The pressure on musicians to exceed expectations on their sophomore offering, when it follows critical acclaim of a debut album, must be significant. Paint, recently announced by Holy Holy as their February 2017 release following the super popular July 2015 release When the Storms Would Come, has been widely anticipated by fans and critics alike. Frontman Tim Carroll casually discussed the band’s approach in our chat in advance of their Miami Marketta gig on 24 November.
“Well, we started writing Paint as we toured the first album. As the new songs evolved, we hit the studios on four or so occasions, and then there it was. There wasn’t much pressure at all.”
Carroll explains that relaxed, organic attitude, focused on making art people love is hopefully conveyed in Paint, particularly with the decision to partner with friend and collaborator James Drinkwater, a Newcastle-based contemporary artist emerging in his own sector, who designed the new album cover.
“We love James’ work and thought it might augment our music nicely. We were pitching for a more modern, minimalistic tone to the album. I think acknowledging beauty is a lot about trusting your instincts; you know when you know; as a festival director (Panama, TAS) I test this all the time as we find gems in all the material we get sent. I suppose we applied that approach to crafting the new album.”
Carroll didn’t write off the idea that Holy Holy might perform at a future Drinkwater exhibition, or even integrate art creation into one of their future shows in some sort of art/music mash-up experience. It seemed that experimenting with unique performance experiences might be on the agenda for the future but when asked about the spiritual themes and quasi-Biblical imagery in his lyrics in the music, Carroll recalls an experience with a fan.
“At an early show, we had this doe-eyed young female fan come up to us after the gig and gush about our willingness to express our faith in our music. It was kinda awkward. We’re not religious or Christians or anything. My family has an Irish-Catholic background so much of the early material almost felt like purging ideas in my head from childhood. Don’t get me wrong; we acknowledge our material might convey some power and mystique and addresses evolving emotions, but this girl, well we just politely thanked her and she went on her way.”
Readers will know the Gold Coast’s cultural scene is emerging and gaining momentum and Carroll had not visited Miami Marketta before. After a few curious questions about the venue and the local scene, he outlined what fans can expect from the 24 November gig.
“We’ve heard the Gold Coast has a pretty youthful music scene. We’re looking forward to the show. We’ll be playing a bunch of songs people will know from triple j’s rotation of our earlier releases. The new singles Elevator and Darwinism will get a spin, and a few other newies. A bunch of fans have commented that Ryan (ex-Hungry Kids of Hungary drummer) is their favourite band member to watch on stage. He’s just interesting. And Oscar is simply a “demented guitar savant”. It’ll be a great show.”
Questioned whether Oscar has approved “demented guitar savant” as a description for his band member bio, Carroll was coy.
“Oscar is lucky that’s all I say.”
Holy Holy play Miami Marketta on Thursday 24 November supported by I Know Leopard and Alex l’Estrange. A few tickets are still available.