Every now and then you come across something completely by accident, and when you find it, you feel like you’ve just plucked a gem from thin air. This is what happened at about 2am one morning when I stumbled across a band called Holy Esque. It was like sticking an ear into an alternate reality where Dinosaur Jr. had somehow recruited AC/DC’s Brian Johnson and got Steve Albini to produce their music. Not only that, but despite the crunching swirls of guitar and pop-infused melodies, suggesting the band might hail from the scuzzier corner of America’s West coast, it turns out they’re from Glasgow. Who’d have thought. It’s been a pretty hectic 12 months for Holy Esque since the four of them first decided to get in a room together and start making some noise. Between playing live shows pretty much continuously across the UK and generating enough buzz to demolish the Glasgow Tower, they have also managed to record one of the most exciting EPs in recent memory. There’s a lot to be said for youth and enthusiasm, and I was hoping some would rub off on me when I spoke to singer Pat Hynes about what it’s like to be a part of Holy Esque. Here’s what he said.
How long have you guys been playing together as Holy Esque?
We formed properly in March last year and we’ve been playing together solidly since then.
You guys have been getting a lot of attention recently. How does it feel, considering you’ve been together for such a short space of time?
It feels really good. It’s not something that feels like it’s been forced or happened deliberately. It’s all happened quite naturally. It’s a strange sensation having people come up to you and telling you they really your music, like at shows, but it’s good. We’ve tried to take it in our stride.
That’s a pretty down to earth attitude for such a young group. Does youth help in any way?
Because we’re young I suppose we’ve got some good energy behind us. We’re all between 19 and 22, but age isn’t something we’ve really thought about. We’re definitely learning as we go… and enjoying it.
There’s a bit of a mystique surrounding the band. You guys haven’t done any photoshoots and the main image repesenting Holy Esque seems to be a black and white cross. Is this something you have cultivated deliberately to keep people guessing?
No, it’s just happened that way. We’ve spent so much time concentrating on the music, image isn’t really something we’ve considered. Playing gigs and recording the EP has taken up so much time that we haven’t had the chance to do any photoshoots. Maybe we’ll do one now (laughs). There are a lot of bands around that are caught up in their image. When that happens, it can turn into the only thing people think of when they talk about them. Then they take the music less seriously. We’ve never intended on being mysterious. We’ve just always focused on creating the music and not got caught up in what we look like.
Speaking of the music, how did you find the process of recording the EP?
Really good. We got a load of equipment together and set up a DIY studio in a flat in Glasgow. It was a bit ramshackled but loads of fun. We were lucky enough to get Kevin Burleigh (Glasvegas) to record with us and it turned out really really well. We recorded it over 5 days and when we listened back to the tracks we thought “Aye, we’re pleased with this!”. It all came together really naturally in the studio and working with Kevin was great.
One of the first things I noticed was your unique vocal style. It sounds pretty raw and intense. Is this a style of singing you’ve developed deliberately?
It’s always come out like that. I’ve never thought “I’ll sound like this” and tried to sing in a certain way. I was involved in a couple of bands before this one and my voice has always sounded the same. Singing is personal, it’s a natural way of expressing yourself and this is just mine.
What’s next for Holy Esque?
We’ve just finished a UK tour and we loved it. We’re playing a few more shows before the summer but we’ve had some interest in playing a few festivals, so that would be amazing. We’re looking forward to getting back into a studio and recording some new material, too. We’ve been writing some new stuff recently so we’ll probably be getting another release out before long. But it’s better not to get ahead of ourselves. We’re letting it happen and just enjoying it all.
Holy Esque are on tour most of the time. Listen to more Holy Esque over at their soundcloud page.