Brat Pop duo HOLYCHILD, made up of producer and multi-instrumentalist Louie Diller and songwriter and vocalist Liz Nistico, have quickly become two of the most influential artists in my life, which essentially revolves around music. So that's kind of a big deal. To quickly backtrack, I officially fell in love with music at age 12 when my dad couldn’t get me to put down Deee-lite's 'World Clique' album. In fact, dad had to replace that cassette no less than eight times as I soaked up and ravaged the notes from the feeble cassette tape. (My dad is a great guy, but you have no idea how much second-hand playing it must have taken for him to actually learn most of the lyrics at one point.)
Flash-forward, after years in the music business, I have never witnessed an artist of Deee-lite's caliber until HOLYCHILD. Talk about full-flavored. A fashionable, risk-taking, dynamic duo whose artistry spins on a luminous axis of voice and soul, where all of the above meet head-on like that of a kaleidoscope. It’s not all white picket fences, but rather sounds like it’s taken seasons of weather to distress and wear down their sound to perfection, and never with the need or desire to just sit pretty. And it’s okay to admit what gritty thoughts stir, because they not only get it, they've written a song about it. Albums-worth, actually.
I could go on for days, but you get the gist. For now, I'll point you towards the interview, below, which comes at a very exciting time, as HOLYCHILD are about to hop on the road for a string of live tour dates. If you're in LA next Tuesday, come hang with me. I'll be the equivalent to a kid in a candy store completely wound up at the Teragram Ballroom.
1. Leading up to your tour, describe a day in the life of HOLYCHILD in diary format:
Hey! Alright this is my day on Monday leading up to the tour:
8AM: I woke up at 8:30 and went back to bed until 9:30. Then I had a conference call with our publicist to discuss tour press and getting the word out about the shows. We talked about what interviews and promo we wanted to do.
10AM: I went over the tour budget and responded to 100000 emails. Ha! Went on a quick run but it was so hot. I felt nauseous so I took a cold shower. I made oatmeal for breakfast because most of my food has been eaten (maybe from the party we had over the weekend?) and got ready for Louie to pick me up.
12PM: Louie picked me up and we drove to Santa Monica where we met up with our A&R guy to play him new songs from the next album. The drive was 40 minutes and I napped the entire time. When I arrived I was drowsy but everyone was nice.
2PM: I had a lesson with my vocal coach. We went over releasing tension while on stage in order to be more open to the audience and sing sustainably while on tour. I tweeted somethings then went to Bolivar where I picked up 4 arepas and ate 3 by myself. I responded to more emails.
4PM: Louie and I arranged the song we’re doing a cover of for the tour. We also recorded back up vocal tracks for it to be played on stage.
6PM: We met up with our agents to play them some songs and also discuss everything we want to do next year as well as our current tour. I ate too much chocolate and am still very full from arepas. Then I recorded more harmonies for our cover song that we’ll play on tour. I sat down to properly do this interview and a few others we have to hash out!
8PM: I started editing the music video for America Oil Lamb.
10PM: Louie and I drove back home from Santa Monica. I continued to edit the video all night long. I also contacted all my friends to invite them to the shows! I miss everyone. Then time for Bojack and also meditating.
12AM: More editing. I’m also really into tarot right now and I need guidance so I did a tarot pull to help understand my current state of reality.
2. Hands down, ‘America Oil Lamb’ is one of my favorite EPs of all time. Can you share a glimpse of how those 5 songs, along with the collaborations, came together?
Thank you! All of the songs came together quite differently, but in a nutshell: Rotten Teeth came out of a depressed state I was in last August mixed with feminist undertones. I met Kate in the winter and of course asked her to be involved. Power Play started with a track sent to us from RAC and we used the internet to finish it over the course of a year. Not Invited was something Mereki started inspired by our conversations at Grammy parties in 2015. Lying Too we wrote on a drive to San Francisco in 2014 and asked Tkay to come up with a verse for it. Then AOL started with a loop station song I did on my own and took on another life when we got Lizzy from MSMR and Chloe from Kitten on it! Also our friend Sam Stewart did the guitar riff on that outro and he’s my fave.
Honestly, we had been wanting to do a collab EP for a while. It was a goal of ours because not only do we love making art with our friends, but we really wanted to stretch musically.
