It's unfortunate that some people can't seem to get past Holy Fuck's name. If they learned to, they would find a band that makes great electronic music without the use of electronics. Keeping it old school is one of the many things Holy Fuck are good at. They're also good at what they do (music), as well as being great friends and generally cool dudes.
After the band's show at Bottom of the Hill February 29 for Noise Pop, the four members (Graham, Brian, Matt, Brad) and I trekked upstairs to the green room and talked about the great variety of things that keep the band going. Among them are friendship, spontaneity, and what they claim is the ultimate wonder food: pita and hummus.
You guys have so much energy onstage. How are you not dead by now after touring for so long?
Brian: Nachos, hummus. Hummus is the wonder food of the world. If we didn't have hummus on this tour we wouldn't get this far. Actually I have some on my table.
Graham: That's the best thing about playing with tables. I used to play guitar, but with tables, you can keep a lot of stuff up there. Pencil holder, stapler... Brian's doing his taxes up there. Actually, we're playing a really long game of Risk. Travel Risk; you can get it.
B: I think we should bring Battleship up there. We can have the audience help us by yelling out positions.
How long did it take to get the chops down to improvise onstage?
G: This far? Three years. But it's still a challenge ever time. Tonight was pretty good, but I screwed up one song because my keyboard wasn't in tune. I thought you were playing this note (makes gesture of fingers on fret board) as the root, but you were actually playing this one. So I got all messed up. I made it up.
B: Well, three years in and we still don't know what key some of our songs are in.
G: You still don't even know what the root note is.
B: I don't know what a root note is at all.
G: It's part of a plant. A musical plant.
So, you do go onstage planning to work off specific songs.
B: Yeah. We've been doing that setlist long enough now that we need to start changing it up. But inevitably, we'll have to switch it up drasticall,y which will make it worse because our drummer Brad, who is running around right now totally liquored up, that was his last show with us this tour and for the rest we have a new drummer. Our relief pitcher, Matt Schultz is coming in tomorrow.
G: This is where I should use some horrible metaphor about the “spice of life” or the “rich tapestry of colors.” It's going to be really weird because we play tomorrow with a different drummer.
B: Yeah, and we have a brand new setlist. We're going to have to make it interesting to cover up the fact that we'll be screwing up a lot. Graham's going to do some juggling, and our sound guy can play some surf music. Matt's going to be like “I leave for six months and this is what happens?”
You must have to practice a lot, then.
So your practice is on stage?
G: We don't have time to practice any other way.
B: Much to our chagrin. We're so busy. I've got tons of dinner dates...
Matt: Brian actually has no dates.
G: Seriously, though, if we practiced, it would suck. We would be boring. It would be frustrating, too. We would nail something totally cool during practice, but no one would hear it besides us.
B: We never want to have too much fun just making music with each other because the audience isn't there to enjoy it. We don't want to have too much fun playing for each other.
There were a lot of cameras tonight. Is the band producing a DVD or something?
B: No, that happens everywhere we go. [Long pause]
Entire band: [Uproarious laughter]
G: We wish that happened to us! Maybe one day. For now, the marquees can wait.
When I saw you open for Wolf Parade last September, I remember Hadji (of Wolf Parade) came onstage and played with you guys. That seems to happen a lot, the band's members changing -- what do you like about it?
B: We like it a lot because we get a chance to work with some great musicians. The weird thing is that we haven't yet gotten A Place to Bury Strangers to play with us yet. When we started “Lovely Allen” I was looking for James [of APTBS, who opened at the show].
G: I think the other thing is that if we didn't get new faces constantly we might get kind of self-indulgent. There will be plenty of time for that later.
B: Hopefully our new drummer will help us prevent that, though we've got a lot of this tour left. I keep telling myself “May's almost here” but it never is. So far away...
You're going to need a lot of pita and hummus then.
B: Yeah, maybe a hummus gun. Our sound guy will stand at the edge of the stage, and since we can't really grab anything ourselves, he'll just shoot hummus at us.
G: But then we'd need something to catch it with... a pita hat. I think we should make those.
Are you looking forward to the rest of the tour?
B: Well, I guess. It's been pretty good so far, but when we went to Mexico, I got bitten by a bunch of spiders. Or maybe it was just one living in my mattress. Hopefully that kind of thing won't happen again.
M: We went to great lengths to preserve our safety on this tour. A lot of it involved complicated putting on and taking off of snow tires.
B: Actually I've got a cold right now. It's gone through the entire band, and I'm the last one. Maybe I got it from the candy Graham gave me the other day. I think they might have actually had flu in them. Little jelly candies filled with disease. We should call them FluJubes.
G: Yeah! Mucus-filled FluJubes. People would buy those, right?
M: Aw, Graham! That was unnecessary. Let's never make those.