Holy Fuck’s Graham Walsh
Holy Fuck’s Graham Walsh Releases First Solo Track
AS A LONGTIME MEMBER OF ELECTRO-ROCK PROVOCATEURS HOLY
FUCK and a producer, mixer and engineer who’s worked with the likes of Alvvays, METZ, Hannah Georgas and Sam Roberts Band, Graham Walsh’s sonic palette is vast. Whether working with raucous noise rockers or crisp, clear singer-songwriters, Walsh is versatile and creative enough to transmute his talents to the needs of the song thanks to his seemingly endless array of tools.
But when challenged by the team at YSL Pro to record a new track with minimal gear, Walsh had to throw his bag of tricks out the window. And yet, “Dummy Head” — the first non-remix track released under Walsh’s name — retains so many of his trademark sounds. Fans of Holy Fuck’s electronic explorations will recognize the pointillist synths, chopped-up vocal samples and deceptive rhythms. The result is a moody, atmospheric track that takes a subtler approach to Holy Fuck’s abrasive pop, building into a dizzying whirlwind of sound that is as melodic as it is disorienting.
When listening to “Dummy Head,” it’s hard to tell how different Walsh’s setup was for this track compared to his usual routine. “I used a Modal Electronics ARGON8 synth and a Royer R-10 ribbon microphone to capture drums and vocals, and only used the Universal Audio Apollo x4 interface and plugins for effects,” says Walsh.
Even with the limited tools, Walsh went about stretching them to the limit in order to conjure the most interesting sounds from them as possible. Says Walsh, “One thing I did to get some more unexpected results and ‘life’ was set up a feedback loop within ProTools through the Korg SDD-3000 Digital Delay plugin and Pure Plate Reverb plugin with a modulating MOOG Multimode Filter on it. I sent various sounds to this filtered delay/reverb to get a cool sound, but I also sent that delay/ verb back onto itself, thus creating a feedback loop.” He adds, “On top of that, I was pulling up the Precision EQ, Cambridge EQ, Cooper Time Cube, and UA 1176 [LN Classic Limiting Amplifier] plugins.”
One of the bright sides of the pandemic is that it’s freed Walsh to be able to experiment more with his music. He says, “Holy Fuck had all of our tour dates cancelled twice because of the pandemic, and none of us live in the same city anymore, so I definitely had a bit of pentup creative energy inside me.”
Though “Dummy Head” marks Walsh’s first proper solo release, it won’t be his last. “I scored a documentary film that’ll be out in the fall, so it’s got ‘Graham Walsh’ music in it,” he reveals. There’s also new Holy Fuck material in the works, among other projects. “Most of the bits that I write and ideas I come up with end up going into Holy Fuck songs. We have a couple new tracks coming out soon that we worked on remotely. I do enjoy collaborating with people a lot, though. My wife and I still write together a lot, and I love working on other artists’ records as well!” To hear “Dummy Head,” visit exclaim. ca/ music.