3. Furthermore, can you describe your typical creative process – from the initial start to finish of a song?
Wow, every song is so so different! However right now we’re really trying to be effortless and not take ourselves too seriously. Therefore our creative process is really fluid. Everything happens in a different way but we don’t spend too much time banging our heads to figure out a melody or part. We let it happen naturally.
4. Without giving too much away, what can fans expect from your upcoming tour?
I’m ready to play shows. I feel like this summer has been so up and down and emotional and spiritual for me, and I’m just ready to share myself with people. Shows are the best because they’re so free for everyone involved. People can expect simultaneous comfort and vulnerability. Isn’t that the best?
5. Finish this sentence from a fan’s perspective: OMG, I just left HOLYCHILD’s show and...
I just made out with the lead singer!
6. As a part-time detective (not really) I’ve heard you’ve been working on a new album.
a) Does it have a title yet? Haha, yes it does (we think!).
b) Any particular sessions with outside producers that you’re working with? Any that will for sure end up on the album?
Yeah we’re working with other people but I’m not sure what will definitely be on the album yet. At this point we have like 40 songs and we’re still writing a ton, so it’s still taking shape!
c) Any artist features we can look forward to? Yes, probably! However we haven’t even had this conversation ourselves yet.
7. What’s different about HOLYCHILD now from the band’s inception? What’s the same?
It’s still us! So that’s the same. I think we’ve always been genuine. However we’re more precise and confident in the art we make now.
8. What would you say is HOLYCHILD’s biggest inspiration, both sonically and visually?
Currently main inspiration is the album Fashion Nugget by Cake mixed with the feeling of jumping in the ocean with jeans on at night.
9. If you had to narrow it down to one, what would you say was the most impactful gift you received from a fan, and why? And was there a particular moment that caught you absolutely speechless, and why?
I’ve always had a problem connecting with people. Maybe I was too self-conscious or paranoid or scared of some sort of love, but it took me a long time to accept that I could be close to other humans. The most inspiring thing about HOLYCHILD is the connections I’ve made with other people who have connected with our music. I feel so comfortable around them because I’m most honest in our art. If they understand that then they understand me, I think. And I usually assume that we’ll get along and be friends, which has been the case for almost all of these people. It’s so inspiring and crazy to think that’s how some really important people have come into my life.
10. If music was off the table, what would you be when you grow up?
Honestly I never ever imagined myself as being older than like, 20. Is that weird? Is that morbid?
1. If HOLYCHILD were to be a new addition to the crayon box. What color would you be and why?
We’d be tangerine but the paper part around us would be white with jungle green details and sky blue lettering. You can imagine it, right?
2. You step outside and find a lottery ticket that ends up winning $10 million. What would you do?
I would definitely move into a new house, probably go visit my family in Italy, and then invest so much money in HOLYCHILD music videos, design collabs, recording, painting. I would also donate some to public education initiatives because that is really important to me.
3. If you could be any animal in the world, what animal would you be and why?
Dolphin! I love to swim, I want to travel all over the world underwater.
4. What were you like in high school?
Ha! I was just thinking of this today. I definitely was not the most popular girl. I think the scenario would happen a lot where the popular girls excluded me, but the guy they liked would like me. Not because I was most pretty but probably because I was crazy or sad or something. Then all those girls would try to be friends with me for a bit but I saw through it so fast.
5. What’s the last thing you watched on TV and why did you choose to watch it?
Bojack Horseman and honestly I’m obsessed right now. It’s the definition of brat pop!
6. What’s your favorite restaurant in Los Angeles?
My favorite restaurants are: All’Acqua (Italian/amazing bougie pizza), Bolivar for arepas, Sweetgreen for salads, Sycamore Kitchen for lunch, Proof for coffee, and Robota Jinya for Japanese. Sorry I love food!
7. You’re given a free first-class all accommodations covered trip to anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?
I’m ready to go back to Italy and hang with my family and get too drunk on one of my uncle’s wines.
8. Which clothing designer or retail store would best describe your personal style?
Versace 1992, please!
9. What’s your favorite candy?
Eeeeek, I have a really sweet tooth. Depending on the moment I either like really really dark chocolate OR sour belts. Not together though, let’s be real that sounds awful!
10. What’s your favorite alcoholic beverage?
Mescal margarita on the rocks with salt, please!