Holy Fuck isn't trying to shock you, despite the indie-electro outfit's titillating name and frequent use of random electronics in the creation of its particular blend of pulsating, intelligent dance music. These guys just want to show you a good time, and perhaps leave you with a little bit more.
Recently, Rocks Off caught up with Holy Fuck's Brian Borcherdt to discuss the mind-expanding possibilities of 35mm film editing equipment, the life of a perpetual opening band, and traditional Jewish music.
Rocks Off: What do you think makes Holy Fuck different from other indie/dance/electro-oriented outfits?
Brian Borcherdt: I don't know. We don't really pay attention to that world, particularly. We naively go about doing what we're doing without thinking too much about that genre, not really worrying about how we fit into that world, or any genre or scene.
RO: Are you guys still using a lot of non-musical instruments?
BB: Yeah, we all played in other bands, so we all got together to do something different. Like I'm a guitar player. I don't really have any history or experience with anything other than guitar. We all thought that a sure-fire path to being creative, and to challenge ourselves, was to use things nobody had ever used before, or that not many people use, or that weren't really intended for use outside of being, you know, toys for kids, or anything that makes sounds.
RO: What percentage of your sound comes from actual musical instruments, vs. those sorts of found objects?
BB: Well, I mean, I think at the end, we're not totally in the realm of outer-space. We're not reinventing anything. One of the most prominent things you hear in a Holy Fuck record is drums and bass guitar. In that respect, we're pretty much just a rock band. It's drums and bass, and just really adding textures, but in the end, it should all sound familiar.
RO: Over the years spent working with non-traditional instrumentation, what sticks in your mind as a favorite?
BB: I'm partial to the synchronizer. It's old film editing equipment. It has tape heads built into it, so you can sort of scroll back and forth with movie audio and stuff. It sounds cooler than it is. It's really just kind of trippy, psychedelic sounds.
RO: What kind of moods are you trying to elicit with your music?
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BB: Most of it comes about on the stage. Even if it's subconscious, I think we kind of follow the feeling of the room, and what people are responding to. It's danceable, and that's always been one of the joys for me, from the beginning of the band, that you could find something to share that was ecstatic enough that people could just sort of lose themselves in it. At the same time, we want it to be something that captivates you beyond just the moment. We want to be more than just a one night stand.
RO: How does the experience of listening to Holy Fuck differ live, as opposed to on record?
BB: Live, you're there in a room with other people, and it's more of an experience. At home, alone, maybe some of the moodier elements of the music might affect you. Live, it's us having fun. It's kinda chaotic. The music is written live, together, and I think that's probably where it's best experienced.
RO: How would you describe the typical Holy Fuck audience?
BB: We've spent most of our careers opening. We've had a lot of help from other bands before people started taking notice, and it put us in front of a lot of different audiences.
RO: Would you say you prefer to be billed with bands that have a striking dissimilarity to you guys?
BB: No. I don't think we're so self-aware that we even really know what we are. We just want to play with bands we like, bands we listen to.
RO: Do people dance at every show?
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BB: Yeah. They dance more than I would. I'm one of those guys where I'll love the music, and I'll kind of get into a trance, with my arms folded and a beer getting really warm under my armpit for an hour. That's sort of my version of dancing at a concert. Fortunately, we get some pretty rambunctious people who are going to commit themselves more to us physically than maybe I would.
RO: If Holy Fuck were to be any other kind of band, what kind of band would you be?
With Indian Jewelry and Balaclavas, 8 p.m. Sunday, September 12, at Walter's on Washington, 4215 Washington, 713-862-2513 or www.superunison.com.