This Saturday night, May 21st, Johnny Brenda’s will likely be rocking quite a bit harder than usual… Portland-based quartet Blackwater Holylight will be bringing their doomy, gloomy, ultra-heavy psych rock to the Fishtown venue best known for hosting darlings of indie pop and experimental rock (not that there’s anything wrong with that…) Last year Blackwater Holylight released their third LP, Silence/Motion, their most accomplished and expansive yet. The album has received profound praise from the likes of Paste, Brooklyn Vegan, Loudwire and even the Bible of almost-exclusively-retro riffs, Classic Rock, who said, “They mesh elements of doom, Krautrock and atmospheric indie into one bewitching rock whole.” Last month I got a chance to chat with Blackwater Holylight vocalist and bassist Allison “Sunny” Faris about the band’s latest sounds.
Izzy: You released your third LP, Silence/Motion, last October. Have you had any favorite reactions to it?
Sunny: We have had some really positive reviews but our favorite one has to be from Chelsea Wolfe, who included us on her list of favorite albums of 2021.
Izzy: Do you have a particular favorite track at the moment, whether one you’re most proud of, one that’s the most fun to play, or one that might point toward where future sounds might be headed?
Sunny: “Every Corner,” which is the last track on the record, is always a favorite to play live for us and we are going to be feeding off that vibe more in future as well.
Izzy: I really like your recent videos for “Silence/Motion” and “Around You.” What is it that inspires the visual elements of Blackwater Holylight?
Sunny: Both of those videos were directed by our dear friend Sarah Qu from Portland, OR. She is very skilled in translating music into visual spaces. The inspiration for both of these videos came from a few different sources but it was mainly about being ourselves and creating something both beautiful and powerful.
Izzy: Your sound seems to draw on a plethora of different genres and eras, so I’m curious as to what are some of your favorite albums, whether all-time favorites or just things you’ve been listening to a lot of recently?
Sunny: Yes, we draw from many different places when it comes to writing. We all have similar tastes and very different tastes too, so combinations of that get a little out there if you will. If you follow the links in our profile on IG it will take you to a playlist we compiled for Evil Greed of all of our favorites. It’s like 8 hours long to maybe even longer. I can’t even remember now…
Izzy: I realize this is a big question but, considering that the band is still relatively new, what have been some of the highlights of Blackwater Holylight so far?
Sunny: Getting to go and tour in Europe has been big for us because none of us had done that before this band, but honestly all the tours we have gotten to do and all the people we meet and work with is a huge honor.
Izzy: You’re about to kick off your first-ever US headlining tour. Are there any cities you’re especially excited to revisit, whether because you always have good shows there, or you just like hanging out there?
Sunny: We are always super excited to be able to stop in NOLA and NY, two very special places with people we love 🙂
Izzy: You’re going to be touring with Bleakheart and Spirit Mother (respectively) as your support, who I also really dig. What are your thoughts on the bands, and how did you get hooked up with them?
Sunny: Both of them are great bands, we are stoked! Spirit Mother we have played with before this tour, so we met them a while back, and Bleakheart we know from other projects that some of the members are in that we have also played with before this tour. I think both are going to be a great fit for this tour.
Izzy: What can be expected of the live show when you play Johnny Brenda’s in the near future? Amyl and the Sniffers are also here that night, who I also dig, but I’ve been hyping your show up as the place to be that night.
Sunny: Ah, thank you! You can expect it to be loud and very dynamic with lots of highs and lows. We will give it our best as we do every night and hopefully be able to connect with some new and old friends through our music.
Izzy: Finally, what’s next for you, after these dates wrap in June? Is it just more touring in the works, or do you have more new music coming? (You churned out your first three records relatively quickly.)
Sunny: We don’t have a ton planned outside of some festivals at the moment, so we will be focusing on writing and collecting material for album #4.
*Get your tickets here.