Toronto outfit Holy Fuck play the Rosemount Hotel on Thursday, May 8; The Odd Fellow (formerly The Norfolk Basement) on Friday, May 9, and Groovin The Moo at Hay Park, Bunbury, on Saturday, May 10. Keyboardist and general noisemaker Brian Borcherdt chats to JACOB YOUNG down a crackly phone line.
There’s not much that’s conventional about Holy Fuck.
Whether it’s expressed in their choice of instruments (there are few bands making music with 35mm film synchronisers, for example) or their high-energy, kraut-influenced live show, the band find a way of making unique and just downright fun electronic music without a laptop in sight.
After the release of their third full-length record in 2010 and subsequent touring commitments in 2011, Holy Fuck have toned-down a planned hiatus by writing a new album, doing the odd secret show or international festival, and having babies.
For fans in search of newly recorded material, however, the last few years have been pretty dry. Yet with work in progress on a new record, and an Australian tour currently in progress, the Holy Fuck vehicle seems to be starting up again. As Borcherdt explains, the lack of recent recorded output is at least somewhat deliberate.
“Last time we were on tour we were doing the Harvest festival here in Australia in maybe November of 2011, and I think we really came to the conclusion that we needed time to do our own thing and then work on the record properly. We’ve always made records while touring. Latin (2010) especially was a real document of a band in action, a band on the road. So, we really wanted to have that experience of getting into a studio and writing that way.”
So how is the new material sounding, given that the band have had more than a bit of time to play around with things?
“We have a little bit more variety – I’m playing a lot more guitar. It may not sound like traditional guitar, but in our own way there’s guitar creeping into different tracks. Going out on a limb here, I think it might be kind of heavier and noisier than some of the previous stuff.”
To help fans deal with the wait, Holy Fuck have released an Australian Tour 7”, featuring two new tracks. The idea, Borcherdt says, was to give their audience a bit of a fix to make up for these few years of sonic absence.
“We wanted to do that because it’s been so long since we had anything new, we wanted to be able to show something new for people,” he explains. We’ve got more time to work together as a unit and flesh out ideas in the studio. So I think it’s a bit more of a creative project for us this time around as opposed to documenting a performance.”
This Australian tour sees the band play a national run of Groovin The Moo festival shows, as well as a series of sideshows, including shows in Perth and Fremantle. Asked about the differences between the two types of gig and which he prefers, Borcherdt is reluctant to pick sides.
“I think we’ve been really lucky. I think the style of music we play lends itself really well to the chaos of a festival. Our festivals have been really great, have been really high energy. But then when we do have the chance to play a club show that kind of amplifies a lot of it, because now you have everyone captive and sweaty.”
Once the subject of a captive audience is raised, it’s impossible not to ask Borcherdt about Holy Fuck’s experience on the recent Weezer Cruise – a five-day musical cruise from Florida to the Bahamas headlined by none other than Rivers Cuomo and friends.
“If I were to tell you I went on this cruise, you would probably guess correctly at how it was – it was a lot of fun,” he laughs. “It’s a little microcosm of people that float around on the ocean. These were entirely Weezer fans, so it was a lot of couples in their mid-30s and maybe people leaving their kids at home and going to re-live their nostalgia. But it was also a great audience to play for because they were just… nice. Plus there was a water-slide and you can drink piña coladas.”
Borcherdt uses this of an example of the band’s live show being perfect for drawing in crowds that perhaps might not be familiar with their recorded work.
“We are lucky that we can cross over to different audiences. They weren’t there because they knew who we were, they were there because of Weezer. I feel like were invited specifically to be the party band,” Bercherdt ponders, before adding, ”and hey – that’s not a bad thing to be.”