Last October HOLYGRAM released their debut EP, leaving their input on the post-punk universe. A 5 song proem including ‘Daria’, ‘Acceleration’ and ‘Still There’, that gained air play in dedicated radios, often used by Dj’s, acting as their “guarantee” to live stages. And so they did, the band booked some remarkable festivals, proof of their talent that also ported in Last Day Deaf’s sound boxes. Therefore, we made an instructive interview with the band from Cologne that we gladly present you here dear readers…
Hello HOLYGRAM, welcome to Last Day Deaf. Last October you released your first EP, including two songs (‘Daria’, ‘Acceleration’) that made a very good impact on the fans, and made the dedicated media mention your name gaining very positive thoughts. Please introduce yourselves to our readers.
HOLYGRAM was founded in early 2015. We started as a duo but soon realized that we needed a “full” band in order to perform live on stage. HOLYGRAM is our search for a musical representation which is not too much rooted outside our actual lives but is closely related to where we live and what surrounds us as a band and individual beings. The EP follows the loose concept of a soundtrack for a city at twilight. We tried to transport all kinds of different facets that come with living in a big city – loneliness, despair, hope, partnership, memories – whether they are bright or rather gloomy. You might call it the “blue hour”… although you can’t really tell if day turns into night or night into day. It is up to you to dwell on sadness or dance the night away.
On your Bandcamp page you describe your music between new wave, post punk and ndustrial krautrock. What are the influences of the band and how do you manage to “filter” them all?
When we started the band we had a lot of different sounds and bands in mind that inspired us. There is a certain core of musical influences like The Cure or German kraut band NEU! but in the end anything might spark an idea for a song. We “filter” all these things by recording them in our studio, listening to them the next morning and eventually throwing them in the trash. I think that our own taste in music is the best filter after all. If we don’t like it we won’t do it.
You have announced a tour in Germany, are you going to visit other cities outside of Germany too? Any talks to perform in summer festivals or extending your tour?
We are going to play a number of shows in German clubs with bands we really like: TRAITRS, Soft Kill, Fliehende Stürme etc. In autumn we support Turkish goth rockers She Past Away for a couple of nights which is pretty exciting. We are also planning a small tour through France, Spain and Portugal prior to the recording of our debut LP at the end of the year. We recently appeared in festivals such as Gotham Sounds Festival in Hilden, Wave-Gotik-Treffen in Leipzig and Maifeld Derby in Mannheim. We’ve also been added to this year’s Amphi Festival.
Earlier in January you released the official video for ‘Still There’, can you share with us few details in the making of and the names involved in the production?
The video for ‘Still There was produced and edited by HOLYGRAM and filmed in a friend’s rehearsal room. It was super low-budget, actually no-budget-at-all! You can assume that whoever is not in front of the camera is shooting the scene. It follows our attempt to keep the strings in our hands and not end up being the background actors in someone else’s Hollywood-esk idea. Post-Punk.com put it into quite nice words: “a strobed and hazy fugue hiding the band in the anti-image harkening back to The Cure circa 1980-82.”
…And when are we expecting a full length release, or is it early yet to talk about an LP?
We are busy writing new songs and are going to record by the end of the year followed by a release on a not yet specified label. But we don’t really want to rush it right now.
How would you say that new wave and post-punk changed and evolved in years, what differences do you mention between Joy Division or The Fall for example, and HOLYGRAM along with the rest new generation bands that actually revive that glorious style?
Post-punk was a reaction to a certain period of time and reflects the feelings and problems of a generation of young people. It was the rejection of traditional listening habits and identification with new ways of personal expression. The fashion of that time was insane! We can merely look back in nostalgia (and maybe not even understand the motivations) because nowadays everything is possible and impossible at the same time. We will not start a musical revolution but bands like HOLYGRAM can make a statement nonetheless: We are the people! We are the music!
Other present bands and artists you are fond of, enjoying their music and actually are interested in sharing the stage with?
It would be an endless list… Rendez-Vous, ACTORS, Blind Delon, Molly Nilsson, Jakuzi, The Dancing Plague Of 1518, Lea Porcelain, Black Marble, Camera… endless list…
Today a lot of bands and artists emerge and release their music, but how hard is for the new generation to keep on surface, considering that major international labels wouldn’t give a good/decent contract to the new underground names. On the other hand, there is a dedicated core of fans, promoters, independent labels and venues that support the scene, does that work as an inspiration and ‘‘commitment” to you?
When we released our EP in October 2016 via Bandcamp we were overwhelmed by the sudden, massive response from people all over the world. We had messages from people from Peru telling us how much they loved our songs. Within a few days YouTube was “flooded” with fan videos for ‘Still There’ or ‘Daria’ and all we just had to do is upload these five songs on a platform. After one week we had a deal with the Spanish label Oraculo Records who pressed our EP on vinyl. For us it was a proof that we did something right and that there is an exciting audience out there. We didn’t need a major label for this, just the people’s passion for music.
Internet is the perfect tool for spreading art, bringing together people from all over the world, sharing ideas and interacting. How much does that affect the global underground scen, and what do you see will happen in the future when major lobbies will lose their influence to the public?
It will bring good music back to the masses.
Thank you for your time HOLYGRAM, you may end this conversation as you like!
Thanks for getting in touch with us and let’s keep the underground alive.
Photo credits: Yves Christelsohn