Sorry, but it seems that you’re not on the list”, says the bouncer of Tavastia Club. Well fuck me sideways… Not so surprisingly, the organizer of the evening has forgotten to add our names to the entrance. Finally, we manage to talk ourselves in. The next step is to get past The Hulk, who’s guarding the backstage door.
The editors of DUMBØ are here as groupies of rising indie rock band The Holy. They’re about to play at Tavastia, one of the oldest active rock clubs in Europe, for the second time in their career. We’re following their warm-up routines in an empty hallway, since the actual backstage premises are full of other bands.
The Holy, formerly known as Holy Roman, consists of singer-guitarist Eetu Henrik Iivari, bassist Laura Kangasniemi, guitarist Pyry Peltonen and no less than two drummers: Eero Jääskeläinen & Mikko Maijala. Eetu and Laura also play synth. The band explains their philosophy as follows:
The thing is that if you listen to a certain song, you can’t really say whether the track has two drum kits on it or not. But… If you leave out the other drum set, you’ll definitely notice that the song is missing something.
According to statements made during various interviews, The Holy were watching the 2014 FIFA World Cup Final when they got the drunken idea of a band with shitloads of drummers as the backbone. By the end of the night, the lineup was finished. They tell me the same story.
But stories are always good. I’ve been hearing stuff about The Holy for such a long time. Some people are surprised by the gender of the bass player, some are spreading rumors that the vocalist always wears a suit. Not only during gigs, but also on his time off. I can't help but laugh at this type of resilient gossip.
Alt Agency & Management’s agent Esa Tontti and Tavastia CEO Juhani Merimaa discuss the band. Tontti asks Merimaa his opinion on the reason The Holy have two drummers in their lineup. The answer is priceless:
Well, there’s two possibilities. 1) If the other one gets sick, there’s still one left. 2) A third drummer wouldn’t fit on stage.
The band is preparing to get on stage; stretching, push-ups, listening to some music through their earbuds. They seem focused. In addition to Finnish festivals, The Holy has already played in Berlin, Zurich and Tallinn. This spring, they will also perform in Hamburg, Amsterdam and London, as the supporting act for Satellite Stories.
Music has always been the number one priority for us. Yes, we maintain our social media channels quite regularly and keep people informed, but all the bookings abroad have come through our songs and gigs. For example, the opportunity for a live set in Switzerland opened up simply because a local agent saw our performance at the Lost in Music festival in Tampere. The chance to play in Berlin during the same trip came through Music Finland.
Since the beginning, touring abroad has been an obvious goal for The Holy. Seeing the world and meeting new people through music is important in itself. We’re going to put a lot of energy into this in the future."
The Holy released their first EP ”More Escher & Random Notes” through Soliti Music last Autumn. At the moment, they are finishing up their forthcoming second EP, which will be darker than the debut.
There’s even two songs with a proper chorus! But yeah, it will be heavier than the first EP. Also a bit more pop in many ways, because the emotional scale is wider and there’s more melodies. The music has grown during our path and we don’t underline the style of it. We just made an EP and such it became."
Their first performance with a renewed live set will be at Valoa Festival on the 18th of February. They are releasing their new single ”Dada Love” on the same day and will perform it for the first time in Tampere, alongside other new songs. In May, they are planning to begin the recording sessions for the first LP.
But now it’s time to entertain Tavastia. The Holy gets on stage and immediately takes the audience over. The motions of vocalist Eetu Henrik Iivari remind me of Samuel T. Herring from Future Islands. A friend of mine tells me that he saw more Alex Turner (Arctic Monkeys) in his performance.
Either way, people don’t talk about The Holy so much without reason. This group rocks. The band deserves all the overseas exposure they can get.