Holy Hail


Written by Leni Rowles
Photos and illustrations by William Pine
17 Monday 17th December 2007

It’s true that I’ve always been a little nervous… some would say paranoid. But I wouldn’t need to be this way if people weren’t always out to get me. You would be the same if you’d been through what I have. It’s a miracle I survived my school years what with the dinner ladies trying to poison me every day. Even my own mother has hired someone to kill me.

So, it was with great reluctance that I agreed to write this article on Holy Hail for Don’t Panic. I meet the band on a rainy Saturday afternoon at the Wellcome Collection on Euston Road. They seem fairly normal on first appearance, but then you never know...

We head upstairs to Medicine Man – a selection of artefacts from Sir Henry Wellcome’s massive and macabre collection. The band members huddle together to look at something in a glass case and I head over to see what it is. A torture chair! Sharp blades line the seat and arms and spikes adorn the head and back. I’m sure I see them smiling… What’s the matter with these people?

A Chinese wood and steel torture chair

Following the threesome over to a display of prosthetic limbs, which they seem unhealthily intrigued by, I grit my teeth and decide to get started with the interview. I discover that they are Kat, Michally and Kevin, they live in New York, they met a few years ago through mutual friends, assembled Holy Hail and now they are on tour. It’s hard to get much more out of them while they’re distracted by a glinting array of elaborate surgical instruments. Michally thinks it appropriate to inform me which of the foot-long knives is her favourite. I pull my scarf more tightly around my throat…

British amputation saw produced by John Weiss

A little later I find myself alone with Kevin, surrounded by chastity belts, anti-masturbation devices and ancient Chinese sex toys. This is much too close for comfort. Any guy in a band with two girls is blatantly a pervert. My fingers grope around in my handbag – if this fucking fucker tries to get rapey, I’m going to ram my house key into is eye. I decide to talk to Kat next - she looks quite sweet and normal. I find her enthusiastically gawking at some scary old masks. These masks were used to cover the disfigured faces of torture victims.

Headthinker V by Laura Ford

Next we head downstairs to the Sleeping & Dreaming exhibition. It’s dark. Kat heads straight over to some figures of children with horses’ heads. That’s what tips the balance. My heart palpitates frantically and I gulp at the air. Before I have time to question my behaviour, I find myself clattering out of the gallery and running frantically down Euston Road, Holy Hail and the photographer Will left standing there looking at each other confusedly.

That evening all I want to do is stay under my duvet. But I call the editor Heydon and he tells me that I have to go to Be at Bloomsbury Ballrooms where Holy Hail are playing live. I hate him!

Holy Hail live at Be

I arrive just in time to see those three familiar faces step on stage and begin. Kat dances around with her microphone, Kevin plunks on the keyboard and Michally shakes her hair like a rocker.

They sound OK, I suppose. I've never really been into music. The crowd seem to love them though. But they don’t know what I know… That earlier today this bunch wanted to strap me to a torture chair, put a mask on me and cut me up with surgical instruments. Sickos!

Michally gets into it

Check Holy Hail at www.myspace.com/holyhail

Their track Cool Town Rock is out now on ACTH Recordings. Thanks once again to Leanne Mison, the hostess with the mostess at Bang On...

Photography by William Pine

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