Monday, September 22, 2014

Interview with Francis Harold and the Holograms

I picked up The White Bull Weeps From Valhalla a few months ago: Lance Bummer recommended it to me after hearing that I was a fan of bands like Rectal Hygienics, Brainbombs, and Rusted Shut. There are a few album covers that frighten me. One of them is an untitled Rhinocervs release, but this record's cover is up there too. Amid four strangely clad individuals, a topless woman lingers poised with a sacrificial dagger above a human effigy of a pig, languid in water. It's haunting, but also whimsical, caked in the surreal, which is a actually a pretty good description for Francis Harold and the Holograms.

These guys released a bunch of records in the late 00's and into the beginning of this current decade on a bunch of different labels, including Chicago's Hozac Records. Their last release was in 2012 - the above mentioned single-sided 12" on Video Disease Records. The band has since been inactive, at least cosmetically - in the following interview, Francis Harold likens their current state to a spider building its web, strategically biding its time "until the rooster crows."

I was unsure what to think about these guys until this interview. Some of that has to do with the anonymity aspect of the band, the hidden visages, a vinyl record adorned by a thin, spindly veil. Mystery. What are they? Serious as cancer, Jack.

Jordan Reyes: So why did you guys go on hiatus?

Francis Harold: Let's not call it a hiatus.  Let's say, we are rebuilding what once was and that takes time. It's like watching a spider build its web to catch its prey. It spends some time making this mechanism to catch something. Once it catches it, part of that web gets destroyed and our friend the spider has to rebuild its web to continue to live. Our infrastructure had been breached and we need to focus on rebuilding the purity of our broken foundation. We aren't laying dormant: time is a continuous advancing idea and we are applying this to our slow rehabilitation of punk's strongest warriors. 

JR: I never got to see you guys play live in any capacity, though I read interviews where you talk about breaking chairs and microphones, not getting paid your full amount, antagonizing the sound guys. What was a successful live show for you guys? Was there such a thing?

FH: Every show was a successful show. All those instances mentioned above seem very successful. Success is individualistic and to categorize a success story is very far-fetched. 

JR: I see the band listed on Discogs as having Francis Harold, Hologram I, Hologram II, and Hologram III. Were the people listed as "Holograms I, II, & III" the same people for each show or record?

FH: Correct. The lineup never shifted far from the vine of life that connected everyone. At the peak of our live conception we had seven people in the unit. Every member has a significant role in the making of our documentation.  Have you ever seen a snowglobe without snow? Most likely not because at that point it wouldn't be considered a snowglobe. The same goes for FH, hologram I, hologram 2 and hologram III. We are all the snow in the globe at this point. 

JR: Where did the "Holograms" part of the band name come from?

FH: Well a hologram is a mere duplicate of one entity. So if you look at holograms I - III, they all embody different representations of Saint Harold himself. Every hologram is representative of a different subconscious aspect of Saint Harold. Saint Harold is a manifestation of the human species and all of its shame and sin. Since the holograms are different representations of Saint Harold, that means they are representations of the human race's short comings and fear. 

JR: The anonymity aspect of band members is cool. I really like the elaborate costumes you guys had, which you can even see on album covers. Where'd you come up with the costume ideas or wearing blackface?

FH: First of all, Saint Harold isn't wearing blackface. He has chosen to cover his face with a black face mask used by rural tribes in Arizona. The mask is a mixture of paste made from cow bones and marrow and black char. It is believed that one who wears this black face mask is wearing his/her sins on the most visible part of their body to rid the impure. Showing the whole world that he/she has done wrong gives the individual the strength to accept their faults and this is believed to help vanish any impure from themselves. How can one live with the guilt and embarrassment of previous failures?  This is a method to save one's self. It is a direct reflection of the persons self and a public shaming if you will, to better one's self. 

JR: How important is anonymity to the band? Why?

FH: Now I ask, how important is it to not know about the other guy your girlfriend is seeing behind your back. It would kill you if you knew who it is. As long as you don't know, everyone can move forward in their lives. Some things are better left a secret but in the end I am the GOAT and I see everything. I am protecting you and the anonymity is saving us. 

JR: What's the worst reaction you guys have had? Did you ever have to deal with violence from crowds or organizations?

FH: People have walked out. People tend to get violent. When you pack so many animals into a single room, one of those animals tends to be the alpha and the alpha male will always win. I have had to leave a place out the back door as I was told there were Nazis waiting for me out front. The SPF (secondary protection force) showed up bearing arms at an event in Iowa. We were lucky to have the elder Horsintia Blue with us. Horsintia is a healer and a father of the higher power from our home state. Horsintia calmly dis-armed the SPF and had a very education talk about one's self consciousness. We were then escorted to our next event with blessings. 

JR: How did you write your lyrics? Did they stem from actual events?

FH: Many of the lyrics have stemmed from actual events. The truth. The truth is the one event that is common within our songs and writing process. Mirror of fear, retreat, and glitter girls are just a handful of events that are truth. Looking back, yes they are all real and true events. It just depends on how advanced your own sub conscious is and how one decides to transcribe them. Reflections of yourself can be found in every song even though you don't want to admit it. I'm sorry for your loss. Scar tissue I wish you saw. 

JR: Are there any particular songs or records you're more proud of than others?

FH: Every record is a musical documentation of where we are at one point in space and time. They are all important and all very real. No child of ours is favored more than the other. To favor one over another leads to a vile juxtaposition of self worth. We are all united under the white veil we shield from one another.  Everyone is an equal and the equals are the units of life. 

JR: Do you still make music now, perhaps in another capacity?

FH: We can't create without one another. We only operate as a family. That family has been jolted. Something is wrong. Nothing is being processed through the far reaches of the skull right now. It's a bleak existence when you are so alone in the vast pool of nothing. Forgive me as for I have committed these sins. 

JR: You mentioned in a facebook message that the band may come back "when the rooster crows." What do you mean by that? Is there possibility of a reunion?

FH: Many roosters have called out over the past couple years. None of those screams have resonated with me yet. I am waiting for the rooster that crows the loudest. When I hear the rooster crow that has the most pain in its call, that's the rooster I will answer. That call of pain will then fill the hole in my heart from when everyone left and then...and then I will finally know everything is okay and that she is okay. As for any type of "reunion", you need to understand that time is a concept created by the masses and time is non-existent. For instance, we have just started this band and wrote our first song. Our last show is In 2 months and the snow caps are still in tact. Time is the key holder of any future, past or present. Time will decide when we set foot onto the sideshow we call humanity. 

JR: Anything else you'd like to say?

FH: Does this make you feel inferior? If it does, you need too re-evaluate your state of existence in the mortal realm. Follow the foot steps of the light seekers and strive towards a place of mutual existence with the warriors of the sky. 

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