Review & Interview: MØ w/ HOLYCHILD @ Wonder Ballroom
Written by Lanny on October 26, 2014
Show Review + Interview with HOLYCHILD
On October 21st, the Wonder Ballroom hosted an unintentional all night dance party with a bill consisting of Danish electropop artist, MØ, and Los Angeles based brat pop duo, HOLYCHILD. On that Tuesday night, doors opened at 7:30pm and an hour later, HOLYCHILD’s Liz Nistico appeared on stage in a floral Adidas track suit along with HOLYCHILD’s other half and producer, Louie Diller (supported by his older brother Martin Diller on drums, and his best friend, Rafael Peterson on bass) kicked off their set of tunes with “Diamonds on the Rebound,” an older yet nonetheless, catchy single off of their 2013 EP, Tribes. Next, HOLYCHILD played two songs off of their 2014 release, MINDSPEAK. Nistico sang and danced her heart out to “Playboy Girl” and even joined the boys in the band for some exuberant drumming during the bridge of the song. The crowd had warmed up at that point and you could hear the crowd singing along to the chorus of “Playboy Girl” and vocalizing to “Every Time I Fall.” Three songs into their set and you could already feel the feminist rage and the condemnation of the patriarchy in the atmosphere of the Wonder.
With the expectation of releasing a full-length album by the early half of 2015, HOLYCHILD played a couple of new tracks off of this upcoming release. Before playing their first new song, Nistico announced that this song is their next single and will be released before 2014 ends. After the show, I was able to catch the title of the song: “Running Behind.” This track, along with the rest of the new material, consisted of skillfully layered vocals and tightened drumming, bringing together a sound reminiscent of that of tUnE-yArDs. The audience danced even harder to these new jams and you could tell HOLYCHILD had won over some new fans. The energy in the room was overwhelming. During one of the new tracks, Louie Diller had even broken one of his drum sticks from banging on the drums so hard. Just when you think things couldn’t get better, HOLYCHILD did a mash-up/cover of Aaliyah’s “Are You That Somebody” and Destiny’s Child’s “Say My Name.” As you could imagine, the crowd went CRAZY and Nistico beamed in response. HOLYCHILD finished up their set with the highly anticipated and bubbly single, “Happy with Me.”
Shortly after HOLYCHILD cleared the stage, MØ came on in cropped tank and track pants, opening her set with “Maiden,” the second track off of her 2014 LP, No Mythologies to Follow. Days before the Portland show, she had announced that she would be performing a new single, “Beg for It,” on Saturday Night Live with Iggy Azalea on 11/25. In addition to this news, MØ was also recently featured on Swedish rapper/singer, Elliphant’s new album, “One More.” All this press made seeing MØ and experiencing her larger-than-life stage presence even more astonishing. Along with performing songs such as “Waste of Time,” “Dust Is Gone,” “Pilgrim,” and “Never Wanna Know,” MØ surfed the crowd and at one point, stood up on and sang from the counter of the bar in the back of the Wonder. Everyone in the crowd wanted a piece of MØ. Her entire being was infectious. Not only were her beats dope as fuck, but her vocals were also exceptional. She ended her set/national tour with her single, “Don’t Wanna Dance” with members of HOLYCHILD joining her on stage.
Hands down, this is one of the best shows I have been to this last year.
Before the show, I caught up with HOLYCHILD (for the third time this year!!). Here’s our interview:
LL- Lanny Lieu, LN: Liz Nistico, LD: Louie Diller
LL: HOLYCHILD! This is your third time in Portland this year and tonight is your last night of tour with MØ (pronounced moo here) – is that how you say her name?
LN: Yeah, I think in Danish it’s mw-ehh but we’ve just been saying Mo, she seems to be cool with that.
LD: You got her approval, right?
LN: I got her approval. I think it’s moo – well, I’m not completely sure. We’ve just been saying Mo.
LL: How’s tour been going?
LN: It’s been amazing. She’s amazing. Watching her show is so great. Her fans are really sweet. It’s been a really good pairing of music, I think. Everyone’s been so nice and receptive. I think this is the best tour we’ve played so far.
LL: Do you guys have any crazy tour stories or moments you want to share?
LD: Yes. When we made our way through Texas to San Diego, that was an adventure. We had a show in Houston. We drove all the way across Texas in a day which is a pretty epic drive. Of course, our tire blew out in the middle of nowhere in Texas. So we got a local guy –
LN: Jay –
LD: Local guy, Jay to come through. First he pointed us $40, then it was $45, and then it went up to $65…
LN: No, no, no. It went $10 to $45 to $165 and then we were like, “dude, we’re not paying you $165” and he was like, “fine, it’s $65”
LD: It was just like, getting exploited in the middle of nowhere
LN: He was obviously like, we’re gonna make money off of this people.
LD: He knew we played in a band so that’s that. That wasn’t too bad… We saw my aunt and uncle in Phoenix and that was awesome. Then we drove from Phoenix to San Diego and we drove by these sand dunes. I don’t know if you saw our photos…
LL: I did!
LD: It was so beautiful. It was just picturesque sand dunes.
LL: Was it hot though?
LN: No, it was perfect! And we just ran up and down them. We were pretty far out in the dunes.
LD: It was right on the border of Mexico and it was magical. Then we went to see our friends in San Diego. They were these awesome people who loved in this gypsy commune and then my phone and wallet got stolen at this gypsy commune.
LN: And then the next day, I got beaten up by some rocks. I went swimming and I really hurt my legs. The ocean spit me out and I really fucked up my knee on these rocks but then we played this amazing show! Tour is just so up and down.
