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Holyfangs Talks Debut EP, Recording the Album, Naming The Band, & More

LA’s Holyfangs recently released their debut EP, simply titled I. We chatted with guitarist and vocalist of the band Giuliano Messina about the band’s formation, the writing and recording of the first tracks, and so much more.

We’ll start with basics; please introduce the band and let us know how Holyfangs started.

So we are – Giuliano (“G”) – guitar and vocals; Chris – guitar and backing vocals; Gabe – bass; Mike – drums.

Short story: Craigslist, Craigslist, and Craigslist.

Long story: I moved to LA early last year and the first thing I did was make a Craigslist ad looking for a band. I found some other guys to play music with, and we met Mike the same way. We actually ended up playing with another drummer, but I felt that Mike and I clicked immediately. A couple months later, I left that group (we’ll call it… creative differences) and right I was like “can you give me Mike’s number?” So Mike and I started writing music, went back onto Craigslist for a bassist, and one of the guys that answered was Chris. Over a beer we all got along well, Chris told us he leaned towards guitar so we thought, “Okay, it’s a four-piece, and we’ll keep looking for a bassist.”

This time, I was browsing the Craigslist musician ads AGAIN, this time I saw an ad a bassist had just put up that had all the right things and bands. So I message him, it turns out he and Mike had already played in a band a decade ago, and that was it.

After years of playing in other bands, what are the differences between those bands and Holyfangs?

I don’t wanna speak for the other guys, we’ve all had different band experiences over the last 15-20 years. But I do feel like this time is more of a culmination and a combination of band-related knowledge. Usually joining a band is more of a lateral move, all you really expect is everyone knows how to play an instrument.

But I feel like, with Holyfangs, we cover a lot more ground than just a group of people that know how to play their instruments. Chris knows the music industry at a professional level, Gabe has plenty of contacts and band knowledge from his Spanish Love Songs days, and Mike always has feedback on the songs I bring in that’s a 180 from what I originally write, that I’d never think of but that makes me a better writer the next time.

The lyrics of this new EP covers some very positive subject matter. Do you have any inside stories you can share about writing the new album?

Lyrically, I think I’ve always kind of shied away from applying literal stories to music. I love a good Johnny Cash song as much as the next guy. But, when writing, it doesn’t really inspire me to be creative. So a lot of the lyrics are more like, “What’s the emotion I’m thinking about, and how do I get that through with metaphor or sometimes a hint of real events?”, but just to serve the emotional side.

During the recording process, did any song come out quicker than others? Did any song take a while to really feel like it was fully finished?

I think for the most part, things were pretty equal across the EP. We went in thinking, “This is how we practiced it. This is how we’ll record it.” I know I’m not unique listening back and thinking, “Oh this or that should’ve been done better or louder or something.”  No song’s ever really finished until you arbitrarily decide it is.

But we didn’t wanna overthink this first one. We had the EP written, so record it, get it out, and keep on trucking and keep developing and refining. I think there’s gonna be something kind of cool about doing it this way – because we didn’t spend a month in a studio recording and refining, in future releases you’re gonna hear musical development from the actual songs and not from overproduction.

Does Holyfangs have any shows lined up?

We just had one! We just played the Rainbow bar in West Hollywood. We ended up having a few vacations pile on so once those are over with we’ll start lining ‘em up.

How about any other releases in the works?

We’re already set on the songs for EP 2. We’re planning for a little pile of evenly spaced EPs to build up and keep some momentum. An LP is nice once we’ve got enough material out, but for now the EPs are smaller slices of what we’re writing at any moment.

If any of the members of the band have children or are around children, how hard do the kids dance to the tunes?

All children love Holyfangs, I think. I dunno man, my dog likes to sit next to me when I write, but she also eats cat shit, so…

What are some other names the band tossed around before landing on Holyfangs?

This one took a little while to settle on. We didn’t want something that one guy didn’t like, because it’s everyone’s band identity. First it was “Holy Fang” with no s. “Sad Prayers” was thrown around a bit. I remember us joking around a bit too long on “Small Moms” to the point that i was like… should this be growing on me? Then we came back around to “Holy Fang” but I think :Holyfangs” felt less awkward.

Where can readers and fans find more info on Holyfangs?

We’re trying to fill the usual buckets – Bandcamp, Spotify, Pandora. We’ll probably start an Only Fans just because Holy Fangs kind of accidentally almost sounds like Only Fans. I don’t know what the implications are of that yet, might be magical.

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