Newcastle Gypsy folk-rock outfit, Holy Moly & The Crackers, are preparing for their upcoming UK tour so Lee Allcock caught up with the band to talk about their new album, recording in a medieval chapel, and playing Glastonbury.
You’re set to tour right across the UK this month, playing 16-dates in total, but other than playing your home-town date in Newcastle where are you most looking forward to playing and why?
We’re looking forward to Birmingham and Brighton – these are cities we’ve never played before and it’s always exciting to debut in a new place.
This will be your biggest headline tour to date, so what can gig-goers expect?
We’ve worked hard for this, and done a heavy year of gigs, so we’re tight at the moment. When we’re tight we have fun because we can concentrate more on the performance than the music.
You’re well known for being influenced by folk and popular music, but with your brand new album, ‘Salem’, you’ve decided to move away from the folk genre and create a hard-edge sound. Why was that?
I think it was a natural thing. Our first album, ‘First Avenue’ had a lovely nostalgic naivety to it. As a band we are harder, more worn, and I think that ‘Salem’ mirrors that!
Why did you decide to record the album at the idyllic Vada Studios? And how did the recording go?
Vada is an old stately home tucked into the idyllic countryside of Worcester. It blew us away – as did Matt Terry, the producer. His charisma and eccentricity, with the atmosphere of the studio and grounds, completely sold us. There were problems, as there always is – mainly loss of confidence in the songs – but that’s all part of it. Blood, sweat, tears and a bit of elbow grease makes the song in the end.
The Vada Studios was once a medieval chapel above a family tomb, so did the lyrical content in your new album (which features superstitious practice, and the dark arts — tarot, memento mori, witchcraft, hallucination) stem from spiritual feelings within the studios? Or did it have an influence on your lyrics?
As a band we’ve always been into the magical and mysterious, especially the dark theatrical craziness of New Orleans culture, the city where death and the spirit world are celebrated in the most spectacular way: witchcraft, voodoo, Day of the Dead, Mardi Gras, jazz funerals, the ghost stories of the bayou. When I realised that we’d be tracking the drums above a 12th Century family tomb I told Tommy, our drummer, to play the drums loud enough to wake the dead.
What, so far, has been your favourite moment during a live performance and why?
Maybe Glastonbury. We started and there was maybe about 50 people watching us in a 1000 capacity tent. I closed my eyes for the duration of the song and I then opened them and it was full! I turned around to the rest of the band and we all looked at each other. It was probably that moment when I was like ‘shit, this works’.
What would you like to say to your fans that will be joining you in Newcastle or on the road?
Gang! We like nothing better than meeting new friends and catching up with old ones. Join us for the music and let’s make sure we have a good drink at the bar after.
Holy Moly & The Crackers play Cobalt Studios, Newcastle on Saturday 18th November. Tickets, priced at £11.00 in advance (including booking fee), are available from seetickets.com.