Andrew H. Walker, Getty Images Nine days after the deadly tornado that touched…
- Posted on Mar 8th 2010 11:30PM by Drew Berner
But those who have gotten past the profanity have discovered stunning, and often beautiful soundscapes. The band strives towards electronic dance music, but uses the least conventional means possible to achieve their ends. You won't find any laptops in their stage setup -- instead they use everything from ray guns to toy keyboards run through a pile of guitar effects pedals, all centred around an ancient film synchronizer.
The output is decidedly psychedelic, but the use of live bass and drums keeps the Holy F--- ship from coming completely unmoored. The band plans to release their second full-length album in the coming months, but they'll be heading to SXSW to test out a few new tracks first.
Describe your sound in your own words.
Chaotic, electronic... noise. Fun?
Tell me about how the band got together.
We got together initially as a side-project -- we all had our serious sort of 'alt-rock' bands, for lack of a better term, and this formed as something to do [that was] different, like a fun way of stretching our creativity with no real intention for it to go anywhere. But lo and behold...
What musical, and non-musical, influences do you have?
Anything and everything -- it's like any art, really. I don't know, that's always a tough question 'cause I can't really say, "I'm honestly inspired by, like, old New York noise albums." We listen to tons of different styles of music and anything [can] spark an idea. Even sounds heard in nature, anything can be inspirational. That's the one thing I really like about this band is there's no little compartment that everything needs to fit into. It's like a whole machine that you run stuff through -- you take this little seed of an idea and you run it through the 'Holy F--- machine' and this thing comes out, that seed can be anything, really.
What's the story behind the band's name?
That just sort of demonstrates our jackass sense of humour. [There's] no real heavy meaning, no political statement being made -- it was just a fun side project. I think Brian [Borcherdt] thought it would be hilarious. I don't know you're familiar with the Wavelength series of shows in Toronto, but we imagined the flyers that would go out every month and thought, "oh man, wouldn't it be hilarious to have a band on it called Holy F---?" And I think Brian made a mixtape early on of all this crazy, distorted drum machine noise and afterwards he pulled the tape out and wrote "Holy F---" on it.
Has the name ever caused problems for you?
Yeah, it has, but it's all relative. Its problems, if you want to call them problems, they're miniscule compared to a lot of other things we've done that have been very positive and amazing that we never would have expected to happen. I don't really dwell too much on the negative stuff. Our band name doesn't get printed sometimes and I think there was like an iTunes stage at a show in London that we couldn't do because of our name. But oh well! I understand it of course, it's got the F-word in it so it's gonna cause problems, but it's hard to know what kind of opportunities we maybe missed out on when we've had so many that have been well beyond our expectations. Who knows, maybe we could have had a chance to play a late night talk show or something and really gotten huge, but we couldn't because we have a swear word in our name.
What's your biggest vice?
We all have a lot of vices, I guess. As a band, Thai food is something that we always have to have and always gravitate towards. It's kind of lame, but we're addicted to that.
What would you pack in your SXSW survival kit?
I would pack a lot of water and earplugs, I think that ought to do. Maybe some sort of stimulant to keep you going, 'cause there's going to be a lot of things to do. And patience for when you're lined up for hours to go and see this one band that everybody wants to go and see.
What's your musical guilty pleasure?
I'm going to have to take credit for this on my own and not apply it to the band because they'd be embarrassed, but one of the bands that I do like that I'm embarrassed to tell people that I like is Steely Dan. Brian actually hates them, like really hates them, so Brian doesn't endorse this answer. It's not like I'm the craziest fan or anything, but they're one of those groups that people love them or hate them.
What's the craziest thing you've seen or experienced while on tour?
There's been a lot of crazy things that have happened to us. There's two ways I could go with this -- I could go with the cliched van crash story where we totalled our van on the highway in Ohio, or I could go with the amazing, super-crazy stage invasion in Barcelona.
What's the story behind the stage invasion?
That's probably the best one. It was 5:30 in the morning, I think our set was between 4:30 and 5:30 in the morning at the Primavera Sound festival. We were kind of nervous because we were playing at 4:30 in the morning, but sure enough, I don't know what it is about that culture but it was insane -- people would just stay up all night and freak out -- so there was upwards of 5,000 people at our stage.
Finally, in the middle of 'Lovely Allen' a kid hopped a barrier -- and this is like a big festival stage and there's that big gap between the barrier and the stage -- he hops the fence, gets past security and climbs up on stage and starts jumping around. We're like, "Cool, somebody got on stage!" And then right after that another guy got up on stage, and then another person, and then another person. And then finally after about a minute it was just a non-stop rush -- security was powerless, they couldn't do anything -- and it was just a sea of people rushing the stage and helping each other up. I think there was somewhere between 200 and 300 people on the stage with us -- Brian and I couldn't play anymore, Matt, our bass player couldn't play anymore, and it just descended into noise and nonsense.
People were jumping up and down and trying to steal gear off our tables... I brought my digital video camera on stage -- it was like a $1,500 camera in a case with lenses -- and that got stolen. But it was still probably one of the greatest live moments I've ever experienced -- the excitement and the energy and the craziness behind it.