Known for her lo-fi, garage-band-meets-country sound, Holly Golightly with The Brokeoffs (technically just multi-instrumentalist Lawyer Dave) recently released their 5th collaboration – No Help Coming.
Holly took some time while on tour to talk with us about the sound, balancing music with her life and the 20+ animals on her Georgia farm.
Q: So you’ve got the new record out, No Help Coming – what’s one thing that you’re particularly proud of about the album?
A: In terms of which song? I can’t really – you can’t say that when you make music. I don’t know, it’s not fair. It’s like children, you can’t say you’ve got a favorite, and I think I’m proud that we made it sound big as it was, and we hadn’t anticipated that it would be quite as good as it was, or that we’d be quite as happy with it as we are.
Q: When you say “we,” it’s billed as yourself and the Brokeoffs, but it’s essentially you and Lawyer Dave. It’s a very big sound for two people.
A: For 2 people, yeah. Well actually, mostly for 1 person, ‘cause Dave plays drums with his feet. That’s how we work, we play live the same way. Dave plays guitar and drums at the same time.
Q: Holly Golightly isn’t a stage name, but a given name. Do you feel any kinship to the Truman Capote character?
A: No, not really. It’s a fictional character to begin with, isn’t it. It’s not a real person, and I could have just as easily been called anything else from any other book that my mother was reading when she was pregnant. I don’t seem to bare much relation. I think we probably – Audrey Hepburn had the same color hair as I do. I think that’s where it ends.
Q: What does your creative process look like, when you’re going to write or to play, how do you pull that together?
A: We’ve been playing together for a really long time in one form or another. The most recent guise is just the 2 of us, but we have played in a 4-piece band together for about 12 years. I suppose how does anybody sit down and write songs? Dave would give some backing tracks, sometimes I’ll come up with some lyrics or backing tracks. We just work it out as we go along, really. There isn’t really a formula that’s set in stone. It’s just, when we have a project to work on, that’s what we apply ourselves to doing, and we get on with it.
Q: You’ve said that your musical style hasn’t evolved much? But this is something you’re proud of.
A: I don’t believe it has, really. It’s done with more gusto and confidence now, but I don’t think stylistically it’s really gone very many places. I’m not really a pioneer musically, I don’t think of myself as being that, and I’ve sort of stuck to what I like and what I know. And I think that’s probably a good thing.
You can only do what you can do, can’t you? It’s really funny, because I don’t think what I do is any way purist, but it has sort of an authenticity… I am what I am, and I don’t only play music. I mean, I do a lot of other things besides. So it’s like one of the skills I’ve somehow mastered by fluke more than anything else, just by sheer tenacity. I’ve just done it for so long that I’ve found a way of doing it that works for me, and so I think everything – I think of everything as being authentic to me, really.
Q: When did you start playing music?
A: I didn’t decide anything. I was going out with somebody who was in a band, and all the girlfriends did some backing vocals on one of the records, and – just because they wanted some girly backing vocals, and none of us had sung before, but I certainly hadn’t ever sung live before, and we went out and did it live for them, and we made our album, and it went on from there, really. It was never an aspiration of mine to be on stage. I mean if somebody had told me when I was 16 this is what I’d be doing 25 years later, I don’t think I would have believed them.
Q: What would you have thought you’d be doing?
A: Well, everything else I do besides playing music. You know, the things I do outside of being involved in music. The thing that I trained to do, which is teach writing, and working with horses. The things I still do, but I’d be doing them for a living rather than this.
Q: Do you find it’s difficult to balance all the other things you do with the music?
A: It has been at times. Not anymore, because I’ve set myself up so that it isn’t. That was the whole point, really, and when I go away and do it, that’s the thing I’m doing when I’m playing music. But when I’m not away doing it, that’s the other thing that I’m doing, is being – I’m getting on with that. So now, the balance is very – to plan ahead and know what’s going on. When I was working fulltime with horses and playing music, that – they’re not entirely compatible, because one involves very early starts, and one involves very late nights. So that – there has been times where it’s been quite difficult to balance it. Well, I mean not even balance it, but just getting enough fucking sleep to do those things, that’s what’s been difficult more than anything.
Q: Besides your instruments, what are the top 5 things that you have to have while you’re traveling?
A: I have to have my favorite jacket. Which is an oilskin jacket. It goes everywhere with me, whether it’s rain or shine, that’s the jacket I take. I have to have a pair of sensible boots with me, and I have to have something to remind me of home. And it isn’t always photographs. Right now, on my person, I have feathers from my parrot, or something that reminds me of home, like some memento. My old dog died, and I always have a little tuft of his hair in my wallet. It’s just silly things like that that I have to have with me. I have my glasses, and I’ve got the feathers in my case that carries the glasses, so every time I put my glasses on the feathers fall out, and I have to pick them up and put them back in, but I’m very precious about them. And, what else do I need? I need to have cigarettes, and I need to have a phone that I know how to work.
Q: How many animals do you have?
A: About 25. That’s counting the heads. They’re lots of different types of animals. They’ve all got faces and names… the horses, the dogs, the geese.