Holy Motors

Holy Motors is a Tallinn, Estonia-based dark twang and reverb band from a nonexistent movie. It bows to engines and echos and film-directors. Cinematic suspension is often more than not what drives the band towards a melody and meaning. In it’s time, Holy Motors has supported Sic Alps, Dirty Fences and ‘Mystery Train’. The latter a movie by Jim Jarmusch. We caught up with Eliann and Lauri for our 11 plus 3.

1: Pippi Longstocking has been my idol since childhood.

2: I never put my head underwater.

3: I can distinguish tastes that others may not taste.

1: They use around a quarter to a third of gasoline per year sold in Columbia to make cocaine.

2: A tumbleweed deliberately blows in the wind in hopes of a fertile soil.

3: They used to shoot cannonballs at waterspouts during the Napoleon wars to fight against them. I think some still do that.


1. What is the biggest inspiration for your music?
Lauri: So right now I’m shooting in the dark, going to bars, trying to be friendly with strangers, because I know no thing comes from nothing. Anyway, life has a way of putting things in your cart. But you got to be in the right aisle. Where’s that again? … – Yeah, me neither.

2. How and when did you get into making music?
Eliann: I wrote my first piano pieces in kindergarten. 10 years later I joined Holy Motors.

L: All that depends on what you call the making of music, right. I had this tin-snare as a small kid. My mother got crazy about it. So one day she just wouldn’t let me have it. It got lost, she said. She lost it. That’s when I learned adults lie. At another time in life it was summer, and I was amusing myself at the expense of my grandparents’ nerves with a piano. No one in the audience ever thought neither of this, as music, nor of me, as nothing, but a kid or a grandchild… But now every Christmas when I happen to spend time with family, grandma asks me to play an instrument. So obviously there was a phase of liminality somewhere where I cocooned and subsequently morphed into a maker of music, but how are since the tin-drum, the old piano any different from the guitar I never technically learned to play? But also, I wanted to belong somewhere.

3. What are 5 of your favourite albums of all time?
E: TOPS ‘Tender Opposites’, Slowdive’s ‘Souvlaki’, Daniel Romano’s ‘Come Cry With Me’, Tamaryn’s
‘The Waves’, Donnie & Joe Emerson’s ‘Dreamin’ Wild’.

L: I’ve never thought in these terms. There are super plenty albums I revisit, and some I have just recently started to like a lot. I can’t say really, because I don´t want to disregard anything important. There’s definitely the George Harrison album ‘All Things Must Pass’ and one by BJM and The Rolling Stones too. But as you can see it’s mainly a canon from rock music history. It´s hard to choose from the modern time, because there are so many and many.

4. What do you associate with Berlin?
E: Beer and the best food. 8MM. Sweet teenage memories. Encounters I feel lucky to have had. U-bahn ticket control anxiety. Craig & Lenny. Good time!
L: Lots of fun time.

5. What’s your favourite place in your town?
E: There’s a little monastery garden in the centre of the Old Town of Tallinn, which is magical. The Old Town is perfect for night walks, after the tourists have gone to sleep.

L: I like bars, an excellent example of which is Sveta bar in Tallinn.

6. If there was no music in the world, what would you do instead?
E: I’d be a herbalist.
L: “Invent” some music I guess.

7. What was the last record/music you bought?
E: I think the most recent record I got myself is Acid Baby Jesus’ ‘Selected Outtakes’ EP. I’m obsessed with TOPS’ new album ‘I Feel Alive’ but I’m waiting to get this on cassette whenever I’m gonna see them play live next.

L: It was a long time ago. When I moved apartments and lost my speakers and now I’ve been mainly tuning to the radio. What I still would buy right now, is maybe a Gram Parsons LP, because you don´t get a lot of country on the airwaves.

8. Who would you most like to collaborate with?
E: We did a dream collaboration with Mr. Newcombe but it’s yet to see the light of day.
L: That all depends. I can’t know that right now.

9. What was your best gig (as performer or spectator)?
E: I loved playing in Ukraine some years ago, in Chernivtsi and Kyiv. The audience felt different
from anywhere else we’ve played. Last year we had a gig with Anton Newcombe at Nox Orae festival by
lake Geneva, which was surreal in the best way. I’ve seen Bambara play I guess about 5 times now, and I’m blown away each time. Their live shows are highly recommended!

L: I remember being happy in Moscow once. This was our last night in town and it was about the breaking point, where you either take a taxi back to your hotel, or lose yourself, miss your departure and face staying in town indefinitely. You see the sun had already begun its ascent into the autumn sky and there was either a cast of cool hue on everything, or had my sight simply got too blurry or distorted. The band playing in the club felt like a friendly Sonic Youth, a mix of DIIV and Beach Boys, and their music started to synthesize feelings in me. It ceased the worrisome me and whatever. I was what you call ‘free of care’, like a child. I think that was 2015 and just something I remembered, but good nevertheless.

10. How important is technology to your creative process?
E: I don’t have that technology gene in me, that’s something that I’m a stranger to. I see technological importance being on the mandatory level of things, which of course doesn’t imply any easy volumes. You can’t do things without technology. The ‘techno’ in ‘technology’ simply means doing something. And you can’t do without doing.

11. Do you have siblings and how do they feel about your career/art?
Eliann: I have two older brothers, they both work with music and sound as well. They’ve always been
very supportive of me working on anything. My oldest brother Jakob has been in the front row since the very beginning, he’s a big fan of Lauri, haha. He also did the graphic design on ‘Horse’.

L: Yeah, though I don´t know much about her.

Photo © Grete Ly Valing