SINCE the release of their 2015 debut album When The Storms Would Come, Holy Holy have been the constant shape-shifters of the Australian indie scene.
On each album - whether it be Paint (2017), My Own Pool Of Light (2019) or last year's Hello My Beautiful World - there's been a concerted push towards progression.
The duo of vocalist Tim Carroll and guitarist Oscar Dawson might have announced themselves as a rock-inspired guitar band, but they've morphed into something more eclectic.
Hello My Beautiful World made use of sweeping orchestral arrangements from Toby Alexander, electronic samples and synths from Japanese Wallpaper, and vocal collaborations with indie band Clews and rapper Queen P.
Carroll explains that he and Dawson have always subscribed to the theory that "mediocrity is the biggest enemy to creativity."
"I think it's somewhat miraculous that Oscar and I throughout the years have constantly moved in unison with the kind of music we wanted to make," Carroll says.
I think it's somewhat miraculous that Oscar and I throughout the years have constantly moved in unison with the kind of music we wanted to make.- Tim Carroll
"We never wanted to make the same record twice. For me, I almost had to unlock these levels to get to the next stage. It was such a learning process for me.
"On the first record it was all I knew. I had no other idea how to make music. So it wasn't a choice."
The chances Holy Holy took on Hello My Beautiful World have paid off. It was the third most popular album among with triple j listeners in 2021, five tracks featured in the Hottest 100 and it earned a ARIA nomination for best rock album. The title song, which is a spoken-word track, was also nominated for the inaugural Environmental Music Prize.
Carroll believes Holy Holy's growth as a band has been driven by Dawson's rise as a producer.
Dawson has produced a raft of artists including his wife Ali Barter, Alex Lahey, Wollongong's Bec Sandridge, Newcastle band Vacations, British India and Busby Marou.
"Oscar has been on such a journey as a producer," Carroll says.
"When we started he was producing his own band, but while Holy Holy has become a bigger band, his reputation as a producer has grown and now he's making really important records in the scene.
"Holy Holy has benefited from that because he can put all that into this project."
Holy Holy are mid-way through their national tour, which has seen the band progress to the largest venues of their career such as Adelaide's Thebarton Theatre and Newcastle's Civic Theatre. In the response Holy Holy have upgraded their lightning production and introduced on stage collaborations with Clews, Queen P and Hayley Mary.
"It's interesting being on the fourth album now and putting together a set list we think people are gonna enjoy, because everyone has a different song or record that's their favourite thing," Carroll says.
"It's pretty eclectic and we're picking from the whole catalogue. There's a few moments that we're performing from the new album that have gone down as well as I hoped.
"I remember writing sections in the studio and imagining what the live reiteration of it would be like and it's satisfying seeing it come to fruition and hear the ripple through the audience when different songs start."
However, Carroll admits it's been difficult stepping up into larger venues at the same time the music industry is bouncing back from two years of restrictions.
"It's a crazy time to make decisions like that because the whole scene and industry, so much has happened to it in the last few years," he says.
"I think the trajectory we were on before, you have to reassess now in this new kind of landscape where people are unsure whether it'll go ahead and people are needing to isolate.
"It's been interesting in these [bigger] rooms, but we've enjoyed it."
Holy Holy have also cast their minds to album No.5, after spending three days in a Brisbane studio recently to plot fresh ideas.
"We threw ideas at the wall in a very shoot-first-ask-questions-later kind of way," Carroll says.
"I feel like that's something Oscar has been encouraging us to do; to not start judging ideas too early, if something feels cheesy, or obvious or too crazy.
"Often the best moments and the parts of songs you love, those are the ones that feel uncomfortable when you write them because that feels like something."
Holy Holy play Torquay Hotel (May 26); Pier Hotel, Frankston (May 27); UC Refectory, Canberra (June 2); UniBar, Wollongong (June 3) and Civic Theatre, Newcastle (June 4).
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