From playing the colourful fields of Bestival to the dizzy heights of Glastonbury, 2017 was a stonking year for Holy Moly and the Crackers – and not just on the festival circuit. The ‘gyspy-folk-rock’ band also gained critical acclaim from the likes of Clash and R2 magazines, and Folk Radio UK following the release of their third album, ‘Salem’.
After an extensive two-year touring period, Holy Moly and the Crackers have earned themselves a name as one of the most hard-working bands in the UK. They also have a penchant for pulling in sizeable crowds with their electric mix of get-up-and-dance indie-folk-rock setlists. It then comes as no surprise that they have secured themselves as headliners at this year’s London Remixed Festival.
Swapping the great outdoors for a more enclosed setting, we caught up with frontman and trumpet player, Conrad Bird to ask why he’s looking forward to playing London’s indoor festival, and why you should check out his band of “wild gypsy troubadours” this February at London Remixed Festival 2018.
How did you react to finding out you were on the London Remixed Festival lineup?
Over the moon. We have worked with Two For Joy promotions before and have always really enjoyed the events and stages they manage. We also have a lot of respect for Continental Drifts, as one of the main events companies in the country. And of course, it is an honour to be included in such an exceptional line-up.
What are your favourite venues in London?
Too many to count. But for starters: The Borderline, The Garage, The Lamb (Surbiton), The Islington and probably our favourite – Jamboree (Limehouse)
What do you like most about London and its music scene?
London has such a diverse and vibrant music scene, and it’s always exciting to come down and be a part of that!
Your sound has been called ‘gypsy-folk’, but how would you describe your music?
Always a hard question. We’re developing all the time and though we may have been a ‘gypsy-folk’ band once upon a time our new material has definitely taken a different direction. Mind you ‘all music is folk music’ right?! – I think Louis Armstrong said that.
Holy Moly & the Crackers has many band members – seven to be precise – how does everything come together during the songwriting and composing process?
The process changes song to song. Recently, because of our hectic touring schedule, songs have been written and arranged by individuals and brought to the band in the last stages, to polish off. We haven’t had time to organically develop songs as a collective, which would always be the ideal – saying that, we’re writing a new album at the moment and will be working on the tracks together in the rehearsal studio. I think it will bring a really exciting and dynamic vibe to the music.
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I actually prefer indoor shows. There’s something about an enclosed space that creates a real intimacy that is perhaps lost on the outdoor stage. When there’s a bouncing room it can be really quite intense. Like a jack in the box trying to escape – saying that, of course, outdoor festivals have their own atmosphere that you can’t recreate anywhere else.
London Remixed Festival is hosted in Shoreditch – a hotbed for creativity and innovation. How do you keep your sound fresh?
I think you keep your sound fresh by not thinking about it too much. Across the arts, contemporary makers seem too obsessed with the idea of being original, and of course what happens is they end up sounding like every other ‘original’ artist. As long as you are always developing, exploring, challenging – never standing still – then I believe you’ll stay fresh, yo.
If there’s a moving train you should catch it right?
Which bands are you looking forward to seeing most?
We can’t wait to check out good friends: John Fairhurst, The Baghdaddies and New York Brass Band. They all are exceptional performers at the top of their game. But to be honest, looking through the line-up, everyone is going to be worth seeing!
What can we expect from Holy Moly & the Crackers in 2018?
We’re planning a number of single releases with a limited vinyl run at the end of the year. Having recently started working with FKP Scorpio in Germany, and Hang The DJ in Italy, you’ll see us heading out onto the continent, and in November we will be heading out on our biggest ever headline tour of the UK. The dates will be announced over the next few months, so keep an eye out. It’s going to be massive!