As I stepped foot into Martyr’s, I was greeted with the sound of passionate live music. Each member of the crowd is guzzling down godly amounts of Pabst Blue Ribbon. The smokers are segregated outside, watching the first act through the front window. Fans and supporters dish out 8 dollars for a chance to feel the vibrations of the speakers penetrate their bones. Good times are being had. While a waitress awaits a tip, I await the music. Each artist’s soul is being amplified through guitars, bass, drums, and violins. The lights lower and now the music stops.Holiday House is setting up their instruments onstage. The Ceremony is about to begin.
The lights turn up just a bit. The beautiful chaos erupts with a clash of symbols, accelerated by a driving guitar and steered by a haunting voice. Long dark hair is engulfing the lead singer Andi Donahue’s face. Midsong she tosses and flips her hair wildly as she gets lost in the moment. Just left to Andi is her sister Jen Donahue. Jen’s creativity is split between digital and analog. Between songs Jen is rotating between bass and a synthesizer. Lead Guitarist Paul is wailing away at the guitar breathing life into the lungs of each song. Cheryl pours on the melancholy sound of a violin in a magnificent alliance with the electric guitar. Ian on rhythm guitar is the pulse of the band and audience. Ian’s excellent guitar skills accent the band, the songs, and the performance. Ryan on drums makes for the backbone of the band. Thunderous hits from the kick, snare, and toms call out the bands message.
This cornucopia of fantastic musicians makes up an incredible band. By the third song the crowd was hooked and reeled into every word and note. Their dark, exotic sound was hypnotizing and alluring. We all become seduced by the deep husky voice of the lead singer and enthralled by the thrilling sound of the band. When the music was over and all the dust settled the crowd gave Holiday House a roaring applause. Not too long after the show I had a chance to learn a little about band members and get a couple questions in with them:
Paul W. Obis
I started playing cello when I was 2. When I was 13 I started playing drums. When I was about 20 I started playing guitar.
When I was about 7 years old I was listening to some Beatles song. I think it was I Want to Hold Your Hand. I was in my parents’ car and they were like, “Holy shit, you can sing!” Then I met the mother of Ana Clumsky, the girl from My Girl. She became my vocal teacher for about 10 years. She taught me how to sing opera from when I was 13 to 17 years old. I then started to sing at the Lyric opera house. After that I decided I didn’t want to sing opera anymore and I wanted to do what I liked. Years later I met Paul and asked to see his songs and from there started singing them.
I started playing violin when I was 10 years old. Musically I started earlier than that with Piano. I always had a knack for listening to things and figuring out how to play them on piano. I never wanted to play classical violin. I always had to but it was never what I really liked. I later met Paul and Andy at an open mic at Molly Malone’s bar. I asked if they ever wanted a violin on any of their songs to let me know. When I met the rest of the band, it felt like kindred spirits.
I started playing guitar when I was 14. I always thought it was cool because the guitarist rep and everything. Never got any chicks from it though. Played in a basement band for a little bit. They were all just getting stoned most of the time. I wanted to do music for real, so I started recording my own on a little 4-track recorder. Then I bought a drum machine though it was stupid and wanted to play real drums. Fast forward a couple years and I started working at this bar Molly Malone’s. That’s pretty much where the foundation of how this all came about.
My father was a Scottish guy from Worcester, Massachusetts who joined the Army and stayed in El Paso Texas. Then he became a Yankee Cowboy, the whole John Wayne thing. He liked everything from country, folk, to The Beatles. He met my mom who was from Mexico and she was a Mariachi singer, so she had good musical abilities. My dad had no musical talent at all. There was always music and a guitar in my house so I picked it up as far back as II can remember. I didn’t start taking it seriously until the age of 15. I was playing classic style on a nylon guitar when they heard me at Friendly Tap. After that they dragged me to some crazy party and that was it. The rest is not yet history but it will be.
Andy is my sister, so we grew up singing together. I played the piano for a very long time, just like messing around. I do everything by ear. I’ve always been an avid listener of music. I love all kinds of music from The Clash and The Smiths to Slipknot. This is the first band I’ve ever been in. We’ve only been together for like 6 or 7 months. We got an EP coming up and we’re totally excited about it. Our mother was a professional lounge singer when she was pregnant with both of us. My dad who’s def plays the guitar. He likes to play Ritchie Valens and John Denver songs for us.
How did you come up with the name Holiday House?
Andi and me had read the same book and had become fast friends over the book. The book was The Thief of Always by Clive Barker. We were talking about it one day and a friend asked us what is the name of the house that takes the lives of little children. We then said holiday house. We thought that was a great name of for our band.
How would you describe your music style?
Progressive Rock music. It comes from every single influence we’ve had: Depeche Mode, Jeff Buckley, Radiohead, Tool, and Portishead. I believe our music stems from what we’ve learned from all these great artists. From all the historically relevant music of our time, we take the best parts. We have something to say and we want people to feel and think.
Also be on the look out for Holiday House’s upcoming 6-song ep called the Weight of Water. For more info you can find Holiday House on myspace @Myspace.com/holidayhouse3