Holly Rees has become a cornerstone of our music library since our paths aligned last June with the release of “Magpie”, the single that has kicked off quite a journey to follow. For those who haven’t come along for the ride yet, Holly dropped the wonderful Slow Down EP, did a headline show at Think Tank? and upped sticks to conquer Canada.
Proper badass move, but what started as a modest tour has turned into a mammoth 40+ date behemoth that involves landing a spot on Canadian Music Week, buying and converting a van into a mobile home and also the release of a new, live EP. Text Me When You Get There – The Live EP brings the Think Tank? performance to your ears and brings a full band that transforms the likes of Ilex alumni in “His Thermos Song” and “Better” into proper beefy, anthemic tunes.
With the EP set for release on May 3rd, we’ve had the honour to chat to Holly about all things Canada, the EP and the IndieGoGo campaign so take a second, have a read, have a listen, and enjoy.
Hey Holly! How’s it going? Good thanks! How are you my sweet goat loving friend?
How’s Canada treating you? How long have you been out there now? Canada is great! I’ve actually been here for two months now which is mad, been working super hard organising the Canadian tour (which is now looking to be around 40 dates, which is nuts) and juggling that with working on everything for the new release too – with some exploring and adventuring thrown in too.
Even took a few weeks out to cross over to the states, spent a day in Seattle drinking way too much coffee and then flew up to Alaska, which was incredible. Saw the northern lights and a baby moose and I even walked over a frozen lake to touch a glacier. Insane.
As well as taking in the sights and preparing for your tour, you’ve also landed a spot on Canadian Music Week festival in Toronto! How did that come about? How’d you feel when you got the news? How mad is that! I sent in an application months ago, before I even flew out to Canada, but then totally forgot about it because it’s such a massive festival and it just wasn’t in any realms of reality to me that I’d actually get selected. I got the email when I was still out in Hamilton in Ontario (where I flew out to when I first came over), and just like sat and stared at it, read it a few times and then freaked out. Absolutely nuts. And I’m pretty sure I cried.
You set up an IndieGoGo campaign to help gain support for getting you to CMW. In light of the recent events surrounding PledgeMusic, how was your experience in setting up the campaign? How important have crowdfunding sites such as IndieGoGo, Kickstarter, GoFundMe etc become for independent artists like yourself?I think crowdfunding is SO important for independent artists. It’s a great way to connect with people too, but the main thing I think is it makes it just about the music and the people listening, which is very cool.
I use Patreon which is a kind of long-term subscription based crowdfunding, which I really love because it’s given me the opportunity to grow this small community on their who get to hear demos before anyone else, and songs that might never make it out into public, and in exchange I get a more regular financial boost that helps me to keep making music. Everyone wins!
Launching a big crowdfunding campaign like this one was a whole new experience though, and there’s still so much I don’t know and that I’m learning as I go along. I have to give a big shout out to Savannah at the Music Mermaid who wrote a brilliant piece on crowdfunding for musicians, and allowed me to pick her brains to put this campaign together!
You’re about to drop a new live EP titled Text Me When You Get There – The Live EP. What can you tell us about the EP? Could we expect to hear more live material from you in the future? So this new EP comes out on the 3rd May, the weekend before I play Canadian Music Week! I’m really excited for people to hear the EP – we recorded it at my last headline show in the UK, which was a fantastic packed out show in Newcastle. It’s gonna be really great to have people be able to hear the full-band live sound too, especially of some of the older songs like “His Thermos Song” and “Better” which right now only exist on the Ilex EP as very stripped back tracks, just me and guitar.
One of the best perks (in my opinion) on the CMW indiegogo campaign is a deluxe version of this Live EP, which includes the live version of “Missing Out”, also recorded at that show, as a bonus track which won’t be available anywhere else – so if people want the bonus track, the campaign is the only way to get your hands on it!
As for more live material in the future, there’s nothing planned but I’d say it’s pretty likely. There have been live tracks on the Ilex EP and as a B-side to my last single back in December, and now this full live EP. I think the live experience is very special, and I can’t see that changing anytime soon.
“Better” is the single from the upcoming EP. What made you choose it as the song for people to hear first? Yeah, so I decided pretty early on that I wanted to release a single ahead of the full EP release in May, both to get people excited (hopefully) about this new EP and to help promote the CMW crowdfunding campaign, but there was a fair amount of discussion about which track it should be. I talked it through with the band and we eventually decided “Better” was the perfect choice. I really like that this version of “Better”, full band and live, is so different to the version recorded on the Ilex EP but it’s still the same song (…just Better).EYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY
Finally, if you could close out this interview with one final thought, what would it be? YOU’RE THE BEST.
One final thought hmmm. That even though it’s proper stressful sometimes, it truly is a privilege to spend my days doing this. I can’t wait for tour or for people to hear the new EP or to play Canadian Music Week. It just pure blows my mind that people want to hear the sounds I’m making. And I’m so grateful for it.