Aussie indie rockers, Holy Holy, fronted by songwriting team, vocalist/composer Timothy Carroll and guitarist/composer Oscar Dawson, have had a massive year of sold out Australian shows, international tours, and have just returned home from blowing away Splendour In The Grass audiences with a killer set, to find out their debut album When The Storms Would, debuted at #11 on the ARIA album chart!

We asked Oscar Dawson to think back to where it all began for him with his love of music, the first albums he played to death, the first recordings he purchased with his hard earned money and other artists that may have inspired him along the way this year.

What is your favourite album of all time?

This changes, day by day, year by year. Led Zeppelin’s untitled fourth album (AKA IV, or ZoSo) has always held a special place. Although I don’t return to it so often now. I had the sheet music as a youngster and used to spend days poring over it. Jeff Buckley’s Grace also held a special place in my teenage years and whenever I hear it now, I return to that place. Have always loved Abbey Road, that’s by far my favourite from The Beatles. Love the extended medley-style second half.

What was the first album you bought with your own money?

With my own money. Hmm. Probably something completely fucked up like Surfing With The Alien by Joe Satriani. I can’t believe that. I got the sheet music too. I wish it was something cool. But it isn’t. You have to live with your decisions, I suppose. The first album I received as a result of someone else’s money was Queen’s Greatest Hits – on cassette – as a 9-year-old. I still remember being picked up in the car from primary school and it being in the player. Earlier, I had been shown ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ by a cousin, who tricked me into thinking it was actually 4 different songs. I was so confused but figured that, either way, it was the best piece of sound that any human could ever hear. I still believe that.

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What was playing on your family stereo growing up?

Lots of Neil Young. For a long time, I didn’t get into him. I thought his voice sounded somehow a little weak and ‘whiney’. Now, I can’t get enough of the guy.

Which album did you play to death as a teenager?

Queen’s Greatest Hits… Jeff Buckley’s Grace… Van Halen I and II… ridiculous stuff by Steve Vai and Joe Satriani, no doubt …

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What albums are you currently listening to?

The new Father John Misty record. I love that guy. Check out his interview with Marc Maron on the podcast ‘WTF with Marc Maron’. Also, ‘Born Today’ from Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti. Really enjoying listening to this one. It’s actually quite intricate and grows a lot on repeated listens.

What has been your favourite EP or album release of 2015 so far?

I have really liked the new Foals tune, ‘What Went Down’. I guess that’s a single, though. Alabama Shakes ‘Sound & Color’ is great. Produced by Blake Mills who is a modern day guitar hero. Great sound, great ideas, great playing. Have been trying out the new album from Refused also – jury is currently out. I loved ‘The Shape Of Punk To Come’ so much, but this one is rather different.

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Did you dream of putting out your own album as a child?

Of course. I would lie in bed at night composing these outrageous magnum opuses. I couldn’t sleep. Often times they would be just these 15-minute long sagas that would never end. My Dad always used to say, ‘why can’t you ever end a song?’. I have tried to bend to the whims of convention and write shorter songs lately. But I still want to release something like ‘Tubular Bells’ – a 40-minute long extended piece.

Where did the title When The Storms Would Come from, and was it the only title you had for the album?

It is a lyric from a song called If I Were You (which is on the record). At one point, there was a plan to entitle the album If I Were You (When The Storms Would Come), but it has ended up simply being When The Storms Would Come. I guess I take a little of my own meaning from this. The lyric from the verses this line appears in are:

if I were you I’d be patient and I’d be wise
I’d know why the winds change
and how to soothe a child
if I were you I’d be open and I’d be strong
I’d know where the birds nest
and when the storms would come

if I were you I’d be patient and I’d be wise
I’d know why the winds change
and how to soothe a child
if I were you I’d be open and I’d be strong
I’d know where the birds nest
and when the storms would come

Tim uses a lot of natural imagery within his music, and we bring that across to our film clips and album art too. I guess the link between nature and us (people) is a theme. And there is a sense that storms are an ever-present feature of life, with a profound effect. Also, they are inevitable. So there is this sense of foreboding I get from the album title.

What was the inspiration behind the album artwork for When The Storms Would Come and who designed it?

It is from a series by the Japanese artist Yuji Hamada, called ‘Primal Mountain’. It’s a series of images of mountains, made out of synthetic materials – cardboard, tin foil, and so on. It’s arresting imagery, and in a sense, follows naturally from the artwork for our EP, ‘The Pacific EP’. The artwork there is a synthetic ocean, by an artist named Charles Hillhouse. It’s composed of some sort of sheeting so as to look relatively real. The idea is that at first you believe you are seeing a natural setting, but on closer inspection, you realise it isn’t. In the case of the album art, to me this offers a sense of longing and also a sense of foreboding – a peaceful, weather-less lone mountain – which somehow correlates with the title of the album ‘When The Storms Would Come’.

holy holy album

What is your most memorable moment from recording When The Storms Would Come?

Recording the song ‘History’ was actually kinda memorable. We were just mucking around, in between takes on another tune. It was late in the evening, the mics were set up and going, and Matt Redlich (producer) just told us that we should hit record. So we nutted out a song structure, thinking it would just be an idea that might form the basis of a high-quality demo, and played it to tape. But no; without realising it, we had somehow managed to score a final take the song itself. A couple of months later, after some extra overdubs and a final vocal take, we had a finished tune. Felt great to put so little thought into a recording process.

 When The Storms Would Come is out now via Wonderlick / Sony.

HOLY HOLY ‘WHEN THE STORMS WOULD COME’ TOUR DATES

THU 13 AUG – DARWIN FESTIVAL, DARWIN NT (ALL AGES)

FRI 14 AUG – PRINCE OF WALES, BUNBURY WA

SAT 15 AUG – AMPLIFIER, PERTH WA

SUN 16 AUG – NEWPORT HOTEL, FREMANTLE WA

FRI 21 AUG – ELSEWHERE, GOLD COAST QLD

SAT 22 AUG – THE ZOO, BRISBANE QLD *

THU 27 AUG – FRESH ON CHARLES, LAUNCESTON TAS

FRI 28 AUG – THE REPUBLIC BAR, HOBART TAS

SAT 29 AUG – JIVE, ADELAIDE SA *

THU 03 SEP – WORKERS CLUB, GEELONG VIC *

FRI 04 SEP – KAROVA LOUNGE, BALLARAT VIC *

SAT 05 SEP – HOWLER, MELBOURNE VIC * SOLD OUT

SUN 06 SEP – HOWLER, MELBOURNE VIC *

FRI 11 SEP – ANITA’S THEATRE, THIRROUL NSW

SAT 12 SEP – LIZOTTES, NEWCASTLE NSW *

FRI 18 SEP – TRANSIT BAR, CANBERRA ACT *

SAT 19 SEP – OXFORD ART FACTORY, SYDNEY NSW *

SUN 27 SEP – SOUNDS OF THE SUBURBS, CRONULLA NSW

With FRACTURES*
METHYL ETHEL (WA) & VIOLET SWELLS (TAS)