Updated: Friday, 29th May 2020 @ 6:20am

'One big bickering family': Seven-piece band Holy Moly & the Crackers chat to MM ahead of hitting Manchester

'One big bickering family': Seven-piece band Holy Moly & the Crackers chat to MM ahead of hitting Manchester

| By Lauren Dent

Folk rockers Holy Moly and the Crackers will be dropping by Manchester on Friday, November 17 – a date true music fans will want keep free so they can catch the dynamic band in action.

Rock, pop, folk, blues, balkan, klezmer, ska, reggae, Holy Moly and the Crackers combine an eclectic mix of genres together to create a charismatic sound, which surprisingly works.

MM spoke to one of the three founders of the group, Conrad Bird, to find out more about the bold and bizarre act.

He told us: “Louis Armstrong once observed that ‘all music is folk music. I ain’t never heard a horse sing a song’.

“And that’s where I’m at. We are a folk band but that doesn’t mean anything. We are influenced by everything and we will play what comes out.”

Starting out as a three-piece with founders Conrad, Ruth and Rosie, Holy Moly and the Crackers have slowly built themselves up to seven members, having evolved to their current edgier rock-style sound along the way.

The lively group, whose members come from all over the UK, have a philosophy whereby they have to be friends before anything else and need to be able to share a pint before becoming part of the act.

“We are basically just one big bickering family,” elaborated Conrad.

Conrad refers to the group as a kind of a ‘mongrel band’ with their mix of members coming from different areas.

He considers this a good thing because they are never gigging in just the same place in Newcastle, but are going all over the country to make a name for themselves.

With several different members coming and going throughout the years, they are floating between a five, six and seven-piece band until they work out what the winning formula is.

Conrad explained: “Members have always come and gone, and I’ve been very open with that because I don’t want anyone to stay if they don’t want to do it.

“You are free to come and play and go when you want, no hard feelings, ‘cause that’s how it has to be. People have to be there because they want to be, but shouldn’t feel pressured into staying.”

Conrad is definitely open to change and tries to take an optimistic approach, leaning more to what a new member will bring to the band rather than looking at what they have lost.

He added: “It’s important to keep that sense of moving forward.

“One thing as a band that you need to stay away from is complacency and going stale. Let’s embrace that change – embrace it, move it, experiment with it, develop it.”

Admitting that although it is tough keeping up the genre as band members arrive and depart, when they first started out they had no intention of ever taking it this far, so are happy with whatever comes their way.

The band has done so many shows together and has a real ability to work around these changes, and in fact only seem to be flourishing more-so because of it all.

After releasing their debut album First Avenue in October 2012 and EP Lilly a year later, Holy Moly and the Crackers have soared to extreme heights.

DIVERSE: Each new member brings something unqiue to the act

They’ve now played in France, Germany and Holland, toured the UK extensively and appeared at festivals such as Glastonbury, Hop Farm, Boomtown Fair and many others.

With producer Matt Terry coming on board recently, the band have grown from being a festival folk act to creating this gutsier and more edgy alternative rock album.

Conrad said: “It’s a real change from what we’ve done before. We were nervous about the decision.

“But he (Matt) loved the band and the vibe and wanted to make an album with us and wanted to give us a bit more commercial value rather than just festival folk music, which can only take you so far.”

New producer Matt added: “There is a good reason as to why a lot of people are loving this band, I was drawn in the moment I heard them.”

The music in their new record Salem is completely different to that of their previous ones, but they have had more success – not only in terms of radio impressions and Spotify streams – but in terms of opening themselves up to a new audience.

Conrad describes the album as ‘a little more punchy, a little bit more in your face, a little bit more edgy and lyrically there is a kind of theatrical gothic theme to it’.

The lyrics behind the music are usually written by Conrad and his fellow founders.

However, often one person will bring a song to the table and then they all go through the development process with the producer to get to an end point.

Ahead of playing at Jimmy’s, Holy Moly and the Crackers are excited to be a part of the community that the venue is creating and look forward to plugging into somewhere that promotes live performance and authentic entertainment.

The band is extremely hardworking and busy – what with plans to be back in the studio in December, go to Europe in March and April, potentially showcase in America, return in time for festival season and hopefully another fit in another tour.

Conrad confessed: “It could go on forever. My head is in 2019 with plans at the moment.

“A band has to be busy though, as soon as you stop the momentum and excitement will die down. You always have to be moving and one step ahead of everything.”

*Holy Moly and the Crackers are playing at Jimmy's on Friday, November 17. You can buy tickets HERE.