Interview with indie rock band The Holy
In the summer of 2014 two guys were watching the FIFA World Cup final drunk. During the match they came up with the idea to put together a band. Two hours later there were five members in the band, and the first demo was ready. That is how The Holy came to be. The band was founded on desire to make humongous, noisy songs and to create magnificently large soundscapes with the help of two drummers and a whole lot of roaring guitars. In September the band released their debut full-length album Daughter. Northern Rock Religion talked with Pyry Peltonen (guitar) and Eero Jääskeläinen (drums) about how this album was created, the relationship between the group members and about the possible arrival of the band to Russia.
NRR: Hello guys! Thank you very much for agreeing to talk with Northern Rock Religion. We congratulate you on the release of the debut full-length album! What do you think about the work done?
Pyry and Eero: Hello and thank you, the pleasure is all ours! At the moment we are mostly feeling relieved because the album has been finished, mixed and mastered for a really long time so the wait until release day has been really long for us. But now we are just super happy that it’s out and we can’t wait to play the songs live.
NRR: Why did you choose the title “Daughter” for your first album?
Pyry and Eero: When we wrote the song ”Triumph of Love” where Eetu sings the lyrics “I wanna be somebodys daughter” it felt immediately like the album title. The title summarises the whole lyrical concept of the album and also we feel that the album itself is our daughter so the name came in a way very naturally.
NRR: You released a great music video for the song "Land before time" with Juho Länsiharju. Are you planning to make another video? Which song would you choose for this?
Pyry and Eero: Let’s see what the future brings, at the moment we are mainly focused on getting ready to play really good live shows on tour. We actually do have a couple of names that we would like to work with, so there is always something cooking.
NRR: How long did you work on the album? What problems did you face?
Pyry and Eero: Oh bummer, that’s a hard one. Some of the songs have been with us since the very beginning and some of them were written during our time in the studio. We mainly worked in an old wooden school in the town of Tyrväntö which is near to some of our childhood home town Hämeenlinna. We stayed and lived in the house, set up our own studio and worked on the album so mostly we worked away from everything else by ourselves. Of course it was hard to be apart from our personal lives for several weeks but we think that was a price worth paying in the end.
NRR: Your music is changing with the time. New album has an amazing sound. Refined, harmonious and northerly. What does influence your music and the mood in general?
Pyry and Eero: I think every member of our group has influences that are a bit different in comparison, but maybe our sound and style is a summary of all of them. That’s the way we like to think at least. Finland is also a very dark place with only a few hours of sun during autumn and winter so our songs tend to have a bit of melancholy because of that. Also we think that all forms of art are somehow influenced by how the world stands at the time.
NRR: What song from the new album is your favourite and why?
Pyry: There is a House, because I think it is the most perfectly written story in the album, everything happening in the song supports the progress and the melodies in the end create a perfect ending to the lyrical first part. Also I love how Eetu goes to the high notes in the backround in the end.
Eero: 20xx Tomorrow, I remember when Eetu was recording the vocals for this song in the giant dark room of the school where we were recording at the time and he was almost whispering the first chorus, ’’Where do you want me to stand when you open fire?’’ That moment was just pure magic for me. I’m sure that’s the reason why this song is the most precious for me.
NRR: What is created first: music or lyrics?
Pyry and Eero: The music comes first, at least on this album it did. We don’t honestly have a one certain way of writing music though, so maybe in the future there will be lyrics first. The main thing is to keep evolving and creating new stuff in different ways.
NRR: Do you have any rituals that you conduct before going on stage, for example, to overcome fear or to feel unity? Do you have a fear of performing on stage?
Pyry and Eero: We always gather the group into a circle with hands together right before going on stage but mainly we are five different kind of people before shows. Eetu and Pyry usually change strings to guitars (sweaty hands ruin strings REALLY quickly), Eero and Mikko warm up with drum sticks banging into a chair and Laura wrestles with the drummers. But the main thing is that the connection between us is on immediately when the first note is played which is really unique and cool. We don’t fear anything when we are together.
NRR: How do you maintain good relations between the band members?
Pyry and Eero: We’ve been friends for a long time and we can talk about anything within the group. We also know our personalities very well, the good sides and bad sides (Laura gets really grumpy when she is hungry and Pyry and Eero are assholes when they are tired for example). Since the band was founded there has been much happening in our personal lives and the group has always been there if anyone has wanted to talk about anything. So the base foundation of everything is a really just friendship and the respect we feel for each other.
NRR: In one of his recent interviews, Eetu talked about dystopia. The new album was a way to get rid of heavy thoughts or help reconcile with them?
Pyry and Eero: I think the album was a way for Eetu to handle the stuff he felt and saw during his childhood. There was a great depression going on at the time in Finland and I think writing about the stuff he witnessed during that time was a way to handle the past experiences and let go of them.
NRR: Do you think musical education is important?
Pyry and Eero: I think that depends on what you want to do in the musical scene. Studying music gives you time to focus on just music without anything else going on in your life so that is a powerful tool for pursuing musical career. But we do not think that you necessarily need a school to teach you how to make music, if you are ambitious and decide to do the amount of work needed to make it in the music scene, eventually you will. We like to think that hard work and dedication pays off in the end.
NRR: What makes The Holy so unique?
Pyry and Eero: Laura, Eetu, Mikko, Eero and Pyry. Period.
NRR: Is it hard to find your own place on the music scene in Finland?
Pyry and Eero: At the moment we feel that the music scene in Finland mostly consists of artists singing in our native language. We like to think that we have found our place in the music scene and we can fill up the venues that we like to fill in Finland.
NRR: What are your plans for the near future?
Pyry and Eero: We are going to tour a lot in the near future and also we have already started to write new material for our second album. Let’s see what the future brings, we also want to enjoy the moment right now.
NRR: Do you plan to ever come to Russia
Pyry and Eero: Anytime! We will come as soon as the right opportunity pops up, hopefully sooner than later.
NRR: Thank you for the interview! Good luck on the tour! Will you say something to your listeners in Russia?
Pyry and Eero: Greetings to everyone listening our music in Russia, hopefully we will meet soon! Thank you for listening the album and sending kind words to us.
Interviwed: Tuuli Talvinen