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Who Swears Wins

23 April 2014 | 9:03 am | Cam Findlay

"It’s more of a snapshot of a band in a creative process, rather than a working process."

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Holy Fuck have made a name for themselves in their native Toronto, and eventually the rest of the world, for being uncompromising in their effort to construct complex and effusive music – music that you would usually associate with electronic production, with not much more than a few instruments and pads and their own crazy-good skills. Brian Borcherdt, the main brain originally behind Holy Fuck, has a long history of communal experimentation.

“It's been a long, long time of conceptualising things, and now all of a sudden there's actual real tangible results that are a possibility, which is exciting,” Borcherdt explains enthusiastically. “One of the things we decided was we would put out a single, which we haven't really done before an album. Something profound we were going to put out on this upcoming Australian tour. We haven't had anything new out for so long. I went and mastered some stuff on the weekend, and we're sorting out our artwork at the moment. We've also spent the weekend tying up some loose ends with some of the other bands, which has a little difficult. But now it's all ready to go.”

It's easy to see that Borcherdt is excited about the concept of a new tour. The upcoming album will conclude more than three years of writing and touring, not only for Holy Fuck but for the various other acts associated with the band, Borcherdt having around six or seven other projects at last count. It's been a sporadic, yet quiet, couple of years for what is arguably his most popular project. “It's all been a challenge, but from the moment we took a big break we all kept playing, we kept recording and we kept working at our music,” Borcherdt confirms. “We haven't been out of our homes for longer than a week at a time, which is a big thing for us because we used to be away all year. We've had moments where we've caught up and had a little bit of rest, maybe work on some music. So it's been a nice time to relax.

“I think the thing were finding hard is first of all is not being on the road all of the time, things change,” Borcherdt continues. “Suddenly different things are expected of you and I think that's one of the reasons we all started other bands and started producing other people's material. And, you know, it's fucking tough. It's harder than we thought it would be. Like, goddamn, finishing things is hard. Then the ball gets rolling, and you find yourself sucked into an inherent momentum. All these ideas we have floating around in our heads, we're trying to commit to them, trying to make them happen. And then all of a sudden it's all happening, and you can't stop the momentum. That's how we feel now, like everything's just happening and we're trying to catch up with it after so much time apart and in different cities.”

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It's a daunting prospect at least partly due to the time Borcherdt and co have afforded themselves before this coming tour. Latin was truly a tour album, a record written during and in direct consequence of the band's first run of long tours, the result of the Canadian music media touting them as the future of experimentalism. “When we released the album before [2007's LP] it was a long growing process, but we were committed to promoting it. So we immediately went on tour, and that's what Latin was born out of. As a result, we didn't stop touring when a lot of other bands would. For us, we were willing to stretch the equation as long as there was a need for it. And it just didn't seem to be slowing down.

“It was fun, though,” Borcherdt laughs. “It feels like that, in the record to me personally, because of my personal involvement in it, to me it seems like a document of a band in motion, it seems like a snapshot. A snapshot of what we'd been doing at some of those shows maybe when we were doing our soundchecks, and kind of some of the ideas we would have while touring. What I think is different already is... what I really like about the new record is that it's showing what we're capable of when we take that break.”

The as-yet-untitled album will see Latin's rapid-fire immediacy morph into something more spaced and thought-out. This year sees Holy Fuck take a more conceptual approach, with more intricate programming of the usual melee of instruments that fill out their stage. “It definitely feels like more of a creative project,” Borcherdt says. “It's more of a snapshot of a band in a creative process, rather than a working process.”