Musical duo, Timothy Carroll and Oscar Dawson, met as 18-year-old volunteer teachers in South East Asia. After a few years, full of musical longing for one another (we can only assume) they reunited in 2013 to create the band Holy Holy and now grace our earholes with their jams on a regular basis.
The boys have toured sold out performances, both on home soil and internationally, and now they've just released a new string of bangers with their latest album PAINT.
We were lucky enough to have a sneaky preview of the album (it's brill) and were even luckier in getting to chat with Tim who told us about a very sweet introduction to his love of music, offered advice for aspiring musicians and shared his favourite post-gig feed (all filthy millennials will relate to that one, trust me).
Image: Oscar (left), Tim (Right) - Supplied
What's a typical day in your life as a musician?
Well, surprisingly little music playing at the moment. It’s just a series of coffees and emails and phone calls. Most of us in the band have currently got other projects which we do on the side. Obviously, it takes a very long time for the band to be something that you can do by itself. I run a music festival on the side and do some other booking work…as well as organising the band.
A lot of what you do is about music - both Holy Holy and being the creative director of Panama Festival. Can you tell me about when you first fell in love with music? How did you get started?
When I was really young my parents had a cassette of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. I remember putting the headphones on and getting a whole heap of pots and pans in my room and playing drums along with Sergeant Peppers’ and being so lost in that record.
When I was about 16 I would go around to [my friends] house and we would both kind of muck around with guitars and I started dabbling in song writing. I had some other friends who were musicians and [they’d] say, “Oh do you wanna come and do a couple songs before I start?” So I started doing some performing and really enjoyed it… from there I was kind of hooked.
Image: The band (Instagram)
Especially in the early days of Holy Holy, you and your band mate Oscar collaborated while being in different states, sometimes even different countries. What is that kind of separated partnership like?
Well, I had never really known much else. In the beginning, it suited me because I feel like song writing, melody writing and lyric writing are quite personal. It’s kind of like being naked in a way, it’s quite exposing. I could work on my ideas and get them to a point where I was happy to show them. I would record it and send it to Oscar and they would come back with ideas. Together we were kind of able to balance out each other’s weaknesses.
How would you describe PAINT as compared to the previous two albums?
PAINT is more of a record that was made with everybody in the room. When it’s done all together I feel there is a capacity to write songs that feel a bit more coherent and also can be more groovy and rhythmic.
I think it’s probably a bit more expressive and experimental. I guess it’s a collection of songs that reflect a band that has been playing live for the last two or three years.
What advice would you give to young musos, or any creatives, wanting to pursue a career in music or the arts?
One thing that I think is a good, basic premise is not to do any gigs or events that you wouldn't want to go to yourself. Never ask your audience to go to something that if you were sitting at home and heard about you’d be like “that sounds crap.” You want to create an event where you’re like, “That sounds awesome, I want to be there.”
If you take that approach, I find that it’s easier for music to be what it should be, [a] really amazing and celebratory experience.
Many of us have dreams of ‘making it’ in our desired fields. Was there a moment where you thought, “Shit, I’ve done it?”
I was thinking once the record (When The Storms Would Come) was finished, “Well okay, we’ll just release this record, and I don't know what I’ll do after that.” But a whole heap of opportunities opened up. Instead of doing tiny little shows that I had organised myself, [and] doing poster runs late at night along the streets of Melbourne; we were doing these shows that were sold out.
It was really different. But then you are always striving to live up to it, trying to make work that is worthy of people investing in.
Image: Oscar (left), Tim (right) Instagram
Never ask your audience to go to something that if you were sitting at home and heard about you’d be like “that sounds crap.”
How does the reality of working as a professional musician differ to what teenage you thought it might be?
It’s interesting that you use the word “professional” musician. You’re a professional sports person when that’s all that you do. I couldn't really make a living from Holy Holy. You see other bands and you think they’re so big and so successful and you have this idea of what it’s like. I remember when I was on tour with the The Preatures… they said, “Cool, we’re gonna stay in The Ibis, the budget hotel.”
You’re in the cheapest hire car and you’re up at 6am..and away from loved ones for so long. It’s interesting what it can seem like from the outside and what the realities are.
Go-to post show feed?
It’s usually, sadly, a Kebab (side note from the sub-editor: on behalf of the team at TSH, I’d like to counteract this statement. Kebabs are never a sad time).
Considering you met Oscar at McDonald’s, who’s your dream Maccas date?
I’m gonna ignore the fact that it’s at a Maccas, I’d actually quite like to meet Barack Obama.
Supporting Neil Young.
Who is your musical idol?
Which Spice Girl would Oscar be?
I’m going to go with Sporty, she was actually the one who could sing in the band from what I understand.
Can you tell me a bit about the “Painting To PAINT” project?
It’s a series of four videos featuring four different Australian contemporary artists painting to four different songs from the record.
Holy Holy’s new album PAINT is available from February 24th 2017.
You can watch a few teasers from the album here.
Painting to PAINT - James Drinkwater paints That Message.
Daniel is a twenty something living in Sydney. He had to grow a beard so people would stop calling him "ma’am”. When he’s not panicking about bullshit and eating saturated fats, he can be found abusing filters on @daniel_hayek