LL: When I first met you guys in April, you talked about how difficult it was to schedule in time to sleep and time to eat since tour schedule is so hectic. Now that you guys have been through a few national tours, would you say you’ve gotten better at it?
LN: Definitely. Those things are getting much easier. I feel like I’ve generally eaten better on this tour.
LD: Yeah, you learn. It’s like starting a new job. The first few months are a transitional period and you got to figure out how to maintain your life and happiness. I think we’ve figured it out. This tour has been the most enjoyable, for sure. Eating and sleeping has been a big part of why.
LL: Do you guys find it weird to have down time? I know you guys had a bit of time after your tour with Sleeper Agent and before you went off to London for a month. Is it weird for you to have time to hang out at home?
LN: We actually haven’t had any down time, it’s crazy. It’s really nice. When we’ve had down time, it’s been three or four days. Those days are far and few in between. In all the times we aren’t playing shows, we’re pretty busy recording and finishing our album and now we’re working on music videos and getting the album artwork ready and all the photo shoots that come along with that. There’s a lot of planning that’s going behind the scenes right now. It’s nice to be focus on that stuff. I love playing shows but I am excited to get back to L.A. and focus on those things because it’s just another part of the art and we take all sides of this seriously. Whenever we had our last break, I was able to see so few people. I guess we were recording and then we had a week of rehearsals and it was like ‘go.’
LD: It never ends but it’s something that we’re in. It’s our passion. I feel grateful to be able to do it full-time.
LL: After tonight, you guys are headed to Vegas to play the Life is Beautiful festival. What’s that going to be like? Are you only playing one set?
LD: I think we’re playing just one set. Our stage is pretty sweet. Our stage has Little Dragon and tUnE-yArDs which are the two acts we’re most excited to see so the fact that they’re on our stage is so wild.
LN: Yeah, we can just hang out backstage the whole time
LD: And geek out. God, I might fan out a bit. Might have to restrain myself.
LN (to Louie): Oh, you have a rip in your jeans. I didn’t notice.
LD: I didn’t notice today too. I was like, ‘it’s cold.’
LL: You guys have been talking about a full-length album. Do you have an expected date yet?
LN: We don’t have a date yet but mostly because it’s not completed it. It’s not in our hands. We’ve recorded all the songs and we’ve chosen all the songs. We recorded like 25 songs so we have them all. We picked the ones we want. We’re just like, mixing right now. We haven’t internally figured out a date yet but I’m really excited. It’s going to be out in 2015 – in the first half of the year, definitely. It’s just really exciting because we’ve been working so hard to create a genre of music called brat pop, which I know we’ve talked about before, and it’s cool. I think our album is much more dynamic and you’ll actually hear a bunch of new stuff from the album tonight. We’re going to be releasing another song from the album before the year is over. So we have like a little teaser and we shot a music video for it. I shot and edited it so I’m excited about it. It’s going to be out soon. Our album is very cohesive but it’s also dynamic at the same time. The song we’re releasing is like, you can’t really put your finger on where the album is yet. It’s like, you don’t know where we’re going with this song so it’s cool. We definitely have another song if we released, then you would know what direction we’re going in which isn’t the case. This one is kind of ambigious.
LD: Similar enough to the EP
LN: But it’s – we wrote in while we were in London.
LD: It’s got some London vibes, for sure.
LL: Are you guys going to perform it tonight?
LN: We are! It’s the first new one we’ll play.
LL: Have you guys thought of any titles yet?
LN: We have but we can’t tell you yet! Secret!
LD: Soon enough. We’re just hungry to get this album out and share it. We’ve been sharing it more internally with our publicist and our label and management and the head of GlassNote Records. They’ve heard all the songs and they’ve been freaking out which is nice. It’s been trickling out to more people.
LN: Yeah, my mom heard a few songs.
LD: My dad loves – yeah, feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. Especially from trusted people.
LN: Yeah, my mom – oh, your parents are worse.
LD: They’re funny. They’re from a different generation so it’s fine. There’s one song my dad’s obsessed with.
LL: I know you guys recently had your TV premiere on Good Morning, Texas. How was it?
LN: It was crazy. It was really cool to do something on TV. I really wanted to do it because I mean, you’ve seen us live before. I move around so much and I wanted to see how that was captured on TV because I feel like a lot of editing is similar. That show versus Conan or Letterman. They all edit it in a similar way so I was excited to be like, what’s the deal? But it came out great! I was really excited with it!
LD: It was a funny context. Everything else going on in the morning show was so unrelated to our song.
LN: We were right after the segment on husband calling, where farm women went out to the pastures like “JOOOEEEY”
LD: And then they were like, “And now, HOLYCHILD!” Like where are we? What is happening?
LN: When I realized that was happening, I was like this is great.
LD: Also there was some kind of b-roll and the anchors would talk in-between the takes and it really reminded me of Anchorman and I was just like, this is where Anchorman got their content from. They were super nice. I’m not trying to disrespect them or insult them but it was early in the morning, I had just woke up and I’m just like, “where am I?”
LN: And the, husband calling.
LD: “What the fuck?”
LL: That’s just the most unreal thing.
LD: It’s really promising for future TV stunts.
LN: We were tired but it was so fun. But I’m so happy to see you! Thanks so much for doing an interview with us!
LL: Thank you guys!
LN: You’re still doing KPSU right?
LN: That’s awesome.
LD: We love it! Thanks so much for your support!