We got to spend time getting to know Holiday Murray. This lovely interview precedes their upcoming Playing The Fool tour with Sons of Settlers.
Humor me, let’s pretend I live under a rock and I haven’t heard of Holiday Murray, could you introduce yourselves in 3 sentences?
We are four friends from similar backgrounds committed to writing and performing honest music for all kinds of people. We all have similar and separate talents, which we use as tools to explore the nature of existence and to alleviate some of life’s bizarre pressures. If we were all animals we’d probably be different species of early monkeys, with wings and earrings.
How is ol’ Murray the Stick-figure who you credit for giving you your mojo doing?
He is doing just fine! When we’re not playing shows we don’t know where he goes – he has lots of friends around the world who he likes to visit. But more often than not, he is a solitary and quiet friend who teaches us more in his horizon-leaping silent stare than any guru could in a thousand sittings. He is a master.
Take me to the beginning, what did the four of you guys (and Murray) set out to achieve when you came together as a group?
At first we just wanted to make noise and coax it along to resemble music. Then one stormy day a knock at the door was heard and standing in the rain with a tiny haversack was Murray. He told us that we must be true and that we must be artists. He sat with us in silence and for a brief moment we knew all the wonderful things he knew. He said we must go on as long as possible, that longevity was better than fleeting success, and that we must take him with us to all the greatest stages in the world where our music can live in the lives of others.
Are you at all surprised at the way you have been received by the South African audiences?
It is always immensely fulfilling to have people respond to something you have done creatively in an appreciative way, and we are continually impressed by the support that the South African audiences give us. It seems people often let their guard down with us in a positive sense and relax into our music in a way that has no pretence, and this is always surprising and amazing. At the same time, we are still young, and I think we have yet to give the South African audiences our full ‘show’.
Timeslive.co.za described your album sound as ‘…a journey to Woodstock, to Cape Town, to the Karoo, to Middle Earth.’ Could you maybe share some unique insight or provide Drop Your Drink any details on what inspired you to write any one of your songs on the album. Perhaps even a story behind a particular lyric?
Our inspirations on the first album were loosely centered around these things (for lack of better titles): the woman, the ocean, youth with solitude, and birds. The opening lines of Buckle & Bend describe an image we had of sitting alone in a tiny metal capsule at the bottom of the Mariana Trench (the deepest part of the ocean). The analogy is how you can be so close to somebody, in the deepest part of their ocean, and feel so restricted and stifled yet completely isolated. Something like that anyway…
If you could pick a local artist/DJ to collaborate with then who would you choose?
Difficult question. I think there is a handful that we’d love to collaborate with, and all would produce a slightly different type of music. To name a few: Gazelle, Bateleur, Lady Smith Black Mambazo, Captain Stu, The Rudimentals, even the Gugs Tenors and the Cape Philharmonic Orchestra!
In the last few years, due to the rapid growth of internet access and use, music has become more accessible to people, how much would you credit the Internet for your current successes?
It has definitely helped us to get our music to more people. While we had a couple of videos on TV and a song or two on radio rounds, there has been far more spread through the Internet. So, thank you Internet.
How is your new album different to your previous one?
Ooooo. It’s a little less reserved maybe? More urgent? It’s a hard one to pin down. The subjects of our lyrics have changed too. I guess we will only really be able to tell in a couple of months when the songs are out and we have performed them many times. It’s an exciting prospect. We don’t really know how it’s all going to turn out!
Your playlists on sites like Soundcloud are great but surely nothing can beat a live gig. Tell me what you enjoy about playing live and also do you have a particular song that you love to play live?
Performing live is all consuming. Not too many other thoughts about your life are given the opportunity to come to mind while you are playing, and this allows to you to be removed from the sometimes mundane and unnecessary states of mind that you normally experience. It’s bliss. It’s the same euphoric and exhilarating one-mindedness people get when they push their bodies physically with exercise, get lost in a dance, have sex, experience fight or flight, etc. In terms of a particular song, recently we all seem to go bug-eyed when we play one of our new songs called Puffadder.
Are there any pre/post performance rituals that you engage in?
Before a show, wherever possible we huddle and hum with our heads together. It’s a focus thing. After shows the rituals vary!
Without the fear of seeming bombastic or sounding overambitious, what would the ultimate success for the band be? (Feel free to go crazy wild here please!)
- Have a long and rewarding career in music.
- To perform entirely on instruments we ourselves have made.
- Play stadium shows on every continent.
- Record an album inside a blue-whale.
- Die laughing.
I heard your 2011 Oppikoppi performance on Live To The Power Of 5 on 5FM the other day and you guys are keen to perform again at Oppikoppi this year. Do you have any words of wisdom for those kopping it for the first time this year or perhaps a favourite Oppikoppi moment?
Wisdom and sense do not come within 100km of Oppikoppi, so you can forget that. Music festivals are often testing experiences, but this one is not for the faint of heart. Favourite Oppikoppi moment: at the end of our sunset slot Justin went up to Hotstix Mbuse and introduced himself, wishing the man a very happy birthday. It was not him though, it was his guitarist. The rest of our Oppikoppi moments are blurs.
Chris, did you know you’re big in Pretoria, huge in fact. Are you single?
He had no idea. Hate to break any ladies hearts, but the man is preoccupied.
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