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Music

Boil It Down: An Interview with Holy Sons

Ian King

Emil Amos is known for his work in Grails and Lilacs & Champagne, but his Holy Sons project is not only his longest running, but in this interview coupled with an exclusive playlist from Amos, also his most fascinating.


Holy Sons

Fall of Man

Label: Thrill Jockey
US Release Date: 2015-08-21
Amazon
iTunes

Emil Amos is currently a part of no less than four different musical endeavors, but the one he is most recently focused on, and the one he has pursued the longest, is his own: Holy Sons.

The Portland, OR songwriter and multi-instrumentalist sits behind the drum kit for both the instrumental rock band Grails and the experimental trio OM, and produces psychedelic sample-based hip hop with fellow Grails member Alex Hall under the name Lilacs & Champagne, yet has still released a dozen Holy Sons records over roughly 15 years. This past March, Lilacs & Champagne released the excellent Midnight Features Vol. 2: Made Flesh, and now Amos has followed that up with Fall of Man, possibly Holy Sons' most accessible collection of songs to date.

Through collage methods and hazy production values, Lilacs & Champagne create strangely familiar new environments out of old sounds: vintage records and other hidden thrift store gems that Amos and Hall collect on tour and at home in Portland. Fall of Man does something similar, though without any of the sampling. The album's ten tracks often echo rock's past, but are wholly new transmissions, originating from Amos, informed by his lasting fondness for the classic rock he was raised around. Instead of bluntly rehashing an era, however, Fall of Man's true time and place is elusive. Floating amid the acoustic-led "Discipline" or the soulful slow burning "Being Possessed is Easy", the listener feels neither in 2015 nor 1975, but in a half-dreamed twilit realm somewhere in between.

Amos recently wrapped up a tour with drone metal band Earth that took Holy Sons all across the US, and in the middle of that tour, Amos took the time to assemble a playlist of what they were listening to on the road ("The whole theme is night driving, specifically on this tour when we had to drive overnight from Orlando, Florida to New Orleans!"), and field some questions about the inspirations behind the album and what sets Holy Sons apart from his other projects.

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