: books and podcasts and stories and human interactions. We had a writing session and came up with a few of the melodic motifs, but at that point it didn’t have any story or core reason to it. Oscar and I had both just finished [reading The Trauma Cleaner], and we were discussing it quite a bit. We were calling the song ‘Sandra’ between us, but I had this really strong sense that if we were going to do that we would definitely have to reach out to her and talk to her and share the song, share the lyrics, and talk about how she felt about it. Which we did. And she was awesome and really sweet. So it was really humbling, and a nice part of the journey of that song.
My Own Pool Of Light by Holy Holy is out August 2 via Sony.
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