As much as you think it might be an easy task, it’s not always that simple to showcase new, up-and-coming artists. We mean, usually when it comes to these sort of things if you aren’t familiar with the artist’s name, what’s going to make you click our story versus the 202 Worst Holiday Gifts Ever Given? Yeah, not always that simple.
However, putting all doubts aside, we’re going to do our best to start highlighting emerging bands we believe in. Bands that stand out against the tiring monotony of our music scene. You know, bands like the dark electronic rock outfit Holy Wars.
Created by former Sad Robot members Kat Leon and Nicolas Perez, Holy Wars began as an outlet for Leon to mourn the sudden passing of her parents back in 2015. Fusing Leon’s honest and heartbroken lyricism with Perez’ mind-altering musicianship, Holy Wars constructed a gloomy and sonically charged pop-laced effort entitled Mother Father. Drawing comparisons to the likes of Shiny Toy Guns, Metric and Blaqk Audio, it’s clear why Holy Wars’ have been on people’s radar since their 2017 release and begun to work with impressive names including AFI’s Hunter Burgan, A Perfect Circle’s Jeff Friedl and letlive.’s Jeff Sahyoun.
Now in order to get to know a little more about the emerging electronic act, we reached out to Holy Wars mastermind Kat Leon to hear all about her personal influences and aspirations. To check out our chat and discover your newest obsession, be sure to look below. Afterward, for more from the band, head here.
Where did you grow up? And was there a music scene where you grew up?
I grew up in Wolcott, CT. There was no music scene where I lived unfortunately and was really hard to find – which is probably why I had this huge desire in me to write and perform. There were very few places to play in New Haven and Hartford, nothing I was of age to perform at, at least. I moved to LA at a young age so after moving here I pursued music full time and professionally.
What were you and/or your bandmates doing before your band formed? Jobs? School?
I was doing voiceover acting for video games/cartoons as well as acting in theater and film. Nick was just finishing his Bachelors at MI before we met. We had written together for a few years in a former project before starting Holy Wars.
Who or what influenced you to start playing music?
At a young age, I started writing poetry and it was Fiona Apple that made me want to start writing original music. The person who truly influenced me to start writing music professionally and start my own band was Alice Cooper. I was on a VH1 show with him a few years back and he heard me sing. After the show had wrapped, he gave some me amazing advice and encouraged me to pursue music. To this day, I still follow Alice’s words and will always be grateful for the confidence and courage he gave me that day.
How do you feel about the digital age? Do you feel it’s helped or hurt musicians?
Honestly… both. As much as it gives, it takes. I have conflicted feelings about this new world all the time. As an indie artist, the digital age is amazing. I can connect with fans and release music whether I have a label or not. Anyone and everyone is an artist and has a platform to get their art out and share it with the world. How amazing is that? INCREDIBLE and I have been able to make a career in music this way. You can self-release, promote, market yourself to anyone anywhere in the world.
However, the downside of this is that everyone and anyone is doing the exact same thing - so we have over saturation. People may be at risk of becoming numb to art. When songs are given to you so easily (and free, especially in streaming), this decreases the value of it. This makes it very difficult for an artist to make money and album sales are growing more and more extinct. I have so many feelings about this digital age and what is happening to us in this society and so the only thing I know to do is to create art from it. My lyrics hint at these frustrations as well as our visuals in our live show - inspired by my awareness of what is happening. In our show you can see a woman wearing a “selfie choker necklace,” a contraption I designed like something you would see in a Saw movie or Black mirror where the choker holding eight cellphones in selfie position is circling her. This is one of many scenes we filmed commenting on today’s digital world.
What’s the best live performance you’ve ever seen?
Recently would be Reignwolf. I had the honor to open up for them at their sold out show at the Roxy in LA and my mouth had dropped to the floor through their whole set. Jordan had the most captivating presence I have seen in a very long time and the whole audience was putty in his hands. From his music to his vocals to playing in the crowd, I was so inspired seeing that show. It was electrifying. Another time I felt something similar would be when I saw Savages. They had all of these same qualities. We live in a time where we can see so many amazing artists but only a few give me this certain feeling live that inspires me so deeply.
If you could collaborate with any artist of your choice who would it be?
Absolute favorite would be Radiohead. I have been a fan since childhood and Radiohead has always been the bar which I’ve set. However, there are so many artists I would love to work with… NIN, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Garbage, Savages, Failure, Woodkid, Beck, Jack White… I can list so many.
What have you learned since being in the music industry?
I have learned so much about the music industry at this point I could write a book. The biggest being there is no straight path to success. The most important stuff is what goes on off stage and in between the song releases. It’s all about relationships in this town. Writing for film and TV has been the hidden secret on the real way to make money in music these days and now that secret is out…
If you could have one of your songs be on a TV show or movie of your choice what would it be?
In Holy Wars and outside of Holy Wars, we write a lot of songs for FOX and other networks but I would love to sync a new song on American Horror Story, Riverdale and The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. My dream would be to have the next song we plan to release in 2019 to be in an action movie trailer. We have been writing these epic and cinematic songs that would be perfect for a trailer.
Are there any other recent performances or releases that have inspired you?
Recent releases would be Fantastic Planet (Failure), Abyss (Chelsea Wolfe), as well as Kendrick Lamar and Bishop Briggs. But for overall inspiration for performance, I would say Freddie Mercury. I definitely am greatly inspired by him and his fearlessness. When I go on stage, I allow myself to explore all I want to on stage. In the past, when I would feel nervous or cared what people thought, I would think about Queen and what a force Freddie was on stage. He was larger than life and unstoppable. Before I get on stage now, I think to myself… if it were my last show, how would I allow myself to be… and it makes feel free.