Holy Motors

Lauri Raus

Although we are already on the verge of summer and sunlight and heat are a lot more now, we first knew about Holy Motors since last Winter, which is somehow the ideal time to listen to their music. In February 2018, the first work of the Estonians from Tallinn. The sound of the album possesses the darkness of that particular region, the permanently cloudy atmosphere and the melancholy mood that comes out effortlessly and naturally.

Eliann Tulve, responsible for the vocals in the five-piece band, can be "located" somewhere between Hope Sandoval (Mazzy Star) and Rachel Goswell (Slowdive). And that's not to justify the mood of the result, but to understand why these guitars with reverb and shoegaze echo, could not find a better escort. The strange thing though, is that at every occasion they point out that their origins have not affected their sound. Tallinn is simply the place where everyone of them grew up and met to play music together. However, the fact that the band has three guitars, all of them keep this melancholy atmosphere with Tulve digging it with fragmentary phrases here and there. Random event or just designed suitably and successfully? It is important that the members of the group feel comfortable with each other and with what they do, without necessarily having to find the reasons why they sound like we just described.

A very significant factor for the band's evolvement and work, is the presence of Carson Cox from Merchandise, whom they met at a festival where they played together and produced their first 7inch and this album. He is the one who introduced them to Wharf Cat Records, the label that finally signed them and released their work. Undoubtedly, the track that takes off the album right from its start is "Honeymooning". Together rhythmic and cinematic, dark and melodic, "Slow Sundown" seems to be exactly what these two words describe. A slow descent and then the disappearance of sunlight, which together with our senses also drives our feelings towards this sweet melancholy. In the end, we are all alone ...

Below you can read the conversation we had with Lauri Raus, the guitarist of the band…


Slow Sundown by Holy Motors (out April 2, 2018)

The Basement: Hello Holy Motors! Thank you for joining us for this interview. Debut LP "Slow Sundown" on February 2018, what lies behind this record ?
Thanks. I'd say there's more to it than Ι can recollect any more. After all, this album is 6 mushy years of our lives.

The Basement: You all come from Estonia? Let us know more about how you met and formed the band. 
A long time ago Hendrik and i started seeing each other in the same bars and gardens. A big town in a small country is still a small town. We weren't strangers per se. We used to share a circle of friends, but we had never been much more than acquainted until then, so we bonded over talking about jaguars. We now both have one, the fender jaguars, but back in around summer 2011 they seemed so unattainable like the objet petit a of the paychoanalysis, they were the standard to the profession of being an alternative guitarist, an icon midst the gallery of all the guitar models. That level of a profession was something we never believed in. We had a lot of fun playin' around, but things changed when we first got a vocalist and a drummer to join us. Making music was even more exuberating then. About after a year i met Eliann through Hendrik. And i had met Gert through Kaspar before in my adolescence. So once all of us were together in this band of five who we are now, then that's when things started to look really interesting.

The Basement: How did come up with your name? What does it mean ?
There were a lot of car dealerships around where i grew up in Tallinn. The name of my district was Black Hill. It was a residential area built 20-30 years before my birth in place of where there once were beautiful yellow sandy dunes. Me and my parents lived down the crest. My dad drove a general motors car. A block away, up the hill was a Viking motors dealership. They sold all kinds of cars from France to Asia. Next to Viking motors was the united motors one. They mostly dealt with the German brands like BMW and of sorts. Somewhere further down the road, at the far ends of my childish world, there was an ABC motors shop and easily many more, bearing the word, spread out across this town as if it were Detroit. For a while, these motors stores were my bedrock. I loved cars, growin' up. But who knows what any of that means, am i right ?

The Basement: Dreamy, slow-moving melancholy like bands such as Low, Mazzy Star, or Slowdive. Were these your influences?
The dreamiest influence back when we started must have been Tamaryn from the era, when she still was working with Rex Shelverton. But Slowdive too. And Mazzy Star without a doubt. Unfortunately, i didn't see the low show in st. Davids in Austin where we both played together this spring during SXSW.

The Basement: Merchandise's Carson Cox made the production for you. How you met him and how did it felt cooperating with him? 
Carson and us met backstage during the local schilling festival. It was summer and the weather was surprisingly fine. It was as if we were having a Sabbath in a small town out there in the woods, mostly pines, with no physical escape. But it was all alright, because to escape the town of dusty lakes and coniferous flora was the last thing to come to mind. Carson was fun to be around with that day, but I couldn't think of seeing him again. The rooster woke me up early next day. It was another blazing summer morning. Carson wrote us in two months, suggesting to make a record.

The Basement: If you had one chance of changing something on the record, what would that be?   
You know the 14th-century philosopher Jean Buridan's story about the equally hungry and thirsty donkey who couldn't choose between a pile of straws and a bucket of water so it died of starvation? Of course, you may already know of it from Aristoteles On The Heavens, but whatever, what i'm tryin' to say is that i'm the donkey here.

The Basement: Your music sounds like a Western psychedelia. What's your relation with cinematic music?
From time to time you hear something that triggers your synesthesia and think 'well that was brilliant, it triggered synesthesia! Where am i?' It could be the sound of a shopping cart, being tolled in an empty parking lot, or the noise of a car alarm, honkin' orange in the dark skid row. It doesn't matter. I'm a sucker for the mundane sound objects. Movies portray them perfectly. The imaginary has a solid role to what we do.

The Basement: Ιs music the primary job for everyone of you? 
It's not what butters the bread, but it's the most fulfilling thing I've had.

The Basement: Would you think of moving to another country that could evolve your music? If yes, which country would you pick as the most suitable?
I feel that being in transit is inescapable for the artist. The bards did it, the beatniks did it. The Rolling Stones went to Morocco. The Beatles went to Rishikesh. It ain't about movin' to another country, as much as it about movin' through space. And when time to time it happens that you experience a deep affection with a place and you don't want to leave anymore, well then that's when you got to pull off that sticky bandage on yourself and go ride on.

The Basement: Propose us any similar to your sound band or artist of our days that we should listen to.
Workhorse from down under.

The Basement: Are you planning any gigs to play in the next few months? 
We are playing here-and-there this summer: UK, Italy, Russia, Poland, Estonia. A proper tour is taking shape and happening September-October 2018.

Thank you so very much Holy Motors, it was wonderful talking with you. We wish you the best!

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