She is baaaaaackkkkk!
Incorporating upbeat, catchy lyrics, ornate percussive beats, and pop vocals, Los Angeles based band HOLYCHILD is on a rapid road to top the charts. With what is referred to as ‘brat pop,’ their songs define the term earworm. The sound of HOLYCHILD reflects a sort of off-the-beaten-path pop that is gaining the attention of many listeners around the globe, not to mention powerhouses like Apple. What is so appealing about the band is their approach. Yes, they create danceable pop music, yet their persona as a group and the meaning behind their music is both intriguing and enlightening. Each track on their EP, Mindspeak, is notable and unique, the same which can be said about HOLYCHILD as a band. Their album, The Shape of Brat Pop To Come, is set to be released on June 2, 2015.
You went to school on the East Coast but are now based in Los Angeles. Do you feel the different cultures of these two places influence your music?
Liz: Yeah, definitely. In general we’re very inspired by places we’ve lived and human nature in the different places. Besides the east and west coast vibe, I also lived in New Hampshire, Italy, Portugal and Nepal and cultural affects are really fascinating to me. I guess we’re always trying to figure out which human actions are innate and which are influenced by culture, media and society.
The two of you met while attending George Washington University. Did you quickly realize there was potential for success when you started playing together or did you have to work on connecting musically?
Louie: The musical connection was pretty immediate. Whether it was the first few songs we wrote (a couple of them actually made the final cut on our album!), or the playlists we’d share with each other, that connection was probably quickest one I have ever had with anybody in my life. On the other hand, there was no original plan, but to just have fun expressing ourselves through music. We started to take our work a bit more seriously when we recorded the first few songs in DC, listened back to them and realized it was something we had to pursue. I think we both knew at that moment it would have been a shame to abandon a project that had that much promise at the start. Definitely happy we stuck at it!
Last year you went on tour with MØ. How was that experience?
Louie: That was probably the best tour we’ve done yet. MØ and her crew were great and the shows were a blast; what more could you ask for?!
I actually attended one of the shows and I thought you complimented each other very well. It was neat to listen to two very different sounds, even though both your music and MØ’s are considered ‘pop’ in one way or another. What audiences do you hope to reach with your music?
Louie: Yeah, thanks! So far our audience has been an interesting mix. I think I can narrow it down to folks roughly 16 – 30 years old and either male or female representing the majority of them. Ultimately to me though I feel like we have the pop + fashion sensibilities of No Doubt/Gwen Stefani mixed with the big beats + social commentary of MIA so I am kind of expecting our demographic to play out as such; but who really ever knows how anything will play out! It’s been a dream to connect with as many people as we have already. For our debut album, I feel like we’re swinging for the fences in the sound, message, scope, etc; and honestly hoping to connect with the world through it. Time will tell how that all goes!
In January you played several shows at The Echo, a renowned venue and nightclub in LA. Have there been any ‘aha’ moments, whether it be while playing a certain show, at a particular venue, or something else?
Louie: Great question! And yes, I had several of them at the Echo residency last month! Not only because we were playing about a dozen new songs from our album live for the first time, but also because we added a handful of new elements to the live show, such as backup singers, dancers, visuals, and more. Moreover we videotaped each show! So every week after our show we would watch back the video tape, listen to the recording, take note on what worked and what didn’t, make adjustments, return the following week, play our set, learn from that, and so on and so forth. Therefore I haven’t felt better about where I live show is at now! I am actually really excited to take it on the road soon so we can share all the new songs, the new show and more with the rest of the world!
You played South by Southwest this year! How was it?
Liz: It was so high and so low. That’s how everything is for me these days! SXSW was no exception. The shows themselves were so powerful and exciting. Somethings in between were a little stressful. SXSW has changed so much over the years, and this was my third time going and I guess I was just expecting it to be similar to other years. It was such a strong learning experience to live without expectations or presumptions. That best part was being on stage with so many amazing people in front of me.
“Happy With Me” a song from the EP Mindspeak has seen a significant amount of success and positive reception. In writing for the EP, did you think this song would become a hit, or did you think other songs would be better received?
Louie: Like most everything we do, we try to suspend all expectations and just take everything one step at a time, enjoy it as much as possible, learn from our mistakes, etc. That includes “Happy With Me,” and how we didn’t really know it was going to take off the way it has. On the other hand, “Happy With Me” was maybe the quickest song we wrote for the MINDSPEAK EP and felt great when writing + producing it. But you still never know how anything will be received until its out. It’s been a blessing to connect with as many people as we have through HOLYCHILD and that song in particular. Can’t wait for people to hear the new stuff on the debut album!
