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Interview: Holly Golightly

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Well known within alternative circles, Holly Golightly first hit the scene as a member of the Thee Headcoatees releasing her first solo album in 1995. She’s collaborated with many well-known musicians including The Greenhornes, The White Stripes and The Flaming Stars. Her most recent project, Holly Golightly and the Brokeoffs, consists of herself and her friend Lawyer Dave. Holly Golightly and the Brokeoffs are currently touring the United States. You can learn more about the tour dates by visiting her website.

So you’re collaborating with your friend Lawyer Dave in a project called Holly Golightly and Brokeoffs. How is this album, You Can’t Buy A Gun When You’re Crying, different from your solo work?
A: It isn’t so different, really. I suppose it’s more traditional and it’s not interspersed with more rocky music. I guess it’s really a folk record. Lawyer Dave and I both love old country music and gospel music so we gave it a try, and it turned out well. It was an experiment. I mean, we wrote all the songs, recorded them and mixed them in four days. We only had the four days to work with – so we either had to pull it off – or not do it at all. And we’re over the moon with the result.

What will the live show be like?
A: We’re like a two man band. I sing and play guitar. Lawyer sings, plays guitar and operates a very small drum kit.

Lawyer plays guitar and drums? And sings?
A: Yes, all at once. The drum set was custom-built, and it’s pretty snazzy. It’s very small and operated just with the feet. It’s being patented. But it makes for a rather unusual show, when people are expecting a four-piece band, to see just the two of us.

Do you think Holly Golightly and Brokeoffs will make more albums together?

A: Absolutely! We’re planning to do another album next year.

Why do you collaborate when you have a successful solo career?
A: The collaborations weren’t planned, you see. They sort of came up as happy accidents. When I’ve collaborated with other artists, it hasn’t been strategic in any way. It’s just a good distraction from what you always do – a welcome break. And it’s good to do something completely fresh, to work with others.

You’ve been associated with garage rock but now you seem to be leaning in more of a soulful or folk genre. Do you think you’ll eventually go back to lo-fi?
A: It’s not as big a change as it seems. I was part of a four girl band and my songs – the ones I actually sang – were always the slower, quieter ones. And what I’m singing now isn’t so different. As far as that lo-fi sound, I wouldn’t rule anything out in the future. I just do whatever is required for particular tracks.

So when you’re creating new songs, what influences your music?
A: I usually have a really firm notion to start with… of the plot, if you will. There’s not one thing in particular that influences my music, but I write about what I know. It’s based in personal experience. That’s not to say all the songs are biographical, because sometimes it’s what I’ve seen in others’ lives.

What will your next solo album will be like?
A: Well, we’re planning to record in December. I’d like to have a four piece band, but maybe incorporate piano on some songs. My last album had some organ tracks on it that I really liked. Everyone in the band knows all the parts. So for instance, the organ player can play the guitar parts, and the stand-up bass player can play the drums. We like to switch it around sometimes for fun, especially live.

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  • i wish you would run stuff like this more often. good article and good writing. i never heaed of holly golightley before but im going to get one of their cds now.