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HOLYCHILD Break Down Their Top 10 ‘Brat Pop’ Influences

HOLYCHILD’s Liz Nistico and Louie Diller wear their self-described “brat pop” designation as a badge of honor. On the duo’s debut LP, The Shape of Brat Pop to Come (out now via Glassnote Records), pop, fame, and our superficialities are projected onto a shadowy disco ball and reflected back at us, while the band revels in the glamour with tongues firmly in cheek. “Nasty Girls” throws barbs at vacuous party girls, while their second single “Money All Around” mashes Diller’s chaotic beats with Nistico’s soaring vocals, questioning hyperactive social media’s effect on Nistico’s personal relationships.  HOLYCHILD is makng brainy dance pop, a marriage of digital and analog worlds, a record for anyone who questions our obsessions with celebrity, or their own place on the dancefloor. The Shape of Brat Pop to Come is like a blitzkrieg attack on vanity, yet the skewed beats, coupled with Nistico’s witticism, will hook you instantly, without wearing out its welcome. Holychild doesn’t claim to have all the answers to a broken social scene, but they’re having a blast trying to figure it out.

“Brat Pop is sarcastic pop art,” says Nistico. “It aims to understand our culture’s obsession with perfection, money, fame, beauty, self, and how that shapes us. It’s my whole life and everything in it.” Much like Bret Easton Ellis’ skewering of fashion and status in Glamorama, HOLYCHILD is taking a look, almost 20 years later, at a sometimes poisonous scene that was always under our noses, but has simply grown technologically savvier. “I don’t know if a simpler time ever existed,” says Nistico. “I think humans have always been under many restraints and definitions. We’re yearning for a future world in which people are free and honest and equal.” Not that they’re constant satirists. HOLYCHILD knows how to have fun, as reflected in their Gap photo shoot, which aimed to capture the band at their most uninhibited. Their look is like an explosion of brat pop, candy colored and loud, without being too self-conscious. “We love doing photo shoots,” admits Nistico “It’s so fun to play dress up and express ourselves through clothing and static action. We like everything to hold some juxtaposition: weird but pretty, sad but honest, uncomfortable but familiar.”

With the release of their debut, and a summer tour with Passion Pit, Diller admits there are a few nerves, but nothing they can’t handle. “Yeah, there are some nerves since it’s our debut album and you never know what’s going to happen,” says Diller. “However, Liz and I have been building towards this moment since we first met four years ago. It’s more nervous excitement these days in terms of how the world will react to all these years, blood, sweat and tears we’ve poured into this record.”

Fueled by the energy surrounding the recent record release, we asked HOLYCHILD to break down the Top 10 Influences that inspired the record and continue to inspire their daily life.

The Shape of Brat Pop to Come‘s Top 10 Influences

1. Ren Hang 

Ren Hang is our current favorite photographer. He captures the essence of Brat Pop: pushing boundaries with alluring imagery.

2. Miu Miu

Glamour + nostalgic colors + unexpected pairings = Brat Pop

3. Tender is the Night by F Scott Fitzgerald

This novel showed me that other people question who they are and what influences that person. The characters are all acting in the manner they think they should act. It’s all about trying to understand ourselves and our relationships within the confines of our sad world.

4. The Bird and the Bee

The lyrics, production and performances from Greg Kurstin and Inara George are always so on point in terms of how sophisticated yet accessible they are.

5. Analog + synthetic sound = Brat Pop sound

We love synthesizers and programming drums as much as guitars and hitting actual skin. Our goal for the record was to use the best from the digital and analog worlds and to try to marry them as smoothly as possible. The two aren’t mutually exclusive.

6. That time when girls called Liz fat when we were living in London

We were at an after party and two girls started hitting on Louie. He was uncomfortable so he grabbed me, introduced them to me and walked away. They were talking to me and told me they hated American literature and they were only into authors who were above my intellect. Then they told me they felt sorry for me because it must be hard to find clothes to fit my body.

Why do people feel entitled to make judgments on other people? I try to be so above physicality and futile behavior, but this hurt my feelings. We’re just in this frustrating cycle and we can’t get out.

7. Futurama + Idiocracy

We’re inspired by the thought of the future, and the hope it can evolve into something greater. We’re also inspired by the cyclical thought of humanity’s impending doom. In both regards, at least we are making art.

8. Money

Acting famous on the weekends, acting as if one has a lot of money, making it rain on strippers, growing economic disparity, value being placed on something that is largely imaginary, the Great Depression, the Recession, capitalism, individuality, advertisements and how they make me feel inadequate.

9. Clave and pocket

Louie spent a summer in Havana, Cuba studying Afro-Cuban drums and percussion with a world-renowned drummer named Piloto. Between that and an obsession with jazz and hip-hop, most all HOLYCHILD songs are propelled by these rhythms mixed with pop vocals.

10. Liz’s research on the Sugar Daddy relationship

In 2010 Liz had a grant from her university to study the Sugar Daddy relationships in NYC. With the intent of defining the concept, she interviewed women and men who were in relationships in which money was blatantly exchanged. To her, it’s both modern (being upfront about what one wants in a relationship) and archaic (traditional gender roles and expectations). It captures the hypocrisy of our culture perfectly.

To see more looks from HOLYCHILD, visit Gap