Ahead of their upcoming national tour, Holy Holy front man Oscar Dawson sat down to chat about the state of live music, Aussies doing well and Liam Gallagher.
HAPPY: How’s everything going? How’s life?
OSCAR: Life’s pretty good yeah! 2016 new year, here we are, just getting back on deck. We got a tour coming up, six dates mainly capital cities and then Newcastle? Where are you based?
HAPPY: I’m in Melbourne, you are too right? How do you find Melbourne being a musician?
OSCAR: Well I grew up in Melbourne so I don’t really know any different, it’s kind of hard to compare it to anywhere else for that reason, but most people say Melbourne is pretty good if you are a musician? I feel like it is a great place for music. Lots of local music happening, most of the people I hang out with are in the music world, as a result of that it might be over represented. But yeah in my group of friends they are all in bands, or starting bands. The Australian economy helps with pursuing music too.
HAPPY: It’s one of those places, where there is a lot going on, and I feel at least the Victorian government has the music industry’s back here, as opposed to poor NSW.
OSCAR: I read something about the government having a slush fund, which means they could either subsidise the input of venues into populated areas, by sound proofing or something. I can only assume it’s a positive step. But a part of me feels like you shouldn’t need to sound proof it. The venue has been there for long enough. I guess with the increase of population, living near live music can disturb the peace.
HAPPY: I think it’s kind of funny, a venue could be there for ages and in five years, three dickheads could move in round the corner and complain their ass off.
OSCAR: Well Victoria has a law where it’s like whoever was there first has the right of way. I know there has been instances where people can’t complain because the venue was there first.
HAPPY: So where has been your favourite venue to play? Anywhere?
OSCAR: Playing at the Sydney Opera House is pretty much special, we did that with Boy and Bear and we are going to do that again with Vance Joy in April, that was a real privilege. It almost felt too nice. For what we do I felt like we weren’t going to get the best sound for us. I like Howler, and we are playing Corner soon I think that’ll be more my vibe, I always enjoy those gigs.
HAPPY: Melbourne has a lot of good spots to play, I love the Northcote Social Club.
OSCAR: Yeah it does, equally the Newtown Social Club is great too. And the smallness is great but they really go to a good effort in creating a good sound quality. They both have great systems, and they treat the place nicely. Likewise, with Howler, the PA is so great and you just feel comfortable knowing it.
HAPPY: So in terms of new music, I’m going to assume you have more new music? Full length?
OSCAR: Ah well eventually, don’t know if it’ll happen this year, we have been writing but writing is just something that happens, we don’t force it. So no rush, we will just play them live more. I’d like to be putting out a new song in the second half of this year. I really hate the idea of taking like three years off.
HAPPY: Yeah I had a similar chat with Boy and Bear about taking time off, and how people will just forget about you if you take too much time.
OSCAR: I mean it’s possible for someone like Adele to do it, but probably wouldn’t work for us. But also when a band take two years off they are usually writing and working on a record and a year turns into a year and a half, turns into two years, turns into three, I can see how that happens. But I really think we won’t do that. But you can’t control it. You just got to let the writing guide you, and get the good natural sound you want. But yeah there is a part of it that isn’t up to us to decide.
HAPPY: Do you have any tricks to stay creative?
OSCAR: What like fucking meditate or bungee jumping?
HAPPY: Just movies or books or whatever.
OSCAR: Ah most often that happens naturally, I draw a lot of inspiration from just life, just living is the most tangible thing for me. How I’m eating, or sleeping, people around me. And then a few months later there might be some music that might not have had anything to do with anything at the time but in hindsight I know what I was referring to in that part of my life. A lot of the time nothing might come out, or you might write something that turns out to be shit. You got to go through that. It’s all about just having the time.
HAPPY: I really understand that, even myself, I can’t just do or see something and say okay I’ll write about that. You really can’t force it!
OSCAR: Yeah yeah, you can’t just be like “I’m gonna write about this” it won’t come out right, every time I try write a song in a certain vein it hasn’t come out very good.
HAPPY: So, what was a standout Australian album for you in the last year?
OSCAR: Yeah it’s been a realty good time for Aussie music, I’m so bad at answering this, I spend too much time doing my own shit I forget to listen to people. I really do think Kevin Parker is just consistently great especially from the view point of tone and a colour of music. The style he has and vision he creates really stands out. The Drones released a great song last year Taman Shud. It blew my mind with an awesome video clip, it’s pretty heavy actually. It was a real statement. Methyl Ethyl and Ainslie Wills, they both do great music, I bet when I finish this conversation a million people will come to mind.
HAPPY: Are you a fan of Gang of Youths and people like The Paper Kites?
OSCAR: We saw Gang of Youths over New Years at Falls Festival and those guys were just really great live, I really enjoyed their drummer actually, and Dave the lead singer has a heck of a voice. They have a great vibe on the stage and play well together. And Paper Kites I haven’t seen live, I’ve heard what they’ve done they sound really beautiful, they are in a similar vein to us I think so I think it would be weird if I didn’t like them right?
HAPPY: I mean yes and no, I would understand if you didn’t, because it would be easy to not care about similar sounding bands in a sense. I think it’s a pretty good thing that when I think of your music, I don’t have a bunch of bands come to mind.
OSCAR: Ah that’s interesting, I hope so. People say we are nostalgic, but I feel like we have our own sound.
HAPPY: Before I wrap this up, what was Liam Gallagher like?
OSCAR: Well we didn’t spend heaps of time with him, he was just friendly said he really liked our show. We already knew he had heard our music, the people we work with over there got our music to him, and he had said he liked it, I knew he was at the show too, I got pretty pissed before we played (laughs). I don’t have the clearest recollection of everything that happened that night. He seemed pretty cool. He’s such an icon over there, I sort of feel for him a little bit, people start noticing him quickly just as he’s trying to have a nice night out watching a band, it’s like impossible to do that for him. And I feel like he is a normal guy obviously, and sometimes not having those simple things in life would really suck, sure it’s good to be financially well off. But anyway the whole thing started with Liam saying he liked us, and how he never likes anyone pretty much.
HAPPY: I feel every famous person is a normal person deep down, you could argue they have been tainted by fame to a degree. And with those two you can argue they are on a tangent of trying to stay relevant by dissing other bands. But the media does love a Gallagher headline.
OSCAR: The media really do love it, we are speaking about it now, but last year when it came out people picked up on it and they know people will click on it. Always online somewhere is posting something about the Gallagher’s, top 10 rude things Noel said, not dissing media or anything, they post it because people are interested. It’s just an endless narrative, and I just wonder how much of it is in our heads and how much of is it a real.
HAPPY: Yeah true, well thanks for the good chat man!
OSCAR: Yeah I’ve got to get to the post office actually!