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Danny McGrath speaks with HOLYCHILD

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By Danny McGrath

You may know HOLYCHILD’s music from the placement of their song “Running Behind” in the ever-coveted Apple advertisement, or as tourmates with artists such as MØ and Ryn Weaver, but their ironic “Brat Pop” should put them directly in your radar. The Los Angeles based duo, comprised of singer and songwriter Liz Nistico and producer and multi-instrumentalist Louie Diller, formed in 2012 after meeting at George Washington University. They’re currently preparing the release of their second LP, due this Spring.
Their debut album The Shape of Brat Pop to Come, an infectious collection of cutting edge pop music co-produced by pop juggernaut Greg Wells, was released in 2015. Featuring bombastic percussion and sugary vocals, HOLYCHILD creates rebellious pop music that simultaneously delights in and ridicules society’s materialism and hedonism.

Previous gems include early release “Happy With Me” and single “Money All Around”, a glorious takedown of material culture and features cutting synths with a meta, VH1 Pop-up inspired video.

Their new single “Wishing You Away” opens urgently with layers of percussion and Nistico’s vocals, before turning into an rich, anthemic pop track. Despite first masquerading as a playful production, the lyrical subject matter quickly reveals itself as a song about processing domestic abuse. As Nistico writes in notes for the video, its “wrapped in typical HOLYCHILD-fashion, it’s cute but also creepy”.

Read on to learn more about the creation of their most recent releases and what to expect from their next album.

Your new single “Bathroom Bitch” is explosive and defiant. What can you tell us about its origins?
Louie Diller: Liz and I were at our spot at the time in Santa Monica, Liz started with the chorus melody, then I laid down the skeleton of the instrumental and then she delivered the lyric! Wish you could’ve been there. I was speechless when Liz tracked that first verse for the first time lol 🙂

Your first album was called The Shape of Brat Pop to Come. How does your new material elaborate on the “Brat Pop” sound you established there?

LD: Brat pop is ironic/rebellious pop music, see “Bathroom Bitch” 🙂 it’s still got that spirit, but everything from the lyric-to-the-music is less shiny and more raw than the Shape of Brat Pop vibe.

Your recent releases have covered very serious and personal subject matter through pop aesthetics. It seems like you are bending the rules about what a pop song can be about. Is this a conscious decision? What is it about the pop genre that interests you?

LD: I think we’re just reacting to what’s happening around us personally and societally; and expressing that thru music. Also we love accessible art so that likely explains a lot of our musical/artistic tendencies. I wouldn’t say though that it’s always “pop” per se. For instance we have a romantic jazz ballad we released a couple years on Valentine’s Day called, “You On My Mind,” you should check it out! 🙂

In the video for “Hundred Thousand Hearts” you present yourselves and your work within a greater artistic context. What do you think is the main function of your art?

LN: I don’t know, I’m still trying to figure that out. Definitely my art for me is a cathartic experience, and its function is merely the release I feel when I make something. Beyond that I feel cynical. I would like to say it’s to connect with more people, make them feel less alone. But I don’t know if I believe that’s possible today. (Sometimes I do).

In addition to directing your own videos you’ve recently directed for other artists. How has taking on that role been?

LN: I love directing, and I feel that I’ve really grown in that regard over the past year. I’ve done a lot of videos at this point. It’s been fun to put myself in a new role and have a new challenge. But it really strengthened how much music is my favorite art form. I don’t want to be a full-time director, and that was clear last year when I kind of fell into it. I am the kind of person who loves self-expression and it’s fairly easy for me to come up with ideas and concepts if I’m inspired, so personally I always kind of questioned if music was even my calling. It was really obvious in 2018 that that is not where I find the most fulfillment. At this point, I’m taking a little break from directing to focus on myself and HOLYCHILD and just make art for that outlet.

Keep up with HOLYCHILD below:





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