For Holy Holy’s third studio album ‘My Own Pool Of Light’, the dynamic duo decided to switch things up in an aim to get a little experimental. Finding a DIY approach within their delivery, they didn’t hold back in expressing themselves as intimately or as powerfully as possible. With no subject off-topic, they explored all of the internalised questions that they wanted to vocalise. And with lead singer Timothy Carroll becoming a dad recently, he found himself thinking of things in a different light.
This record perfectly represents that shift and comes into a mature collection of honesty and pure experimentation. Taking this album on the road for an extensive tour from September right through to November, they will be transporting these cinematic songs into the live space.
I recently chatted to Timothy Carroll about the decision to completely self produce their new record ‘My Own Pool Of Light’, the reflection of gender stereotypes in the song ‘Frida’ and in his family as well as the exploration of the LGBTQI+ community in ‘Sandra’. Check out the chat HERE;
TB: For this record you strived for complete freedom from the songwriting to the recording to even self-producing. So why did you decide that you really wanted to take full control with this album? And was there anything that you guys had to teach yourselves to make this goal happen?
TC: Self-producing made complete sense to us for this release. It meant we could set up anywhere and chip away at the record anytime we were together. Oscar and I live in different cities so having that flexibility was appealing. We were also keen to push our sound and take some risks and, to a degree, we didn’t want a gatekeeper to be casting judgment on our ideas. We wanted to trust ourselves and try some wilder sounds and arrangements.
TB: ’Sandra’ is a very powerful song about homophobia and transphobia that was inspired after reading Sandra Pankhurst’s biography. So as ally’s of the LGBTQI+ community, how careful were you in making sure you represented the soul of this track in the right way?
TC: Homophobia and Transphobia are hateful, cruel and small-minded mindsets. Human beings are diverse and that diversity is something to be celebrated. Rather than shaming and discriminating against the LGBTQI+ community, we believe in doing everything we can to make people of all gender identities and sexual preferences feel comfortable, supported and loved.
Sandra’s story is an important one and in reading her story we all learn about the struggles of living in a society that has a long and brutal history of excluding and humiliating the LGBTQI+ at every turn.
In writing this song I just wanted to write a few scenes from her biography into song. Significantly we reached out to Sandra before releasing the track to make sure she was happy with how the song was written. It was so great to meet her and she likes the tune. She gave us her blessing and we’re looking forward to having her at our next Melbourne show.
TB: The beautiful track ‘Frida’ explores the way that gender stereotypes are perpetuated into everyday life from a very young age. So how have you made sure you don’t follow this trend with your own daughter?
TC: Oh god, good question! It’s fucking hard. I mean it’s everything. The biggest thing, of course, is how my wife Isabel and I act at home. Small things matter. Trying to disrupt the gender norms at home and making sure I’m an equal partner in caring for the children and doing the housework really matters. It’s also important that I support my wife to have a successful career and navigate the early years of our children’s lives.
Then there are a million other things. Finding a school that treats boy and girls equally will be a big thing. Frida is a little legend and I love her to pieces. Hopefully she just gets out there and shows the world who’s boss.
TB: ’Teach Me About Dying’ is an anthem in it’s own right, with the line “Teach me about dying so I can learn how to live” really taking a life in it’s own through the euphoric production. So how do you pick yourself up when you’re in a situation where you are struggling to find hope?
TC: If I’m feeling low there are a few things I try and do. Firstly; eliminate alcohol for a while. Regular drinking is pretty insidious. Sometimes when touring it can be around a lot and after a few weeks, you can feel pretty low.
Secondly; exercise and meditation are both fantastic ways to kick a funk.
And lastly; sleep. Not sleeping enough is a sure-fire way to feel crap.
I sometimes do these weird self counselling sessions, where I open a word doc and write down how I’m feeling and what is worrying me and what I can do about it. I find that useful.
TB: The songs on this collection have an insightful storytelling base to them. So reflecting on the record what would you say was the albums hardest story to put together emotionally?
TC: ‘Frida’ is a song that’s close to my heart. The lyrics just spilled out of me really. A lot of that was written as improvisation and it was cathartic to sing and wonderful to record it with Oscar and Ryan in the studio.
TB: What was influencing the experimental and DIY nature of this record?
TC: There were lots of influences on this record. Most of which you wouldn’t guess including Solange, Justin Timberlake, Mariah Carey, Anderson .Paak, The Cure, Future Islands, Pheonix.
At the core of our approach is always an attempt to create music the feels real and is loaded with ideas and emotion.
TB: Some songs like ‘Frida’ have a very cinematic feel to them. So what sort of movie could you see your songs being the soundtrack to?
TC: Maybe some 80’s, black and white coming of age film set in Tasmania.
TB: You will be hitting the road for a massive Australian tour in September and October which sees you playing some of your biggest shows yet. So how are you planning on bringing this record to life on the road in the boldest way possible?
TC: We’re keen to play sections of the record as they appear on the album. So running songs into each other as suites, which is something we haven’t done before.
We have a few other things planned. I’m thinking about doing something I’ve always wanted to do and see if I can play the audience like an instrument. So teach them a part and conduct them to sing a section that the band then interact with. We might try that.
TB: What song from ‘My Own Pool Of Light’ are you most excited or nervous to play live?
TC: ‘Maybe You Know’ has this one vocal melody which is quite a high note followed by a quick cascade down. It’s hard to sing. And it’s the kind of part that I won’t get right every time, so that’s a bit nerve wracking. I was trying to channel Mariah Carey when I wrote that *laughs*.
TB: Your crowds are pretty energetic and really love losing themselves in the music, so what is one of the strangest thing you’ve seen happen during a show?
TC: We actually had the police come into one of our gigs in WA and grab a person and drag him out mid-song. It was a small club show in Dunsborough. I never found out why the cops were after him. Maybe some kind of fugitive?
TB: Let’s play a little game of rapid fire questions where I’m going to ask you some questions that you just need to answer with the first thing that comes to mind.
TB: Our pre-show pump up song is…
TC: ‘Final Form’ by Sampa the Great
TB: Pineapple on pizza is…
TC: For children.
TB: The emoji that best describes our new album ‘My Own Pool Of Light’ is…
TC: The sparkly diamond!
TB: If I could have any super power it would be…
TC: The power to remove massive amounts of carbon from the atmosphere.
TB: My go to snack on tour is…
Purchase a SIGNED copy of ‘My Own Pool Of Light’ from Sanity HERE; https://www.sanity.com.au/products/2425133/My-Own-Pool-Of-Light–SIGNED-COPY
Holy Holy Australian Tour
Thursday 12 September – Villa Noosa, Noosaville
Friday 13 September – Kingscliff Beach Hotel, Kingscliff
Saturday 14 September – The Tivoli, Brisbane
Thursday 19 September – Mt Pleasant Tavern, Mackay
Friday 20 September – Magnums, Airlie Beach
Saturday 21 September – Dalrymple Hotel, Townsville
Sunday 22 September – Edge Hill Tavern, Cairns
Friday 27 September – The Gov, Adelaide
Saturday 28 September – Astor Theatre, Perth
Sunday 29 September – The River, Margaret River
Thursday 18 October – Uni Bar, Wollongong
Friday 18 October – Roundhouse, Sydney
Saturday 19 October – Cambridge Hotel, Newcastle
Friday 1 November – Torquay Hotel, Torquay
Saturday 2 November – Forum, Melbourne