Holy Folk is a collaboration between Los Angeles songwriters Keith Waggoner, Josh Caldwell, Ryan George and Jonathan Hylander. The group formed in 2009 with Caldwell and Waggoner as a studio venture, and in 2012 George and Hylander joined the effort. Their first full length album, Motioning, was released in June, 2013. Check them out and listen to Motioning here.
Matt Dwyer is a comedian, actor and writer who has become a staple within the alternative comedy scenes of Chicago, New York and Los Angeles. He hosts a weekly podcast, “Conversations with Matt Dwyer” where he sits down and converses with people from all walks of life. Listen to his podcast here.
My name is Matt Dwyer. Let me say it is an honor to have been asked to interview one of my favorite bands Holy Folk for Issue Magazine. I host a weekly podcast on Feral Audio entitled, “Conversations With Matt Dwyer.” The show is a very free formed conversation and I wanted to take that approach during the interview I conducted with Josh Caldwell and Keith Waggoner of Holy Folk. We met on a cool evening in Mr. Waggoner’s backyard studio. This is how the conversation flopped out of our mouths.
Matt Dwyer: Let’s start with why you guys aren’t touring.
Josh Caldwell: Our lives are too busy between family and career.
Keith Waggoner: It’s a hard thing to organize between the four of us and any additional people who would have to be brought on.
JC: The reality of our situation is we can’t. It’s not that we don’t want to. Holy Folk started off as a recording project and turned into a band organically.
MD: Did you ever have any intentions of playing live?
“Holy Folk started because we were both
really bored and unemployed so we
started recording to get into licensing
and building our catalog.
Then Holy Folk took on a life of its own.”
— Keith Waggoner
KW: Not at first. Josh actually said he wouldn’t. It literally was a silly little project we did outside of Les Blanks, which we were very involved in at that point. Holy Folk started because we were both really bored and unemployed so we started recording to get into licensing and building our catalog. Then Holy Folk took on a life of its own.
MD: Is there a chance of any one off shows or festivals?
KW: There is a chance for everything, it’s just a matter of if the situation works for us.
MD: How many people are in the band?
KW: There are four core members and a bunch of friends who help out.
JC: Seven when we are on stage.
KW: Road shows would have to be paired down.
JC: If it made sense we’d be open for anything.
KW: Just being a touring band, we’ve all been there and you’re not making a lot of money the first time out. If you can’t continue to tour there is no reason to establish it. It’s difficult because I have a wife, a son and responsibilities.
MD: Have you thought about making your wife and son a roadie?
KW: We’ve tried to work him into a few things, but it didn’t work out.
JC: I’m going to make a video with him for the new album. He’s a natural star.
MD: Speaking of videos because you aren’t touring to support the albums, are you looking to videos and internet to help promote?
JC: I directed the first video.
MD: Then there was another one, right?
JC: Yeah, that was at my house. Just a performance video.
MD: It’s great.
KW: We’ll be doing another live performance video soon.
JC: For this. (Issue Magazine.)
KW: Videos are a nice way to keep things rolling even though we are limited with how we can travel.
The Village Voice
The Village Voice is a free weekly newspaper and website based in New York City. It features articles on current affairs and culture, arts and music coverage, and events listings for New York City.
MD: Holy Folk took on a different life than you expected, right? You got a lot of positive press with the Village Voice…
LA Record is an independent music magazine which began in 2005 by Chris Ziegler, Charlie Rose, Dan Monick and Sean Carlson as a one page weekly broadsheet dedicated to all genres of music in Los Angeles. In 2008 L.A. Record began publishing as a free monthly magazine publication with a poster inside. Today the magazine is still a totally independent print and web operation run and staffed by writers and artists from across the city.
JC: L.A. Record was good.
KW: USA Today…
MD: Did that throw you off and change your perspective?
KW: A little bit. Totally.
JC: (jokingly) Both a little bit and totally at the same time.
MD: It’s a bit unheard of these days for someone to get that much attention on a first album.
“It’s a bit unheard of these days for someone
to get that much attention on a first album.”
— Matt Dwyer
JC: We put a team together to help us to do that work, but the scope was a lot larger than any of us realized. Then we had a write up this year from the LA Weekly that boosted us again.
KW: When we were doing Motioning, we hadn’t had any rehearsals. We had our distribution in line from Silver Side. We even had a publicist. We had everything kind of ready for release and then we started rehearsing for the shows. We had a full record and an EP that we had never played live before. We really did it backwards.