There might not be a more fun genre than indie-pop. If you don’t believe me, then give HOLYCHILD a listen. With the uncanny ability to create catchy tracks with depth, it’s no surprise that the band has gained quite a following. After earning early success for their song “Happy With Me,” the LA-based duo recently signed with Glassnote Records and dropped an impressive debut project accompanied by a short film. HOLYCHILD is comprised of lead singer Liz Nistico’s sugary, poignant vocals and Louie Diller’s punchy, melodic, and always-catchy musical compositions. I recently got the chance to get with HOLYCHILD about their debut EP, their favorite dessert foods, and a slew of other sweet subjects…
Vinyl Mag: So, your first EP, Mindspeak, just dropped in March. Do you feel like there’s an overarching theme for the project?
Liz Nistico: Hey! Yeah, the EP just came out! The overarching theme is pretty much centering around me exploring my role as a female in our culture. However, to me it’s even more than that, and really commentary on who we all are, versus who we’re told we’re supposed to be, in relation to our culture and other humans.
VM: I saw that you also released a short film with the EP. What was it like to make that, and why did you feel like you wanted to pair the project with a short film?
Liz: I really wanted the message of the EP to be clear, and I thought that accompanying visuals would really enforce that. I also am a very visual person, so I didn’t really feel the art would be complete without it. I was so grateful to be able to write and direct my own videos, especially because it was my first time really directing! It was nice to be in control of all aspects of the film, from what styles the girls are wearing to what the location looks like to exactly how the actors are interacting. It’s really nice doing HOLYCHILD, because it really is all-encompassing artistic expression!
VM: What was your writing process like for Mindspeak?
Louie Diller: For Mindspeak, Liz and I wrote all the melodies and harmony together, but Liz was responsible for roughly 80 percent of the lyrics, whereas I was responsible for 80 percent of the music production. Our writing process, however, for each song tends to vary. Sometimes, I have a melody floating around in my head; other times, Liz will write using her vocal loop station, and we’ll go from there, and actually for a few songs on our album, Liz has woken up from a dream with songs fully fleshed out!
VM: A whole lot of sweets in the video, and you used a doughnut for the Mindspeak cover art. If you could only have one dessert for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Liz: Ha! I think cheesecake for me.
Louie: Hot fudge chocolate brownie with vanilla ice cream on top!
VM: How does it feel to be signed to the same label [Glassnote Records] as artists such as CHVRCHES, Childish Gambino, The Temper Trap and Two Door Cinema Club just to name a few?
Louie: Right on – lest not we forget Phoenix, Mumford and Sons, Givers and a handful of other really inspiring artists! Money, hype and buzz aside, creatively it has been very validating to sign with such a reputable label like Glassnote and to now have all these amazingly privileged opportunities handed to us. After some years of the starving artist struggle, it is a privilege to to not only eat a little bit better, but more importantly, execute our vision on a level we have always dreamed of reaching.
VM: You guys, CHVRCHES and GIVERS are the only bands on the label that use all capital letters in your name. Do you guys get together and make fun of the non-caps nerds?
Liz: Haha, yeah obviously, all-caps fo life. Nah, just kidding, we’re pretty nerdy into all of the other Glassnote bands. I think Louie expressed this, too, but when we get together with the other bands, we’re pretty much like, geeking out on their songs, and live shows, and aesthetics. We’re big fans!
VM: I read that you met each other in a dance class at George Washington University. What did each of you study?
Liz: Yeah! I studied International Affairs, Italian Literature and Dance (mostly modern). I know I’m not directly employed in these careers, but I do feel like I’ve taken all this knowledge and applied it to what I’m doing now.
Louie: I studied International Affairs and Jazz Studies. Obviously, I am not doing the former professionally, but a secret ulterior motive Liz and I have had for pursuing HOLYCHILD is to use it as a vehicle to travel the world! Hehe, don’t tell anyone!
VM: You [had a show] on April 5th back in DC. [Did] it feel like a homecoming of sorts?
Louie: It did feel that way! But we were not there long enough! DC has always treated us really well, and we are fortunate to basically have a home away from home in DC.
VM: What are you currently listening to?
Liz: So much. I’m pretty into Sylvain Esso, Tune-Yards, Loch Lomond, Sam Smith. I am just starting to really to get into Sufjian Stevens which, WTF – why is this just now happening?!
Louie: St. Vincent, Andrew Bird, Battles, OutKast, Thelonoius Monk (always), and more.
VM: Who are some of your musical influences?
Louie: Our musical influences include everybody from Fiona Apple, to Dirty Projectors, to Katy Perry, No Doubt, Afro-Cuban Guaganco, and many more.
VM: If you weren’t making music, what do you think you’d be doing?
Liz: I would definitely be making art in some way. I don’t know if it would be writing or dancing or making visual art, but I know myself well enough at this point to have realized that I fall apart when I’m not making art.
VM: I read that you guys used to make five-month plans and goals for the band. Do you still do that, and if so, what are you planning next for HOLYCHILD?
Liz: Yes! Haha, yeah we’re definitely systematic and still really organized with our approach to how we release things and why. That’s probably the biggest takeaway we have from GW [George Washington University]! The one thing that’s changed now is we have a team behind us, and our five-month plans have turned into 12-18 month plans. Things are just much more certain now (kind of)! So coming up for us, we’re mostly going to be touring for the rest of the year! We just dropped our EP, Mindspeak, and our album with be out in the fall.
Hailing from 'The Good Life City' of Albany, Georgia, Colby Pines is the middle child of five boys. While his family is primarily comprised of men, the Pines family did have a female dog once... unfortunately she died... God bless his poor mother. When Mr. Pines was in third grade the doctors discovered that he had an extra bone in his knee. The bone did not possess any magical powers or help Colby run faster/jump higher, so the doctors surgically removed the bone and refused to let Colby keep it as a souvenir. Colby recently graduated from the University of Georgia with a Bachelor's degree in English and a Master's degree in having cool friends and wearing great sweaters. Colby studied abroad at Oxford University's Trinity College where he was able to visit three of the four coasts, but was not able to bring back a baby with a British accent. Colby enjoys going to the movies, scotch, traveling, playing folk music with his band, BirdHead, eating good and bad food, writing, dabbling, playing Fantasy Football with his Pigskinz and Sundee Beerz League, reading a great book, and all sorts of music. While Colby has a bit of a bipolar taste in music, some of his favorite bands include: Band of Horses, Death Cab for Cutie, 2pac, Washed Out, Johnny Cash, Childish Gambino, Local Natives, The Beatles, Danny Brown, and Beach House. Colby is currently single and quite possibly ready to mingle. Colby has broken five bones, saved two children from drowning, been to Canada twice, and almost fallen into The Grand Canyon once. While he tends to miss things like Breaking Bad, eighth grade, Hey Arnold!, and Surge soda, Colby's excited for the future where he hopes to continue writing and doing the things that he loves.