Creator Spotlight: Holly Bones

Holly Bones is a UK-based EDM artist with an interest in making things sound dark, spooky and aggressive. She loves horror in many mediums but considers herself kind of a horror film buff. She has even made numerous scrapped attempts at creating her own horror narrative, the only surviving evidence being a video teaser for a single she released. GenderTerror had a chance to interview her about her music, her style, and her inspirations. As always, interviews are unedited from the answers the interviewee gives us.

GT: What inspires you? Is there anything specific you really feel you vibe with?

HB: Oh well god there’s lots of stuff that inspires me and pushes me to be better. I see a lot of musicians doing really well for themselves around me every day, I see my wonderful girlfriend doing better and better and most of all I see that people enjoy my music and want to hear more. That’s what really pushes me forward and in to better things, but if we were just gonna talk about like, influences on my work I’d say the three biggest things I draw from are the Castlevania series, the metal I grew up listening to and horror films! Hopefully if I’m doing my job right it should be easy to pick up on those in my music. I love the metal growl and those big sweeping symphonic arpeggios and just the general vibe of sampling like, hammer horror films or demons laughing or whatever. It’s just good!

GT: Why this genre of music?

HB: Okay so there’s an official answer and an unofficial answer to this. I mean they’re both right so whatever. Officially, there’s a wonderful dissonance and a lot of unexplored territory in merging a lot of the electronic subgenres which normally sound very bubbly or cool and balancing them with lots of dark and aggressive overtones. Unofficially, a long while back I’d had a very bad split with a harsh noise band that I’d been practicing with. I joined them to get some energy out of my system and have fun on stage but it turned out I was like, whatever 4chan’s version of a joke is to them. Y’know, the resident tranny or whatever. So I had a lot of anger over that and wanted to make something loud and aggressive. Usually I’d have plugged in my guitar and started recording something but I was in an abusive relationship at the time and making any kind of noise became uh, scary. So I started doing electronic stuff because it meant I could limit it all to a set of headphones. After that I fell in love and I haven’t stopped since!

GT: What type of feelings do you want people to get from your music?

HB: Make no mistake, I make music to dance to. That’s my test, it can be as loud and aggressive and spooky as anything but if I can’t dance to it, it doesn’t make the cut. Also, well, it’s hard to get it across in a format that’s mostly instrumental but my music is for LGBT people, to help them feel empowered and stay angry. I think if our history has taught us anything it’s that we can most definitely have a fun gay time no matter what we’re resisting. If I can make just one person feel a little better about living under our discriminatory hell society then I’ve done my job.

GT: How is your creative process done?

HB: Ha well there’s a lot of ways I do things! Normally I’d start by programming drums, adding some interest to the pattern every 2, 4, 8, 16 bars, then I might start designing bass sounds or laying down a lead track with a preset to copy the notation down on to a synth sound I’ve designed myself later down the line. Another thing I might do to start is try to recreate some vague sounds in my head, like imagine the biggest EDM banger of the century in incredibly technical music terms like bwam boosh duh duh duh duh and try to put that to paper or uh, computer screen. Quite often though? I get completely ripshit on like a dozen energy drinks and die at my keyboard, I honestly couldn’t tell you how I do things when I’m in that mindset. Do you remember the episode of Futurama where Fry drinks 100 cups of coffee? It’s like that. Either way, once the actual musical elements are all down and cohesive I route them all to separate bus tracks, so for example I might have four or five bass tracks that are all sent over to and squished down in to one track. From there it’s just mixing it and making it all sound clear, then it’s in to my mastering pipeline which gets REALLY technical so I won’t bore you with it. That’s what I do with my days, in the night I try to like soak up as much stuff as I can, I might note down the rhythm of something someone said on TV and use that the next morning for example. Or as I’m doing today on my day off I’m gonna play the hell out of Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin and watch Return of the Living Dead, might sound lazy but it’s actually research wink wink

GT: What films do you feel best inspire you?

HB: Gosh well, the old hammer horrors are classics aren’t they? I may have disguised a few samples from various hammer films here and there in my music. Also? Return of the Living Dead! It’s such a cheese fest I absolutely love it, and the older actors playing off of the then newcomers makes such an interesting dynamic in the acting. I think almost every electronic musician has some kind of cyberpunk influence too, so I’d be selling myself short if I didn’t mention your Blade Runners and Robocops and the like.

GT: Would you ever want to see your music in a game or movie? If so, what type? Be as descriptive as you’d like!

HB: Oh, well I’ve already done music for an RPG and a few lesbian short movies but I think I’d probably shine best with like a Platinum style hack & slash about big mechs, maybe with a shocking revelation towards the end that the robots are made of people or something, like brain computers y’know? I’d love to get in to some heavier sound design stuff for video games, making dynamic music sounds difficult but I think there’s no better feeling than a game with really good dynamic music picking things up because you’re kicking ass. Aside from that… I think I’m pretty well set up to do a soundtrack for a horror film.

GT: Do you feel your music is narrative or more standalone songs?

HB: I think… Some of my songs stand outside of a wider narrative. I have a few categories they all fit in to. Like Fur, that’s completely just for fun whereas a song like Deathcore is really just about not taking any shit. Then I have songs like The Decapitation of Elizabeth Brady or Haunted By Bach Because I Murdered Him (one of my favourite titles by the way) which I’d consider to be songs from within a different universe where time has gone sort of fallow and what you’re listening to is a horrid, blurry, pulsating vignette of a horrific event that can move forward but never end. I think that really makes the doughnuts.

Holly Bones can be found on BandCamp, Patreon, and most music services (such as Spotify) as Holly Bones!

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