At first glance it may seem like Holy Fuck are using their name as a vehicle to make an explicit political or religious statement, but they aren’t. The band didn’t mean for their name to be harmful or offensive.
“It was meant to be funny and sarcastic,” says band co-founder and name mastermind Brian Borcherdt. “It certainly wasn’t intended to offend. It’s just a name, a popular expression. If anything, I thought it was self-deprecating in a way. When we started our band we were playing around with some of the worst known beats we could find on the lousiest little Casios, so I thought maybe we could have the most inflammatory name to contrast the plinkity keyboard sounds.”
But despite humble beginnings playing ‘plinkity’ instruments to “delight our friends, have fun, play some shows and maybe make a record,” Holy Fuck have managed to take a personal philosophy of perspectival-plurality and provocation, and transform themselves into a musical dynamo.
The expressive force that is Holy Fuck — currently composed of members Brian Borcherdt (keyboards, effects), Graham Walsh (keyboards, effects), Matt “Punchy” McQuaid (bass) and Matt Schulz (drums)— released their self-titled first album, Holy Fuck in 2005, followed by LP in 2007. Their most recent production Latin was released earlier this year.
When questioned about their values and motivations, Holy Fuck were quick to respond.
“We are not the only band in the world to be coming at things with a sense of humour or a unique viewpoint, we all come at music from our own perspectives. I think that we happen to be one of the few bands that puts the notion of different perspectives at the forefront of its mission. Right from the beginning we came at things with some sort of philosophical charge. We wanted to challenge ourselves as musicians.”
Borcherdt admits that it’s not always easy to adapt to new ideas, but the process is necessary.
“At some point in your life you listen to one specific thing, but you get to a point where you discover there is more,” says Borcherdt. “You buy a Miles Davis record or something and it’s an exciting stage in your life. It makes you realize that there is so much exciting music out there, so many exciting things too. There’s no sense pegging yourself into one finite thing. It’s not about being one particular person or thing, it’s about just realizing the diversity that is out there and that contributing to the diversity— wanting to make another weird sounding thing or be that weird thing— is in a strange way very profound.”
In an age when we can create a perfect beat with digital ease, where it often feels like everything has already been done and where mechanical and mundane music has become the mainstream, a divine mind fuck or two are certainly in order, not just to expand your point of view, but to remind you that there is always room for something new.