7 Questions with Holly Golightly

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by Ryan Meehan

Holly Golightly has made over 20 albums and appeared on countless more, but she never had a recording experience like the one she had making the new Holly Golightly and the Brokeoffs release All Her Fault, coming March 4, 2014 on Transdreamer Records.  Golightly and her partner Lawyer Dave spent nearly six months on the project. “It has never taken me that long to get through 12 tracks,” she admits. “I don’t have the patience for endlessly going over things. I want things done quickly and this was like pulling a Dave-shaped log along at times.”  A native of England, Golightly currently lives with Lawyer Dave on a rural farm outside of Athens, Georgia. The duo recorded this album in the convenience of their home studio, which they found had drawbacks too. “You have to be disciplined when you are paying for studio time, but even more so when you are recording at home,” she says. What with working on their farm, having day jobs and tending to their rescued horses, the two were challenged to find recording time.  Don’t expect All Her Fault, however, to sound radically different from their earlier releases. It’s still a raw, rough-hewn stew of twisted roots music forged by the duo’s distinct musical interests — she listens to late ’50s/early ’60s R&B and he loves rock ’n’ roll. “I’m not looking to achieve something that hasn’t been achieved before,” she confesses. “We just what we do. The songs are really all that changes.”  Golightly acknowledges that she is privileged to be able to do what she loves to do, but she says, “I work really hard to do all of the things I want to do.” The definition of a working musician, Golightly has always had a day job and, in fact, now holds down two. “I have to make a living and feed these hungry horses.” Her music career supports itself, but it hasn’t made her rich. “I’ve never relied on making money from doing it,” she confides. “I’d have starved to death by now if I had done that, but I have stuck to my guns and I do it exactly the way I want to do it.” It’s this straight-shooting attitude that she also expresses in the honesty of her music.  We are very happy to have Holly Golightly as our guest today in 7 questions.  

RM:  What is it about working with Lawyer Dave that allows you the creative freedom to go in the direction that you want to musically?

HG: Dave and I have played music together for a lot longer than we have been recording as a duo, as he played bass in my full band touring line up for years. So, we are well-used to each other’s idiosyncrasies at this point. We had always talked about recording something together, as a two-piece, along the way. It took a really long time for that to happen, but when we started putting songs together it seemed to come pretty easily to us, as a way of working. I don’t think I’ve ever thought much about going in any specific direction… What we do as a duo is an extension of what we would both be doing solo, more of less. Dave comes from an entirely different place, musically, and has a very different set of reference points from me, so it makes for a new thing for both of us, in that sense.

RM:  How is “All Her Fault” different from your previous records?  I know the album took six months to complete…how many days a week were you working on it during that timespan?

HG: Writing the songs actually didn’t take long at all… But we were dogged with terrible weather during the whole time we had allocated to recording. The studio couldn’t be used (due to power outages, etc.) for days and days at a time. We were flooded out a couple of times, had a tree very close to the studio get hit by lightning, etc. About mid-way through recording we had to get the whole electrical system (both in the house and the studio) tested for safety, as there had been issues with trips, etc. We also have a lot of critters who live outside, and we were constantly having to deal with them through the bad weather too. All in all, it didn’t make recording straightforward, to say the least. We just tended to shut it all down, whenever we couldn’t do anything, so the process was completely fragmented because of that. I am not sure how many days I spent in the studio, exactly. Dave spent more days in there than I did, that’s for certain. I do have a limit on how long I can bear being trapped in a box with no windows.

RM:  Which cut on the record most accurately represents your development as a musician?

HG: I think development must mean something different to everyone. We haven’t really tried to develop any particular sound, or style, along the way. It’s just what it is… There is no Opus on the horizon here. I would say the schoolyard chant of SLC is representative of our desire to develop.

RM:  Could you tell us a little bit about the rescue horses and how you got into that?  How big is the farm that you have down in Georgia?

HG: I have been involved with horses all my life, in some form or another. My background is in racing, but later I went on to training, teaching and coaching. It has always run alongside playing music, from the get go. I was working with horses long before I thought I’d have a go at writing songs. As and when I’ve been able to, I’ve taken in waifs and strays over the years, and where we’re at now allows that to be possible on a grander scale. It’s not really a farm we have here (that sort of suggests that there is some financial turnover going on, and there most certainly isn’t), it’s just a modest property of 6 acres, with the kind use of a further 13 adjoining acres. We currently have 5 living here, with another 4 adopted out (with strict conditions attached, meaning they are returned to us in the event circumstances change, for whatever reason).

RM:  So I have to ask…What is it about Salt Lake City, Utah that inspired you to write an entire song about how uptight that city is?  Did you have a personal experience that you’d like to share with us?

HG: It’s poking fun at the place, since it apparently struggles to poke fun at itself, that’s all. We have played there quite a few times and will be stopping in there again on the upcoming tour… We always enjoy the shows and there are some wonderful people, working against all odds it seems, who are really keen to make something interesting happen. I don’t think there’s anywhere quite like it… Not that I’ve been, at least. We don’t have whole cities that buy in to one doctrine, wholesale, where I’m from, so it’s weirdly fascinating to me. Essentially, it’s our “in” joke… It’s a threat we sling around at each other when we’re bickering… As in “Right, that’s it! I’m going to SLC if you keep up with that attitude.”

RM:  You’ve said that “I have a problem with people presenting themselves as something they are not. I do enjoy straightforward honesty above all else really.”  Do you feel that a lot of the dishonesty in the music industry is the cause of you feeling that way, and if so is it possible for you to pinpoint where exactly it went wrong?

HG: Oh it’s rife, it’s not only found within the music industry by any means, although it is something that can be easily spotted there. It always makes me feel a bit bad, when I encounter people who clearly aren’t comfortable with who they actually are. I get the sense that their reality is not at all how they want to see themselves, or want others to see them, and that always seems sad to me. There’s no real substance… You know? You sort of sense that something’s gone wrong along the way, when someone cannot just be OK with who they are. I think it’s mostly that we find that we are much more comfortable around people who proudly present themselves exactly as they are… Warts and all. Pretense is an ugly thing, and there is a real beauty in people who don’t possess any. There’s a very odd (popular music) culture, whereby the industry is selling people back their own redneck or ghetto lifestyles, perpetuating the myths, etc., and it’s often served up by people who are well-studied in the art of pretense, they’re more like actors in fact, which irritates the snot out of both of us whenever we turn the radio on. Our song “Bless Your Heart” kind of wrote itself.

RM:  What is one thing that you would like to do in the entertainment industry that you haven’t yet had the chance to do?  Do you think that ten years from now you’ll be able to say that you’ve done it?

HG: I can’t think of anything I feel I need to do, other than continue to do what I’ve been doing. And if I can still be doing it in ten years time, I’ll be content with that.

RM:  What’s up next for Holly Golightly and the Brokeoffs in 2014?  Anything big in the works that we should know about?

HG: We are about to take off on a full US tour, which we haven’t been able to do for a few years, and we’re really looking forward to it. We also have other side projects going on, here and there, and we are both recording solo stuff this year too. With all of that going on, plus the maintenance stuff we have to get done at home, through the summer, that should keep us pretty busy.

Artist profile from NPR.com:  http://www.npr.org/artists/97459922/holly-golightly

Holly on Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/hollygolightlymusic

Once again thanks for visiting First Order Historians and enjoying more of the internet’s finest in user generated content.

Meehan

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