INTERVIEW

“WHEN ARRIVING IN NEW YORK CITY it’s instantly clear that it’s like no other metropolis on the planet. The buildings appear as tall and shiny as you knew they would, the yellow taxi cabs dominate the six lane avenues in the vast quantities that you’d expected on the plane and Hot Dog vendors really do […]

“WHEN ARRIVING IN NEW YORK CITY it’s instantly clear that it’s like no other metropolis on the planet. The buildings appear as tall and shiny as you knew they would, the yellow taxi cabs dominate the six lane avenues in the vast quantities that you’d expected on the plane and Hot Dog vendors really do stand on every corner, usually outside a Gap store or, in December, next to a street Santa, ringing a bell. It’s a postcard town that lives up to every one of its stereotypes, more so than LA, Paris and our beloved London. And the never-ending expansion and evolution of the NYC music scene is no exception. Yes, since you-know-who, and before, Gotham has continued to produce bands that we can’t get enough of. So here’s another soon-to-be-Empire-State-Building-sized quartet who prove that New York hasn’t finished giving yet. And just as we were about to shrug, ‘Another New York band? So what?’

“Yeah [coming from New York] is like a double edged sword,” begins Holy Hail co-founder, vocalist and guitarist, Cat. “It has worked in our favour. It gives you competitiveness. You know that there’s always loads of stuff happening all the time. Like, your friends are always starting bands and you go see them and it’s like, ‘wow, they’re really good and they’re doing something really different.’ It pushes you. But at the same time it’s easy to get lost in the city. You open up Time Out and every night of the week there’s a shit load of stuff that you’d want to do.”

Adverting the gaze of New Yorkers from the pages of Time Out however is something that Holy Hail are beginning to master. Their hometown following seemingly grows with every live show they play and Cat is the first to admit that sharing bills with The Gossip, The Rapture and Klaxons has helped. Still, even if you find yourself second on a running order to only The Strokes it’s worthless without solid material that supports your opportunity, and solid material is one thing that this quartet are in no lack of.

“The Trash description of what we sound like is my favourite,” says Cat, finding it difficult to surmise the Holy Hail sound herself. “It was, ‘Gospel-hop-electro-country, punctuated with the odd piercing scream.’ We definitely fuse a lot of that together.”

Allow us to translate. In short, if Holy Hail were to play on the dream bill, beside contemporaries who are currently experimenting with rock and dance sounds in the same ways as themselves, CSS would no doubt headline, Friendly Fires could very well open and Bonde Do Role would almost definitely be involved to boot. And, as the filthy bass line on current single ‘Born A Star’ suggests, The Gossip would also play a secret slot. This would be Holy Hail keyboardist Kevin’s input, a man who is Cat’s fellow co-founder and responsible for bringing the punk rock to the bands otherwise disco house beats and melodies. It sounds like quite a party and is in fact one that was partly realised when the band last brought their electronic scanning pop/rock over to London.

Sharing a stage with Friendly Fires, who on that particular night at 100 Club were also supporting New Young Pony Club, Holy Hail impressed to such an extent that NYPC have since invited the band to open on their entire June tour. “I guess that means those UK gigs went well,” giggles Cat.

Studio wise, the band have released just the one limited single in the UK. ‘Born A Star’ is a spoken word disco groove that’s slowly nudging ‘Let’s Make Love And Listen To Death From Above’ from every turntable it’s been glued to for the last six months. So you’ve gotta go and buy it, right? Well, yes, but if it’s the vinyl copy you’re after (as opposed to download), eBay will be your best bet. All 1000 12″ copies sold out within two weeks.

So New York seems to have delivered again. But while being a product of the city has admittedly inspired Holy Hail to form and fight, our advice is to listen with an open ear, regardless of the fact that this bunch possess stereotypical New York excitment, style and brilliance.

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