Holy Fuck

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Holy Fuck spin the virtual wheel of chance for their new release Latin

:: Holy Fuck ::
:: Larimer Lounge ::
:: June 12 ::

By Timothy Dwenger

It’s pulsing, majestic, and soaring; intricate bass lines weave seamlessly together with beautiful wordless melodies to create a sonic experience that is unique and thrilling. It’s the music of Holy Fuck and it’s a sound that the indie rock website Pitchfork summed up perfectly when they wrote, “We often say casually that bands are ‘awesome’ without thinking about the true meaning of the word — Holy Fuck actually inspire awe.”

Despite the fact that their “awesome” sound is largely made on cheap keyboards run through a wide array of effects pedals, it is startlingly current. “A lot of the beats that you hear on the record, a lot of the blips and bloops and things are made by little keyboards you could probably find in any pawn shop for a couple bucks,” said Brian Borcherdt when The Marquee caught up with him and bandmate Graham Walsh just after they finished an extended sound check in Manchester, England. “They may very well fall apart midway through the tour and then you’ve got to find another one. But finding these things is part of the fun.”

To listen to their music, which is filled with throbbing beats and swirling electronic bleeps, it’s hard to imagine that there are not huge multi-thousand dollar keyboard rigs and laptops involved.  Borcherdt and Walsh man the keyboards and effects pedals at tables crowded with a snarl of wires and gadgets, and are backed by the rock solid rhythm section of Matt McQuaid on bass and Matt Schulz on drums, who keep the sound anchored and in the more organic realm of electronica.

When the four of these men relatively recently entered a studio that a good friend had built in a converted barn on a farm — about 90 minutes outside their home city of Toronto — the group found the same organic nature that predominated the writing process for their recent release Latin.

With no primary songwriter, Holy Fuck rely on each other to build upon ideas. “It starts with maybe a weird feedback sound and some pulse or some drone or some cool rhythm. Whatever it is, it’s something that we like, that gets us laughing and bobbing our heads and everybody builds their own parts,” said Borcherdt. “It’s fun that way because it is a unique creative project where we get to put those weird sounds into some kind of neat effect and it is sort of like that can drive the song. We build it all around that and you end up with something that is hopefully quite unique.”

Both Borcherdt and Walsh are acutely aware of, and candid about, the potential shock value that the unique name of their band carries with it. “We started this new project, gave it a catchy name and people responded to what we were doing really positively and things started to happen quickly.  We aren’t trying to align ourselves with anything and we aren’t trying to make a big statement. The name is just a name and we want to know that people listen to the music,” said Borcherdt.

Though they admitted that the name has been the cause of some issues, with some promoters and venue owners balking at putting their name in lights or on posters — and a few have even refused to book them — the band doesn’t really feel that the name has gotten in their way too much. “Maybe it’s held us back in some areas but we’ve had so many other things come to us that we never dreamt would be possible. So in that respect, it hasn’t held us back at all,” Walsh said.

One of the biggest things that Borcherdt has noticed is that journalists have tended toward pigeonholing them. “We are finding that people who review our records or come to review our shows are bringing with them a stigma based on the name, and rather than just giving it a proper review they are going to give it a review that compares it to other bands that have the same word in their name. It’s like we are all part of this genre of the f-word bands,” he said.

In a move that was, to many, just as shocking, if not more so, than their name, the band chose to announce their new album through a bizarre webchat site. The seemingly unmoderated site Chatroullette.com pairs webcam users at random and the potential for being shocked by a naked fat man lying on a couch seems inordinately high.

Just about two months before the release date, a message appeared on the site announcing the record and streaming the lead single “Latin America.” While both Borcherdt and Walsh dismissed the stunt as just that, and admitted that they hadn’t heard of many people who were actually linked up with their announcement, the news of how they did it quickly spread around the internet drawing praise for innovation and disgust for the morally questionable nature of the site. “Yesterday I was talking to somebody who heard in an interview that we were on Chatroulette all the time. I had to clear that up immediately and said, ‘No we’ve never really been to that website, nor do we endorse it,” said Borcherdt, before Walsh chimed in with, “Quite simply put, it was a lot cheaper than spelling it out with an airplane in the sky.”

:: Holy Fuck ::

:: Larimer Lounge ::

:: June 12 ::

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