By Alex Meyer
CALGARY — Despite the six years between records Holy Fuck have been busy. After extensive touring, they spread out, started families, created a variety of solo projects and collaborations, produced and mixed records, and of course, slowly and meticulously mapped out the new sonic terrain of their latest album: Congrats. What began as mere seeds of ideas that were jammed out while touring previous record, Latin, slowly matured into a tapestry of musical ideas that blanket the psyche with a fervent cacophony of sounds. BeatRoute spoke with co-founder Graham Walsh to get a look inside the band’s process.
‘“I feel like our music is celebratory,” Walsh intones. “Though the song could be a dark, evil-sounding song there is something there that is somehow conjuring that emotion.” Holy Fuck’s ability to manifest a sense of celebration and immediacy has been present from the beginning of their career. From their first release that was improvised entirely on the floor in the studio, to their most recent album that has taken years of meticulous crafting, the same sense of being entirely in the present moment pervades their sound. And while the flavour of this aesthetic has morphed and evolved with each release, it is unquestionably Holy Fuck. There were many lessons learned from the time spent away from the project and they were eager to apply those and create an album Holy Fuck has been striving for since their inception. “Each record has been one step closer to what we want to accomplish with our music,” Walsh continues. “This record was a concerted effort to explore and expand on new moods and territories, and taking a break allowed us to do that.”
Each record is an expression of the time and place in which it was created. With Congrats, it was acknowledged that to properly convey that sentiment, it would require more time of honing and crafting within the studio. Because each member now lives in separate cities, new strategies needed to be employed. In some cases, bits and pieces of songs would be created independently by Walsh and Borcherdt and then brought together. “We have a really good creative relationship,” Walsh explains. “He’ll be creating something on his own and I’ll be working on it on my own and they’ll will be totally different but then we’ll meet up and mash all the pieces together and it works somehow.”
After signing with LA-based label Innovative Leisure, Holy Fuck emerged with their first single “Tom Tom.” It’s a growling, muddy, beastly track that reintroduced their indelible sound back into the world. It was followed up by “Xed Eyes,” a song that pounds with a pulsating catharsis. Holy Fuck has constantly been experimenting with new instruments and methods to create their sounds. Nowhere in their canon is the voice more present than on this record. Their most recent single “Neon Dad” is the best example of this. “It wasn’t really a conscious decision to use vocals,” says Walsh. “Adding vocals is just one other element you can latch on to. We’re gonna use it as this other instrument that fills in the spectrum.” That being said, it doesn’t mean that showcasing vocals on Congrats suggests that is the progression Holy Fuck is trending towards. At least, Walsh doesn’t think so: “We still like making weird, gnarly instrumental music.”
Holy Fuck play Sugar Nightclub in Victoria on January 18th, Fortune Sound Club in Vancouver on January 19th, the BIG Winter Classic (at Dickens) in Calgary on January 20th and The Good Will in Winnipeg on January 23rd.BC, BIG Winter Classic, BIG Winter Classic 2017, British Columbia, Congrats, Dickens, Fortune Sound Club, Good Will Social Club, Holy Fuck, Sugar Nightclub