A couple months back, I had the distinct pleasure of sitting down with the Holy White Hounds when they were playing a show in Syracuse. They are a super talented alternative rock band from the Midwest and equally nice guys. Their debut album, Sparkle, Sparkle was released in May of this year. Their single, “Switchblade,” has caught a lot of ears. It’s played everywhere, it’s super catchy, and it’s garnering the Holy White Hounds some quick popularity that these guys intend to translate into longevity in this business. Don’t take my word for it. Go catch them when they are in Upstate NY. Your next opportunity is November 19th, 2016 in Niagara Falls.
Ambrose: We’re just starting to. This is our third east coast run. We did one with The Cult and we did a headlining one before this like 6 weeks ago. Now this is our third one and it’s really nice out here. We’re from the Midwest so the heartland is always fun to tour in but yeah, it’s good coming out here.
James: Adding to that, I really do like the east coast, and I’ve said this before – I like how people are abrasive and more likely to be assholes here. Midwest is so polite it almost ends up being a little bit fraudulent, like it doesn’t seem like they’re being honest with you and straight forward.
UMF: Do you find that to be up and down the whole east coast?
James: Mostly New York, especially Boston. Man, they have the funnest accent ever. I like that.
UMF: I was reading some bios of Holy White Hounds. Just to clear the air and make it official here – one bio says you started the band in 2005, another says 2013. Which is accurate?
Ambrose: We began in 2013. Brenton and I had been playing. We’ve known each other for like 11 years, been in different bands, stuff like that. Holy White Hounds is 3 ½ years old.
Ambrose: Basically, me and Brenton were jamming one day and I was messing around with that bass line. He came in and he was like, “That’s yours?” And I was like, “Yeah I’m just messing around with it,” and he said he had the perfect lyrics to go over it and we just jammed on it for an hour or 2 and it just came together.
UMF: Those lyrics you just had in your pocket somewhere totally separate from this or you kind of put them together right there?
Brenton: Yeah, that was just an idea I was working on. I had those words stuck in my head. The song’s about getting head, so it’s a good song.
UMF: It’s catchy as shit! I don’t know if it’s offensive or not, but for the longest time I thought it was the new Beck song because it just resembles, to me, Beck in a bunch of different ways. I hope that’s not offensive . . .
Brenton: It’s not offensive at all. Beck is incredible and on that song particularly, the band does have a Beck vibe. I’m not gonna shy away from admitting that. I’ve had enough people tell me that it sounds like Beck that it clearly does. The market has spoken. When we were in the studio, our producer even told us he thought it sounded like something that could be off of The Information disc which is cool because it’s one of my favorite Beck records. It’s weird because, though I acknowledge the Beck influence on that track, I don’t think that people would hear Beck on any other track on the album. Maybe they would, but I don’t think that they would, so it will be interesting to see how that levels out when the next singles come out and the next album and people get more of the music and hear more things. I don’t know if that’s a reason that they like us or don’t like us. Their opinion might change based on what they hear next because the next stuff is not really like that. “Switchblade” was kind of a weird song for us.
Brenton: It’s gonna be a song called “Blind.”
UMF: And by the way, I don’t think it’s a bad thing to be compared to Beck. I think it indicates your level of creativity. In my opinion that’s a huge compliment.
Brenton: I totally agree. If anything, I just feel sorry for Beck.
UMF: I hear your song on the local radio all the time. Like, to a degree that you would automatically think it’s the new Beck single. With all this recent exposure, are you feeling the momentum like you’re getting big quickly?
Ambrose: There are some cities where it feels that way, yeah. There are some cities where you’ll show up and there’ll be a line around the venue and we thought we were in the wrong place. There are places where you walk in and people recognize you and want their picture with you and stuff, and that’s really flattering and really exciting. And then there’s other places where we’re still “just playing shows.” Any recognition – that’s how a band makes their living is based off the recognition of their music, so all that stuff is very welcome. It’s cool.
UMF: New success = tons of new exposure = tons of new experiences. Are you getting new things to write about out of all these experiences on the road? Are you getting a lot of new things to draw from?
Brenton: Yeah, almost to an overwhelming point that it’s like, where do we start? I feel there are so many ideas floating around the bend right now that the hardest part is, what do we finish first? And the hardest part of songwriting is finishing the song. That’s what I’ve found anyway. I can start a song – “Man, this song is awesome!” But you gotta bring it down to Earth at some point and finish and it’s hard.
UMF: So what’s in the big picture for Holy White Hounds? What’s next? Anything specific you want your fans to know?
Brenton: I would encourage people to look at our website for updates because we do have some things coming up and some opportunities that we aren’t really allowed to talk about just yet. There is cool stuff in the works.
THANK YOU to the Holy White Hounds for your time. This band is certainly worth your attention!