interview: HOLY

interview: HOLY

words: Kat Harding

Sweden’s HOLY released his sophomore album, All These Words Are Yours, in late January and we wanted to make sure you didn’t miss it. HOLY, otherwise known as Hannes Herm, put out the album on the ever-cool PNKSLM Recordings, having produced, mixed, and recorded the album with Martin Ehrencrona in Stockholm. The trippy release features plenty of psychedelic nods to the 1970s, that specific indie piano jamming of the Ben Folds era, and hazy vocals that pull you in. Herm’s sister gave him a copy of the book All These Worlds Are Yours: The Scientific Search for Alien Life, inspiring the title of the album. After moving from Umeå to Stockholm, Herm dealt with feelings of isolation and wondered where he fit in. An outsider in his new home, he channeled his feelings into the album, creating an inviting work that should remind us all while we might feel lonely, it’ll pass. Put this album on, snuggle up on the couch, and relax.

I caught up with Herm via email while the album was dropping. He tells me about songwriting, advice for musicians, and more!

Tell us about your songwriting process?

I’ve realized that my songwriting process is a process in itself. It’s something that’s always changing, as my opinion and knowledge about music is something that is in constant motion. But for “All These Worlds Are Yours” the process was somewhat complicated, haha. No part of the song was permanent until the very end. So I kept on changing the songs, both in their form and in their arrangement, until I felt that the song wouldn’t be better by being changed, that it would just be different.

What's your favorite song on the album and why?

I actually don’t have an opinion of any of my songs. I haven’t listened through the whole album since it was released.

I'm very fond of "Dreaming Still" - tell us about that song.

Dreaming Still is both the oldest and the youngest song on the album. Parts of it are like 4 years old. Other parts I wrote in the studio. And I remember writing some of the melodies and lyrics by playing the song backwards and then trying to make sense of what I heard. I guess that’s why the song has a kind of scattered vibe to it.

What's your advice to new musicians?

Don’t define yourself by what you have accomplished.

I recently met the PNKSLM folks - what's it like working with them?

I love them. So thankful for the time and space they gave me to work on “All These Worlds Are Yours”. The things we do together is always built on a mutual love and trust, which I feel is really rare to come over these days.

What are you listening to lately?

After recording the album I’ve found myself going back to like really simple, easy stuff. Like Townes Van Zandt or like a group of throat singers called Huun-Huur-Tu.