Make some noiseHOLY
The project of Hannes Ferm, HOLY, is like a bag of candy, mixing sweet and sour. He’s building a unique musical universe consisting of ’60s garage, lo-fi pop influences and melancholic atmospheres that get torn apart by glam-rock riffs. All topped with a voice softer than satin.
From Umeå, north Sweden, Ferm now lives in Stockholm and studies art at Gerlesborgsskolan while he makes music. Does studying another art form influence his creativity? “I think studying art has given me the possibility to get inspired by things I otherwise would not have been exposed to,” he says. “It’s also taught me to think in an abstract and conceptual way, something I couldn’t do before.”
HOLY’s second album, All These Worlds Are Yours, was released in January and explores soundscapes in an experimental way, avoiding the trap of stagnating in how he makes music. “I believe the formula is angst and inferiority combined with a genuine interest in exploring unfamiliar musical areas,” he says.
The album carries the same qualities as the ’60s psychedelic movement, yet also has elements of the early-’70s glam-rock scene mixed up with modern garage DIY vibes. The result is the sound of a 21st-century Bowie or Rundgren, just to mention a few. “I think that seeing The Rocky Horror Picture Show is what triggered the start of the process, but I also listened to classic early-’70s rock – Lou Reed’s Transformer and Diamond Dogs by Bowie,” he says. “[With this album] I wanted to explore every part of that world, the aesthetic aspects but also the music and theatrical parts.” He reveals he had also wanted to work with rock’n’roll clichés: “I realised these clichés are so damn beautiful. I came to the conclusion that a song can feel both powerful and fragile.”
When it comes to HOLY’s visual work and aesthetics, such as the music video to the almost-impossible-to-pronounce track ððð, you get the impression that Ferm gives this a lot of thought. “What’s most important is that the visuals and music match and evoke the same feelings in me,” he says
As for fashion influences, Ferm mentions Liberace, the entertainer famous for his extravagant clothing, but being busy travelling, he doesn’t really have the time or energy to pack his suitcase or think about putting together an outfit in the early mornings – “I just take whatever is on the floor closest to my bed.” Judging by his look, this probably means that Ferm only owns great clothes.
Even though it has only been a few weeks since the release of All These Worlds Are Yours, Ferm has already got grand plans for HOLY in the year ahead. “We will do a few festivals this summer and some shows during the fall. I have also started to record the next album, so I’m going to try to finish it during this year as well,” he says. Ferm has found a creative drive that leads him to explore unknown musical landscapes. Like astronauts in space, he steers his steps towards ground where no one has walked before.
Words by: Amanda Båmstedt
Photography by: Dan Sjölund
Styling by: Pejman Biroun Vand
Hair and make up by: Lillis Hemmingsson
Stylists assistants: Hedvig Holgersson and Emelie Berglund
Special thanks to: The Forumist