With the release of their debut EP, 2016’s More Escher and Random Notes, the rising Helsinki, Finland-based indie act The Holy — Eetu Henrik Iivari (vocals, guitar), Pyry Peltonen (guitar), Laura Kangasniemi (bass), Mikko Maijala (drums) and Eero Jääskeläinen (drums) quickly emerged into the Nordic music scene, quickly developing a reputation for an enormous and rousingly anthemic sound that has drawn comparisons to Bruce Springsteen and Peter Gabriel with Krautrock influences.
Initially cutting their teeth in Helsinki’s small venue circuit, the members of The Holy have taken an explosive and passionate live show to their homeland’s national festival circuit, playing sets at Flow Festival, Ruisrock, Provinssirock, Iloasarirock and Lost In Music among others. Building upon a rapidly growing profile, the members of the Helsinki-based quintet released their full-length debut Daughter last year. The album, which thematically touched upon how the 1990s Finnish economic recession impacted this current generation of its young people was a game-charger for the band, as it the album received praise across both Finland and Europe, eventually garnering a Finnish Grammy (EMMA) Critics’ Choice nomination.
The Holy supported the album with a busy touring schedule across Sweden and the Europe that included the continent’s festival circuit with stops at Eurosonic Nooderslag, Iceland Airwaves, Reeperbahn Festival, Where Is The Music, JaJaJa Music London, Berlin, and Vienna. Additionally, while they were touring, German/French TV Arte filmed the band’s set at last year’s Flow Festival in cooperation with Finland’s YLE — and KEXP filmed their Iceland Airwaves set.
Originally scheduled for release this spring and now slated for a November 6, 2020 release through Playground Music, the rising Finnish act’s highly-anticipated sophomore album Mono Freedom is a semi-utopian sci-fi tale, inspired by Alan Weisman’s The World Without Us, which explores a number of scenarios of what would happen to Earth if humans were to suddenly disappear. Set in the somewhat distant future on a dying Earth, the planet’s last humans decide to gather their things, build a rocket and travel to the nearest black hole. They know that there is probably nothing out there but it’s one of humanity’s last desperate ideas and last hopes. In the realm of this world, this is generally seen as a positive, not as an absurdly hopeless, dystopian vision.
“During our Daughter tour, I read the science book, The World Without Usby Alan Weisman, and I got inspired and sad at the same time. It seems that humans just took a leap in the evolution progress a million years ago and have been fucking things up since,” The Holy’s Eetu Henrik Iivari explains in press notes. “I started to play with an idea of a space odyssey of the last people on earth, eventually building a rocket and flying into the nearest black hole. And they just don’t make it. They are too dumb to make it. And that’s it. And after a few hundred years, Mother Earth doesn’t even remember it was once occupied by humans.
“And this eventually got me thinking about the Western way of life and the idea of freedom. How one-way, single-minded and boxed-in it is. When you wake up in a modern western city — there is almost nothing you can do that doesn’t rip somebody. It’s late modern capitalism, a jail built on the grounds of believing that you have a choice. And that you make a choice. But most of it is already aimed towards consumerism. We just like to think that we find things by ourselves, but most of it is given. And it’s just so frustrating. To do the right thing from one day to another and navigate in the middle of all this evil around us.
[But even though the theme is not the lightest in the world, I wanted the album to mirror hope and to be empowering. A friend for people having similar thoughts.”
Earlier this year, the rising Finnish act released a double single, “No Trial In The Dark” and “Twilight Of The Idiots.” “Twilight of the Idiots” is a rousingly anthemic song that immediately brings s A Rush of Blood to the Head-era Coldplay, Peter Gabriel and The Unforgettable Fire U2 to mind through a combination of earnest emotionality and ambitious songwriting. “No Trial In The Dark” continues in a similar vein but while being much more percussive and cinematic. “I wrote ‘Twilight Of The Idiots,’ ‘Swim,’ ‘The Rocket Song’ and ‘No Trial In The Dark’ very close to each other and we recorded those songs in the same sessions,” Iivari recalls in press notes. “After that I knew what other songs should be on this album and the narrative started to be clear. We followed that path and never turned back.”
“I Don’t Know,'” Mono Freedom‘s third and latest single continues a run of rousingly anthemic and arena friendly material, centered around deeply earnest songwriting and breakneck yet passionate playing. While sonically, the track brings early U2 to mind — particularly Boy and October — thanks to angular, reverb-drenched guitar chords, forceful and dramatic drumming and Ivari’s plaintive vocals, the song comes from a deeply personal and lived-in place:
“This song is basically about being bipolar. At least on some level. I have no diagnosis and I might not be the right person to talk about it, ” Ivari says “but I’ve been struggling the most part of my life with heavy mania vs. depression and it has taken a huge toll on a lot of things. I have found a way to live with it and function in society nowadays, but it still takes a lot of work every day. It also gives a lot though, being in the deep end of mania is like a drug from the future and I do get a lot of things done. But it’s also super hard to keep that level and it brings you down really really low when you just can’t.
“I learned from a silly love themed tv show that it’s good to talk about it. To give the people around you some knowledge about it and tools to work with you. So I ended up writing this song and tried to open it slowly. The tune is pretty uplifting and I wanted it to be light and kind of funny, because the last thing I want is to add a shadow of darkness and depression over the matter and keep repeating the pattern of adding shame on this kind of stuff. That it is some mystic dark depressive thing etc. It is just a thing. We all have our things.”