Origins is a recurring new music feature in which an artist charts the influence of their latest single.
Sweden’s Hannes Ferm first introduced the world to his HOLY project in 2015 with his debut LP, Stabs. Fans who first encountered the songwriter back then may not recognize where he’s taken his music three years on from that release. His new album, All These Worlds Are Yours, sound like his garage pop sound has gotten lost in space — and that’s not entirely inaccurate.
The new music was born out of many things, but a primary source of inspiration was Ferm’s fascination with the extraterrestrial. “I think that a lot of the songs are about this… character, almost… That thinks she’s been abducted; brainwashed,” he said in a press release. “And then comes back to earth. And I think every song has a trace of that in it – but it’s purely metaphorical. It’s a daydream, a form of escape.”
HOLY’s new single “Wish ㍛” certainly has that hint of the otherworldly in it. A drummer boy beat propels the track towards a starry sky filled with purple and pink hued synths, a swirling nebula of psychedelic glam rock. It’s a journey towards the unknown and awesome beauty beyond our atmosphere, like the Spiders from Mars soundtracked a rocket launch. Take a listen below.
To shed light on the far more earthly influences of “Wish ㍛”, HOLY has shared the Origins of his latest track. From a cat to instant ramen to, yes, David Bowie, see what Ferm turned to for inspiration below.
The Laocoön Group:
This sculpture stands at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts and it depicts Laocoön and his two sons being attacked by serpents. I go look at it sometimes because it reminds me of the recording process.
In the studio I ate instant noodles almost exclusively. I like to buy frozen soy beans as well and let them boil with the noodles. The store closest to the studio has these slightly more luxury noodles that comes with chili powder and sesame oil. Can’t remember the brand but I recommend it. Now my producer eats instant noodles for lunch as well sometimes so I already feel like I have achieved something with this album.
My cat Isa:
For my 18th birthday I got a white cat named Isa. My father went to a shelter and instead of picking one of her kittens he chose her, a fat white cat that used to live in the wild but now feels like she’s retired. Super sweet and social but like tired of life. She lives together with my father, and they remind me of each other. Makes me wonder if cats can be bipolar?? The lyrics for Wish 3 were initially “white shadow / little tiger / as you lay down / on another morning”. Then I changed it, now it’s a love song. But it’s dedicated to them, my cat and my father.
“Sweet Thing, Candidate, Sweet Thing — (Reprise)” by David Bowie:
I got into Bowie really heavily just before he died, so his death, like for a lot of people, made me really sad. I guess it’s a very used reference as well but these three songs really opened my eyes in a lot of ways.
Fostex 250 multitrack cassette recorder:
When I first recorded this song I lived in Umeå, and I recorded it in a bedroom that I rented for a short period of time. I got thrown out because the other person that lived there thought my room was too untidy and I guess I made a lot of noise. I had no money, so I used to bring food home that I found in dumpsters. I really do wish I was good at cleaning, but no one taught me how. But anyways, so I had that Fostex cassette recorder set up in the middle of the room and I remember recording the first version of “Wish 3” and two, three other songs of All These Worlds Are Yours during the time I lived there, on that four-track. I remember it really driving me creatively, only having four tracks to record on. I also remember those versions sounding really dumb, like really stupidly recorded. I wanna release them some day.