With a stellar sold out lineup this year at FOTSUN, featuring Holy Holy! FOCUS caught up with Tim from the band to chat about the new album, Paint …
Hi Tim. How did you and Oscar come together musically to create Holy Holy?
After high school, both Oscar and I (we didn’t know each other then) decided to do this work experience thing in Thailand, so we met each other over there. We both had our guitars … I remember sitting around drinking Thai rum and playing music.
We built a strong friendship there and we both had our own musical careers independently. Oscar was in a pretty successful rock band called the Dukes of Windsor, and I had a singer songwriter career based out of Brisbane where I released a couple of records. Ten or 12 years later, we met up in Europe and wrote and recorded a few songs together and liked the direction of that, so decided to form the project Holy Holy based on those recordings.
With such a busy year last year, how did you guys find the time to write and record the album?
It was a really different experience to the first record. The first record was a much more organic, gradual and slower process; Oscar and I had written a bunch of tracks while we were overseas and when we came back to Australia, I think it took us over two years to make that record. I think when you’re making your first record, you have that luxury, because there are no deadlines or labels or anyone else working with you – so you can just keep on going until it’s done.
The second was really different, and by that time so much had happened for us as a band – we had a great label, a great agent, a great manager and a momentum. So, we embraced that change and started to work a lot more to deadlines; we actually did this thing where we booked three sessions in the studio over a period of about eight months. Each session was around five days, so before each session we would work on having three or four songs prepared. We were sending demos back and forth … One thing about Holy Holy is we all live in different parts of the country. The bass player is in Brisbane, the producer and guitarist are in Melbourne, and then the drummer is in Tasmania, so we were sending tracks across the country and recording different parts independently, and then all flying to Melbourne and having writing sessions and stuff. When we arrive at the studio, it’s putting the icing on the song.
What was the inspiration behind the record’s title, Paint and the project Painting to Paint …
There are all different ways that records can be named. You can finish a record and sit back and think, “What should we call it?” For this project we had the name “Paint” for the album before it was even written; we had a few songs in mind, but the album name came along pretty early.
There were a few things we liked about it … Being a single word album title, the conciseness of that kind of spoke of what we wanted to do with our arrangement.Being a stark, powerful word is where we wanted to push the record, and the word has a bold, colourful and creative connotation as well, so they were all themes that we wanted to bring out in the record.
We starting thinking about how we wanted to present the album to the public and what we were going to do regarding album art. When Oscar and I first started writing songs together in the Holy Holy project, we were in Berlin and recording out of various apartments. James Drinkwater – who’s a Newcastle based Australian contemporary painter – was in Berlin at that time, and I remember going to different parties and James was there working on his craft, as we were. He had become quite a successful Australian painter and was doing exhibitions overseas and in Australian galleries, and Holy Holy had a bunch of songs on the radio, toured around and played internationally, so it was fun to come full circle and talk to him about the project.
He provided an artwork for the cover, and then we worked with him implementing the project Painting to Paint, which was selecting a number of exciting Australian artists to choose a song off the album and create a work in one day to reflect how that song influenced them.
You’ve been placed up the top of the bill for this year’s sold out FOTSUN; have you been before?
I haven’t been to FOTSUN before, but I’m excited to get there. Being an Australian band, one of the things that’s really nice is the community of other bands and other musicians. I remember reading that bill and thinking our friends we’ve toured with before are playing, so I’m really looking forward to that.
Don’t miss Holy Holy at this year’s Festival Of The Sun. December 7th, 8th & 9th 2017. tickets: www.fotsun.com Note: at the time of going to print, FOTSUN was sold out!