Liz: Thanks. The EP is all discussing the role of the female in our culture. At the time I actually was so depressed that I wasn’t eating, partly out of being too sad and partly out of pressures I felt to look a certain way. I was really interested in using food as imagery because like the female body, it’s something that is seen as coveted in our culture. I like the donut because I don’t really consider it to be sustainable food, like there’s nothing behind it beyond the hedonistic pleasure of eating it. I feel like a lot of women are portrayed that way, like their only purpose is to be eaten up and then discarded. I felt like the donut represented all that in one image, and I was really into using food in photoshoots for that reason as well. It’s so funny, because I sprinkled that donut and made it look so perfect and Louie and our photographer and our friends were like, are you sure you want to do this? The donut is a little weird. And now it’s such a trend it seems. I hope that people think about it in the way I intended, at least subconsciously because I think it’s an interesting discussion to be had.
“Running Behind” your latest single is featured on the first Apple Watch commercial. How has it been having your song recognized on such a wide scale?
Liz: It’s all kind of surreal. At the end of the day, Apple always features really amazing music in their ads so it’s definitely an honor. It’s nice when you work so hard on something to have your hard work recognized in some way. I think everyone can relate to that. So it’s really been a nice bit of momentum this year, especially because our album will be out soon!
Can you tell us a little bit about your upcoming album?
Liz: The album is called The Shape of Brat Pop to Come and we really wanted to create this world of Brat Pop. It’s a genre of music that’s based on pop music, but at the same time it’s thick with social commentary. We like talking about gender roles, power dynamics, our culture’s obsession with beauty, self, fame, money. The album is a journey into this vulnerable world in a pretty accessible way.
This summer the band is set to play several large scale festivals including Firefly Festival in Delaware and Lollapalooza. What are you most looking forward to about all of the upcoming events?
Louie: We are actually not playing Firefly this year (we played it last year!), but we are doing Lollapalooza, Governor’s Ball and a few others. It might sound cliche, but I’m honestly looking forward most to the actual playing. The live show has never felt better and I am really excited to bring it on the road all over the world this year in support of the debut album. Oh, and festivals in particular are always special, since they’re kind of like a reunion with a ton of our music making friends so I’m seeing friends from all over soon!
Are there any comments or thoughts you would like to add?
Liz: Not really! This is so nice to chat with you. Thanks for the questions. We’re really excited for the album to come out in June and it’s just inspiring to touch base on all these thoughts. Hope we can see you on the road!
All images are from the band’s Facebook page
This was released two days ago and I’m just seeing it now because I was on the bus to slacker city. DAMN. MØ is so rad and this song is dope.
I’ve been neglecting MØ lately so here we go. Rad rendition.
As I’m sure some of you may have heard, yesterday MØ performed along side Iggy Azaela on SNL to debut Iggy’s new song, “Beg For It” in which MØ sings the hook. Unfortunately, the performance did not go well. At all. Many reviews are trashing Iggy, but really criticizing MØ’s performance. I watched the show live and MØ did appear to struggle with the environment. Having seen her live twice, and knowing how talented she is and how amazing she sounds live, I find this situation very unfortunate. Her appearance was uncharacteristic (ditched the leggings/sneakers/hockey shirt/crop top/ high ponytail/braid look for a sleek/chic black pants suit and pin straight hair) and she simply appeared unnerved and uncomfortable, but who can blame her. I imagine being on the SNL stage alongside a rapper is a vastly different than playing bars and intimate venues alongside a three-piece band. But hey, Lana Del Rey is infamous for one of the most criticized and unfortunate SNL performances of all time, and look at her now. I sincerely hope a small hiccup like last night does not deter people from listening to such wonderful music. MØ posted this photo on her instagram account this afternoon.
“So…… Yesterday, as some of u might know, I performed alongside @IggyAzaela at @SaturdayNightLive.
I was BEYOND excited (!!!)- but unfortunately I had some technical issues which caused latency on my vocals, and as a result I got confused and my timing was off.
It pains me and I’m SO sad today. But life goes on…
I’m not perfect, never claimed to be, don’t want to be, but yeah, sometimes it sucks to be an anti-hero. What can I say- you have to embrace who you are!
Big love to Iggy Azaela and her team who’ve nothing but supportive and amazing!!
