MUSIC

Holy Holy's Tim Carroll talks Hello My Beautiful World and the magic of being a multi-tasking dad

COLOURFUL MIX: Holy Holy's Oscar Dawson and Tim Carroll have created a cinematic slice of synth-pop on Hello My Beautiful World.

COLOURFUL MIX: Holy Holy's Oscar Dawson and Tim Carroll have created a cinematic slice of synth-pop on Hello My Beautiful World.

HOLY Holy's Tim Carroll must have looked like a hairy Laurie Lawrence or Dean Boxall as he prowled the perimeter of a swimming pool in Launceston armed with a clipboard and pen.

Inspiration can come at the strangest of moments. Experience has taught Carroll, that when it arrives, it can be fleeting. It's difficult to recall.

So after a neighbourhood jog while listening to a Holy Holy demo sparked a spate of lyrical creativity, the father-of-two wasn't about to let his children's planned trip to the local pool interrupt his flow.

In true multi-tasking fashion, this modern dad combined work with parental duty.

"My kids were in the pool with their goggles on and I had my headphones on listening to the strings, and as I was walking around the pool ensuring they weren't drowning, I was sketching," Carroll says over Zoom from his porch in Launceston.

The words Carroll was furiously sketching became the lyrics of Hello My Beautiful World, the spoken-word title track from Holy Holy's fourth album.

"What I wanted to do was to write a poem that covered every aspect of what this world is," he says. "So light, heat, and distance and time. I was trying to cover everything as a theme.

"I ended up with this long bit of paper with all these ideas and then I remember I went home and I couldn't find it. I called the pool and was like, 'did you find a piece of paper on a clipboard'? They were like 'no', and I found it in the car.

"I worked on the rhyme pattern and did a bunch of different versions and I recorded that version."

The finished product, backed by cinematic strings arranged by Brisbane's Toby Alexander, forms a stunning centrepiece of Holy Holy's boldest statement yet.

Holy Holy - How You Been

Across three albums - When The Storms Would Come (2015), Paint (2017) and My Own Pool Of Light (2019) - Carroll and his bandmate Oscar Dawson, have evolved their sound from '70s-style classic rock to synth pop while increasing their fan base through break-out singles True Lovers and Teach Me About Dying.

It's naturally seen the tour venues grow from pubs to theatres. Hello My Beautiful World sees Holy Holy display their unashamed ambitions to leap into arenas on a wave of anthemic and cinematic tunes.

"Over the lifetime of the band we've found ourselves playing bigger venues and bigger festivals, so when you start to do that you start to notice what songs work in that setting," Carroll says.

"There's a certain mechanics in songwriting and I guess it exists around tempo and kick-drum patterns. Music approaching dance music is the music, if you're playing to big crowds, that gets big reactions.

"We have a couple of songs in our set like Teach Me About Dying, True Lovers and the Lorde song [Green Light] we did for [triple j] Like A Version. We play these songs and see the reaction in the crowd and we were kind of like, 'let's make a whole album of that kind of music.'

"We were approaching it wanting to have certain BPMs [beats per minute] at the base of when we were starting ideas. Let's make the beat this, let's try a four-to-the-floor kick pattern as the fundamental thing and then let's do what we always do which is play around with melody and lyric and story."

Like all music made over the past 18 months, the pandemic had a profound impact on the record. While the album title originated from something Carroll's son uttered on opening his bedroom curtains one morning, it came to mean something very different to the duo.

Carroll says it continues the band's obsession with blending optimism and melancholy.

"Maybe it was the fact my son, who was four at the time, [said it and] it's got this naivety and truth and beauty to it," he says.

"As an adult hearing it you have more of a cynicism and maybe more of an awareness of the state of the planet and world.

"That sits behind and beneath the album title as well. It is a statement of 'hello my beautiful world' and this shadow of what we all know what it's like to live in this world at this time."

Hello My Beautiful World also opened Holy Holy to new levels of collaboration. Due to the fact that Carroll and Dawson were producing and mixing the album themselves, they wanted additional voices in the creative process.

OPPOSING STATES: Holy Holy recorded some of the music separately due to the pandemic shutting the domestic borders.

OPPOSING STATES: Holy Holy recorded some of the music separately due to the pandemic shutting the domestic borders.

Melbourne electronic producer Japanese Wallpaper added his sonic textures across the album, while Melbourne rapper Queen P and NSW South Coast indie band Clews sang on Port Rd and The Afterglow respectively.

Kim Moyes of Sydney electronic legends The Presets even co-wrote The Afterglow.

Before the pandemic started Holy Holy had 15 demos, and despite Carroll being used to be being separated from the Melbourne-based Dawson, their progress stalled.

Carroll initially thought the pair could complete the album in isolation, but it became apparent the real magic was ignited when they were together.

Just like it was back in 2011 when then Stockholm-based Carroll invited Dawson to collaborate during a visit to Sweden.

"Sometimes when we were creating separately it felt more like we were chipping away at something," he says.

"It was hard to get lost in the music. Whereas when we're together I might be doing a vocal take and Oscar is doing a bass take, we're right behind each other.

"You can feel each other's creativity influencing each other."

Holy Holy's Hello My Beautiful World is released on Friday.

Holy Holy are scheduled to tourthe Torquay Hotel (November 11); Pier Hotel, Frankston (November 12); UC Refectory, Canberra (November 17); Waves, Wollongong (November 18); Civic Theatre, Newcastle (November 19); Enmore Theatre, Sydney (November 20) and Albert Hall, Launceston (December 21).

This story Holy Holy follow beautiful inspiration on new album first appeared on Newcastle Herald.