Hollyy  Starts 2021 With Soulful Double-Side Single Release

Retro-soul band Hollyy have hit the ground running in 2021 by dropping not one but two new soulful and summery singles. Inspired by the vocals of Sam Cooke and the instrumentation of Wilco and Whitney, this double-sided follow-up to their debut EP, Miss the Feeling, serves as a harmonious and sentimental preview of what fans can expect from the Chicago natives.

Ones To Watch was able to talk with the band about their latest singles and what their plans are for the foreseeable, hopefully pandemic-less, future.

Ones to Watch: How has your perspective on your music changed since the release of the Miss the Feeling EP?

Tanner: I don’t think too much has changed from a music perspective, to be honest. But I can tell you that back in September, we were hopeful that by Summer 2021, we would be living a normal gig and tour-filled life. That glimmer of optimism has since faded more and more into the realistic likelihood that it will not happen. Other than that, we’ve been working even harder at recording, writing, and producing our debut full-length. We’re also busy enhancing our studios and gear as well so we can plan virtual shows to wrap up the winter and spring.

Brandon: We’ve been writing a lot over the last year, and the pandemic has informed my perspective. It’s maybe not a giant shift, but I certainly find myself trying to be more honest about my emotions or the events that are shaping my life.

You guys started 2021 full speed ahead with not one but TWO singles coming out on Feb. 19. What made you all want to release a double side, and why these singles?

Tanner: Double-side records have an interesting history in Funk and R&B record labels in the 60s and 70s. We think it’s a cool concept to keep alive as it’s mostly gone away in the last couple of decades. And then, especially with our musical influences being so deeply rooted in these genres and funk/soul/r&b artists, we love doing anything we can to pay respect and honor traditions. “Hesitate” and “Sailing” didn’t make it on to our 2020 EP, but we felt they melded very nicely together and complete a satisfactory double-side record.

Brandon: Yeah, “Hesitate” and “Sailing” were written and recorded before the pandemic, and we had to stop our usual routine. They compliment each other well and make a good bridge between our 2020 EP and what we’ve been working on over the last year.

What are y'all’s plans for future releases? (Unless it’s a secret, of course, and you want to surprise your fans.)

Tanner: We’re forever recording new music! Eyes are still on the prize for doing a full-length album, but especially with where we’re at with live music. Almost everything gets continuously placed on hold, and there are a lot of release ideas to consider. Singles, double-sides, videos, virtual performances, all of this comes into consideration right now, and we’re also in the works on everything just laid out. It’s a busy winter and spring, but it’s fun!

Brandon: We’ve been busy writing and recording, and there’s still a lot of work we need to do, but I’m excited for people to hear what we’ve been working on.

Fans recently had the chance to see you play a live studio session with Audiotree. How did all of you feel leading up to the stream? Were you nervous, and if so, what did you do to stay centered and show ready?

Tanner: Playing an Audiotree session has always been a dream, especially being a band from Chicago, so I guess there was a tad bit of added pressure, but overall it just felt so good to unleash and play an energetic live set. It was exciting to get into a rehearsal schedule again leading up to the set since we haven’t consistently been able to do that much over the past year. In terms of dealing with nerves in our band, we pick up each other when we recognize someone is nervous or anxious before a performance. We try to keep things light and make sure that at the end of the day, we’re all having fun!

Brandon: I was nervous! It’s been a while since we were able to play together, and I felt the pressure of putting on an excellent performance after months of not being able to practice.

Do you feel more or less able to be vulnerable nowadays?

Brandon: I’ve been trying to open up more this last year and broaden my perspective on the world and what matters to me. I’ve always been very introspective, but lately, I’ve been trying to understand different perspectives and how I can relate.

Pete: I think a sense of vulnerability comes and goes. The everyday drudgery of bad news sometimes gets to me, and I sort of go numb for a week or a two just trying to process everything. Usually, it’s new music or a good movie that brings me back down to earth and helps me feel more human.

What are the best parts/worst parts of your day?

Tanner: *laughs* Reading the news for sure.

Brandon: Honestly, the days have just been blending together for a while. Meeting a few days a week, even if it’s online, to work on new music or the next project has kept me sane and focused.

Pete: The best part is usually finally being able to focus on music in some way, shape or form, pretty much the only thing to look forward to, haha.

I saw recently on the band’s Instagram that Pete recently refreshed the “Songs For Hollyy” playlist on your Spotify artist page! In your opinion, what makes a great playlist, and which song on it is your favorite?

Tanner: We certainly don’t refresh that playlist as much as we bounce new songs and suggestions over to each other on text or Slack, but these playlists are fun because they usually really are reflective of who our most recent inspirations are.

Pete: I know many people get wrapped up in playlist making like artists making a setlist, but for me, playlists are more like a record of the time they were created. Mostly they’re songs that stick out to me and grab me in the moment, but I find in retrospect that usually those songs were indicative of the mood I was in and what was going on in my life.

“Hesitate,” produced with the help of Nixon Boyd (Royal Mountain Records & Hollerado), and “Sailing,” are now both available for streaming and with a 45 vinyl in the works!

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