You do you girl. It’ll all work out.
Quite possibly the best lack-of-explanation for a song ever created.
Also, if you ever noticed MØ’s tattoo that looks like the ghost from Pac-Man, it’s actually an ode to Pussy Riot. I don’t want anyone to spend too long questioning why she would have such a strong love for Pac-Man.
Sometimes the world feels like a very small place. After coincidentally being in the same place at the same time on multiple occasions, budding singer-songwriter Loper and I finally stumbled into one another. Who is Loper? He is a teenager from the Philadelphia area with vocals that sound strikingly similar to many prominent artists currently reigning at the top of the electronic/synth/pop realm. Completely on his own, Loper is managing to make a name for himself, playing shows in the suburbs of Philadelphia and continuing to blaze forward with a fervor for music. Loper and I had the chance to talk about his music and what he hopes to learn and achieve in the future.
What initially sparked your interest in music?
I started out at age 4 in a professional theater company doing musicals so I guess I’ve just always been interested but I only started writing songs at 14.
Who would you say your biggest influences are, both in music and general?
I’ve always listened to a lot of jazz so like Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald are definitely major influences but some more modern influences would be MØ, Alt-j, Lorde and Jessie J.
How is it working on your first official EP?
It’s crazy watching the songs I plucked out on my piano in my room become real. The process is slow but rewarding. I wish I could be in the studio making music 24/7 but sadly that’s just not realistic but overall it’s been a blast.
What has the reaction to “Poppin Pills” been like?
People seem to really dig it. I barely did any promo for it and it got a great response in my opinion. When I sang it at my most recent show everyone knew the words which was a little nuts. You never really think that the words you’re singing at the keyboard next to your bed will ever be sung by other people, or at least I never did.
I can hear similarities to a lot of musicians such as James Blake, Sam Smith, and Troye Sivan in your music. Do you begin working on a song with a particular sound in mind or does it evolve as the process progresses?
I normally start with lyrics after which I kind of wrap the piano around it and then the full produced version just kind of falls into place in my head. I never really know where I’m going with stuff until it gets there and then all I have to do is flush it out. Also those comparisons make me happy because those are artists I love and respect a whole bunch.
What do you hope to accomplish within the next few years?
I honestly would just like to promote this upcoming EP as long as its relevant to me, maybe tour it if it gets to that point and then hopefully I’ll be in a place in my career where I’m able to record a full LP and maybe by then I’ll have a bigger following. Those are my hopes n’ dreams anyway.
If you could tour with any three musicians, who would they be and where would be you most want to play?
Lorde, Tove Lo and probably Thomston. All three are in my lane and all three seem like hella cool people. I would love to go play AU & NZ. They seem like they have a great appreciation for live performance down there.
A while ago I had returned home from a concert and my Dad asked me ‘if I had gotten my money’s worth.’ Having seen MØ twice now, once in May and then again a few days ago, I simply cannot think of a more appropriate saying. I first saw MØ in a venue with a capacity of 340 people. The venue I saw her in most recently could hold up to 1,000 people. Prior to this leg of her North American tour, MØ had played various festivals in Europe for thousands of people. Despite the minuscule venue in May and the underwhelming turnout in Philadelphia a few nights ago, MØ performed as if she were playing Reading and Leeds or Coachella. This is the driving force that will thrust MØ forward in the music industry.
The musical accompaniment on her tracks tend to be very powerful, yet MØ’s voice compliments it. Her soulful voice is captivating, even when she is in the audience, or crowd surfing (both which happened on multiple occasions). She is 100% authentic, without feeling a need to provide glitz or glam. Her outfit choices, typically leggings, sneakers, and a T-shirt speak to that, yet her artistic vision elevates her shows to something extraordinary. At each show there is a screen on the back wall with a film loop of MØ in black and white projected on it. Like MØ this idea is simple yet entrancing. The energy she has is unlike any other, it seems as though she has been performing forever, when in reality she has not been performing in these environments for very long. Whether you are MØs biggest fan or do not know a single word to any of her songs, it is impossible to leave her concert feeling as though the experience was lackluster. I have attended my fair share of concerts, and what I said before I will say again, she puts on one of the most enthralling, entertaining, and exciting shows I have ever witnessed.
Dust Is Gone
No Mythologies To Follow
Waste Of Time
Never Wanna Know
Walk This Way
Say You’ll Be There (Spice Girls)
Don’t Wanna Dance