Star Scene: Tim Carroll of Holy Holy

HOLY HOLY

Tim Carroll’s scene is unusual. The award winning singer songwriter, and frontman of Holy Holy, states:

“And then once a year, this really secluded, rural area becomes a music festival, Panama, and some of my favourite bands from all over the whole descend, and there’s nightclubs and bars and this main stage and speakeasys and all kinds of things going on, so then the world comes to me for a few days once a year.”

“I am living in this weird lifestyle now. I live in a rural area now, 50 minutes out of Launceston, which is already kind of a regional place, and I live seven kilometres down a dirt road, in a house not connected to power or water so there’s solar power and rain water only. I love it. It’s an interesting position to be in effectively because I basically fly in to Melbourne with the hustle and bustle and then Sydney and then I am chopping wood and tending the garden out here in the forest. So I guess that is my scene.”

Carroll’s intermingling contrasting lifestyles reflect within his music. His influences varied growing up also. Growing up in Brisbane, Carroll states, “For a long time, I was really listening to my sister’s choices. I was born in 1984 so my memory started in early 90s. My sister was listening to Nirvana and REM and Pearl Jam Smashing Pumpkins. That was what was around. Whatever she was listening to was cool.”

Carroll continues: “REM’s songwriting influenced me. Also my parents had a lot of records that were a constant throughout my life – Neil Young, Bruce Springsteen, Pink Floyd and Dire Straits, Emily Lou Harris, Muddy Waters. At the time I was ‘What is all this crap?’ and at some point I started loving it and appreciated that my parents gave me access to it.”

tim carroll solo tim carroll soloCarroll, already having solo success with releases The Deepest Dive & For Bread & Circuses, asked guitarist/composer Oscar Dawson to assist him whilst both were transiently in Europe and Holy Holy ensued. Carroll states, “In some ways we did not have that kind of decision-making point. It started off just as a writing process. I was living in Sweden not sure what I was going to do next but I knew I wanted to do something different. Oscar was living in Berlin. He and I started writing together. In the beginning it was more me writing songs and Oscar helping me more as the producer. Helping me record writing arrangements and playing multiple instruments. We wrote this set of songs. Even though he had come on as a producer, it was more than that. He had such a strong style, he brings so much to the music; it was more like collaboration.”

Though their stay in Europe was temporary, the band was not. Carroll and Dawson continued collaborating back in Australia. Carroll states: “It was later on that things started taking off. There was demand and with the question ‘Are you going to be available on the road?’, Oscar had to make the decision if he was going to be part of the band and luckily he decided that he was up for it and that was when we formalised it.” A full live band was formed, enlisting drummer Ryan Strathie (ex-Hungry Kids Of Hungary) and bassist Graham Ritchie (Airling’s collaborator) with their reclusive producer, Matt Redlich (Ball Park Music, Emma Louise, The Trouble With Templeton), joining them as a “special guest”, hiding behind a Prophet-08 synth. The band bonded over Neil Young (and Crazy Horse), Crosby, Stills & Nash, Bruce Springsteen, Pink Floyd and Dire Straits, as well as contemporary acts like Midlake, Band Of Horses and Grizzly Bear. These varied influences culminating with the highly anticipated release of their first full-length album, When The Storms Would Come.

The buzz around the band has not been in vain. Even Liam Gallagher went backstage to tell them they were “the best band I’ve seen in years” and he thought their album was “brilliant”.

Carroll states: “Liam Gallagher’s girlfriend said he liked the songs, even correcting her on some of the lyrics. Then he came along to the show and we got to meet him after. It was bizarre and humbling.”

 Contemporaries and critics agree it was worth the wait.

With success, however, comes analysis and misinterpretation. Carroll doesn’t mind the analysis but finds it disconcerting when ideas, especially religious ones, are misconstrued. Though their first single, Impossible Like You, has some religious symbolism, Carroll states: “I am not a religious person in a formal way but there were some religious words and symbolism in that song in particular, which is interesting also because of the band name. There were some people early on who thought we were a Christian rock band. It used to stress me out. There was one review in Beat where someone wrote this and did not back check it. Oscar and my manager were ‘don’t worry about it’. It hasn’t come up since.”

As for his most rewarding song on the latest album, Carroll states: “You Cannot Call For Love like a Dog was a really exciting song for us. We had actually recorded another version of it, which was different, a bit more kind of country and acoustic did not have the big solo at the end or riff at the top. We were performing that song live and I remember we had a fresh look at it and we changed the drum pattern and Oscar brought that riff in and the solo at the end had actually been a slightly comedic thing that Oscar had done at rehearsals back in Brisbane early on in the project.

We took a big risk and it paid off.

I used to work at this venue Black Bear Lodge, we would load up all the gear and play long rehearsals and Oscar did this big outrageous solo, and I liked it so when it was time to record we had to decide whether to tone it down but we didn’t and we ended up recording a five and a half with a minute song with an outrageous solo at the end of it, and then we released it and we weren’t really sure what the reaction was going to be but then people liked it and we liked it.”

Catch Holy Holy perform You Cannot Call For Love Like a Dog plus more as they release their new single, A HEROINE, around Australia this January.

 

HOLY HOLY ‘A HEROINE’ AUSTRALIAN TOUR:

FRI 15 JAN | OXFORD ART FACTORY, SYDNEY NSW

Tickets available from www.moshtix.com.au | 1300 GET TIX | All Moshtix Outlets

SAT 16 JAN |THE CAMBRIDGE HOTEL, NEWCASTLE NSW

Tickets available from www.bigtix.com.au | 02 4968 3093

THU 21 JAN | THE ROSEMOUNT, PERTH WA

Tickets available from www.oztix.com.au | 1300 762 545 | All Oztix Outlets

FRI 22 JAN | FAT CONTROLLER, ADELAIDE SA

Tickets available from www.moshtix.com.au | 1300 GET TIX | All Moshtix Outlets

FRI 29 JAN | CORNER HOTEL, MELBOURNE VIC

Tickets available from www.cornerhotel.com | 1300 724 867

SAT 30 JAN | THE TRIFFID, BRISBANE QLD

Tickets available from www.oztix.com.au | 1300 762 545 | All Oztix Outlets

 

Buy:: When The Storms Would Come           

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About Mary Boukouvalas 745 Articles
Mary is a music photographer and reviewer.

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