LA-based Happy Hollows
entered our earwaves a few years back with their debut release Spells
, which introduced us to Sarah Negahdari's experimental guitar pop. Recently, we were made aware of the trio's latest production, Amethyst
, due out July 30th, after hearing its single "Endless" (below), and we were itching to find out more about dreamy progression of the new album.
We caught up with Sarah and discussed what occupied the band's time leading up to the making of their sophomore LP. We also chatted about her tenure as Nikki Monninger's maternity-leave fill-in during the Silversun Pickups' 2012 tour, and the possible return of the amazing, yet short-lived web show, Carol's Long Island Minute
Your first album was in 2009. Why was there such a large gap between first and second albums? We missed you.
That is a good question! The funny thing is, we never took a break from practicing and meeting several times a week to work on songs. After we finished touring for Spells
at the end of 2010, we worked on my Pisces solo album for a few months. After that we had to find a new drummer, and then we had to write all the new songs, that process took up most of 2011. We recorded the album in the Winter/Spring of 2012, but then I got the gig touring for Silversun so we decided to release the record in 2013. Long story short, we've been working hard on our songs and never took a break from writing music!
How has your sound changed since 2009? I noticed your new songs are more synthy. Is that because you didn't have a drummer to work with for a while?
We didn't have a drummer for 4-5 months. So when Charlie and I would meet to practice and write songs, we'd just have synth loops keep the tempo and we'd write over those. Sometimes I'd play drums and sing as well. It was a different way of writing songs and so a somewhat new sound emerged from the process.
I understand you worked with Lewis Pesacov, who was Best Coast's producer on their first album. Do you think that surf-sound rubbed off on you at all?
We weren't really going for a surf sound and Lewis knew that. Lewis is a true curator of music. He has an encyclopedic musical knowledge, from classical to soukous to 70s punk, and he helped us craft the sound of the record. I think he did a nice job of blending our influences on this record: which were 80s post-punk, drone synths and guitars often found in shoegaze, pop, and contemporary electronic music. Also, we must thank Eric Palmquist, who mixed the record and added a lot of input as well.
Listen to "Endless", from the forthcoming Amethyst
What LA bands have you been listening to?
Traps PS, Fools Gold, Pageants, So Many Wizards, Incan Abraham, Deap Valley, Local Natives, Silversun Pickups, and many many others!
Do you really believe in Tarot Cards?
I don't believe that Tarot Cards can predict the future, but I think that the archetypes that Tarot Cards represent do have something telling to say about human nature. When I give Tarot readings, I sense people's reaction to archetypes and try and tell them something about themselves.
Will Charlie be singing on any songs for this album like on 'A Man, A Plan, a Canal Panama", etc?
There was a Charlie-song called "Able was I ere I saw Elba". It was about Napoleon Bonaparte's last night on Earth, but it didn't make the final cut, sadly.
Your new album is called Amethyst. What is the significance of this title?
Amethysts are mystical, purple crystals. While we were recording the album with Lewis Pesacov and Eric Palmquist at Palmquist Studios at Infrasonic Sound, the big tracking room had a sort of purple light to it. I said that the light looked "amethyst colored" and that ended up being the "feel" of the album. So we decided to make that the title of a song and the album.
What was it like working and touring with Silversun Pickups as a replacement for the pregnant Nikki Monninger?
It has been so amazing! I have played so many great places, including Australia and Mexico, and met so many lovely people. I am very thankful for the opportunity.
Who would you want to replace you if you had to leave the band, be it for maternity or any other reason?
Abraham Lincoln, Enya, or Billy Corgan; in that order.
Will you be bringing back Carol's Long Island Minute? Please do. I'd love to hear her thoughts on the current state of indie rock.
Next time I am in New York, I would love to do a Carol's Long Island Minute with Baeble helping me out with the production. Deal?
What else has changed since your last album? Any personal news worth reporting?
Not too much. Time here in L.A. doesn't pass in the same way it does everywhere else. Although, Chris Hernandez, our first drummer and dear friend who stills tours with us sometimes, got married! Congratulations Chris!
Has surreal art influenced the new album cover?
We've always been influenced by surrealism. That is, the general idea that art should emerge from the subconscious rather than be meticulously planned and rationally perfected. In the case of writing the album, I think we adhered to those principles, but we did have the looping synths to rein the subconscious in a bit, which I think was a good thing for this particular project. We expressed those ideas to our friend and graphic artist, Bez, and he came up with the album art. The style is definitely surreal, but also influenced by collage and a geometrical, modernist sensibility.
is due out July 30th. Until then, we suggest you Like them on Facebook
and Follow them on Twitter