August 2, 2014

Interview with HOLYCHILD


Photo Credit: Shervin Lainez

It’s been a hurly-burly year for the young DC native indie-pop duo Holychild. From moving to Los Angeles, to signing with indie powerhouse Glassnote Records, and touring with Fitz and the Tantrums, it makes you wonder if the band has even had the chance to reflect on all of the incredible things that have happened in these last 12 months. One thing is certain though, the future looks very bright for this young group. B3 staffer Brian Litwin recently had the chance to chat with Liz and Louie from Holychild about all of the important things: wardrobe choices, how they met, their ‘Mindspeak’ EP, and their forthcoming full length album expected in 2015. Have a look at their conversation below.

B3SCI: Liz, we’re impressed with your wardrobe both on and off the stage. Is there a method behind all the awesomeness?

Liz: Thank you! Yeah, clothing and what I wear is very expressive for me. There’s no method beyond what inspires me in the moment. Sometimes before shows I try on a hundred outfits, and sometimes I put one thing on and it feels perfect for the performance and city. I do like to wear more special pieces while I perform; I feel like it gets me more in the mood and takes me to a new place with those around me. Beyond that it’s all about feeling and how I feel that day.

B3SCI: How did you two meet?

Louie: The year was 2010, and I was the musical accompanist for Liz’s modern dance class at the college we went to, George Washington University, in Washington DC. Liz initially approached me to collaborate on a crazy live performance art piece, wherein she’d paint a blank canvas in the middle of the street in DC with her practically nude body + and I would accompany with drums, percussion and what not. I was into the idea of challenging the establishment in DC with such live art, so I agreed, but we promptly got distracted jamming and writing our own original music; hence HOLYCHILD.

B3SCI: Going in to record the ‘Mindspeak’ EP, were there any expectations of what it was going to sound like? Was there a plan?

Louie: The only expectation I think we had was to sharpen our scope. Up until the point of “MINDSPEAK,” we were sonically all over the place. From string driven funk jams, to an original arrangement of Miles Davis’s jazz standard “All Blues” we actually got the rights to record(!), and more I won’t bore you with, we had recorded an EP while still in college we never released called “Tribes,” which suffered immensely from identity crisis. After moving to LA though and hanging/working with so many talented artists in a variety of capacities, I think we knew deep down inside that in order for our own work to be taken seriously, we’d have to reign in our bad tendencies, practice a lot, write a lot, record a lot and at the very least, offer a more cohesive batch of songs, hence MINDSPEAK.

B3SCI: I have to admit, every time I watch the video for “Playboy Girl” there are two things that occur: 1) The song is immediately trapped in my head for the rest of the day, and 2) I wish I could have been on that set when shooting, because it looked like a lot of fun to be a part of. How did the idea for the video come about?

Liz: Haha, those are such nice reactions! The idea for the video really spawned from the song. I guess I just wanted to make sure people knew I was being sarcastic with my words. I feel like in the past I’ve made art and it hasn’t been interpreted in the way that I had hoped so with Playboy Girl my mission was to make sure the message was clear with the visuals. At the time I was definitely in a weird place with food, and I was really over-analyzing what I ate and what it was made of and what that meant for me. It was this constant cycle and I felt really constricted while doing something that should be totally effortless to us: eating. The idea for the video happened pretty quickly, and it was the first video I really wrote the whole treatment for. It was so nice to collaborate with director and cinematographer Jancarlo Beck to make it come alive, and it definitely hammers the point of the song home!

B3SCI: How was it on the road during your recent tour? You’re settled now in LA for just a moment… before you hit the road all over again. How do you like and adapt to life on the road?

Louie: The recent tour with Fitz and the Tantrums was a dream! They’re doing so well right now (i.e. three songs on the radio right now + sold out North American tour!), which is amazing, but for us as openers, it was especially amazing, since their fans would show up as soon as doors opened. So we played in front of 3-to-4,000 new folks a night all over the country and thankfully at each show, won over the majority of the audience, sold a ton of merchandise, etc. In terms of adapting to life on the road, I’d say it takes me a few days to adjust, but then I get into the swing of things and from there on out, it is intense, since you’re minute-by-minute life is pretty much out of your control, but ultimately it is a blast to see so much of the country + world while on tour (and meet new people, make new fans, etc). I personally love putting my feet in other people’s shoes for 24-72 hours, learning from them for a moment, seeing what informs their perspective(s), etc. To say the least, I have never learned so much about myself and the world in such a short period of time + I feel blessed for such opportunities!

B3SCI: Have you guys had time to reflect on all that has happened with HOLYCHILD in this past year?

Liz: Not as much as we would have liked! The year has been such a whirlwind so far. However we frequently say to ourselves, “Remember what we were doing a year ago?” which was teaching dance and music and working at a summer camp. We were perpetually broke and definitely too skinny and it’s such a pleasure that working so hard has been worthwhile. We are still working just as hard, but it’s nice that we don’t have day jobs now that get in the way of art!

B3SCI: Being signed to Glassnote seems to take bands to a next level. How has it been under the wing of such a successful indie?

Louie: It has been wonderful. By now, more than six months after signing to Glassnote, the honeymoon phase is over, but we like them and their role in our lives + art now as much as we did when we first signed late last year. It is just a different type of appreciation. Then, I think we were flattered to just have their attention. But now, it feels like a healthy + very collaborative working relationship and I don’t think we would want it any other way. Our album is close to being done, we’ve been working our asses off on it the past year when not touring, so it is nice to say the least that everyone on team HOLYCHILD is feeling great about what we’ve come up with and it should be an exhilarating next year or so for us!

B3SCI: When can we expect the full length? Any surprises with new material?

Liz: We’re so excited to be working on the album. It’s still not done but we anticipate it being out in 2015. We’ve really been exploring human vulnerability from a few different places. On one hand the lyrics are definitely vulnerable and honest and trying to understand this hypocritical limbo that I find myself in, and similarly the production and songs themselves are really reflective of that and are vulnerable in their own regard. It’s been a crazy year, and that’s also a part of the writing. The new songs definitely represent more of a dynamic range of emotions than the EP. We’re really looking forward to sharing it next year.

Holychild (Facebook)

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