The Bottom of the Hill is empty as Holograms take the stage for their soundcheck. There is a calmness in the air as supporting bands G. Green and TV Ghost wander about the venue waiting patiently for their turn.
This is the twelfth date on the tour, and it is obvious that there is a sense of veterancy in most of the bands; as if what they are doing in this moment has been done many, many times before.
After a brief run through of what your reviewer believed to be the opening track off their self-titled LP “Monolith,” the band abruptly stopped with one simple request for the sound man.
“I want more reverb. I want it to be like the voice of god is reaching out to you.”
These are the word of Filip Spetze, Hologram’s synth player and accompanying vocalist.
The request is simple, and one that is perhaps asked all too often.
Reverb has become the white noise for the band whose main purpose is to create nothing but a wall of sound. However, in the case of Holograms, it’s not so much as simple blinding noise as it is the feeling they are attempting to evoke.
Composed of Andreas Lagerström, Anton Strandberg, and brothers Anton and Filip Spetze, Holograms is Sweden’s latest post-punk fixture. This is their second U.S. tour, and they like a lot of reverb.
In expressing their ideas on sound, Holograms attributes a certain amount of seriousness to the music they make. They’re not here to sing about getting fucked up, or the kind of formulaic fun that many bands rely on for lyrical content.
The band writes their experiences from life as a means of expressing and understanding their world, which is consequently dark material.
“Subconsciously, maybe, we had a clear idea on how we wrote the songs,” says Lagerström. “But it’s just how it happened, we don’t think about it too much.”
They try not to think about it too much, but they do admit that they find that kind of party music lazy, and as a result have created albums that have only become bigger, and darker with each release––a sound that in the end is all encompassing.
“We knew that we wanted a bigger sound, we wanted to work on the production. Just expansive, you know?” says vocalist and guitarist Anton Spetze.
This is best exemplified by the crowd and setting that make up a Holograms show. Young men sporting trench coats, pegged pants, and beanies huddle toward the front. As Holograms enters their first song of the night, it doesn’t take long for the pogoing to begin.
Amongst the flurry of bodies is that toxic, thick smoke from a generated fog machine. The biggest of little clubs in the city, Bottom of the Hill is soon covered in smoke, spilled beer, and seizure inducing strobe lights as Holograms takes the stage.
Eventually they enter their first single “ABC City,” off their self-titled LP.
As expected, veteran fans cheer with the special kind of energy that only comes when you hear that one song from the band that transformed you from casual listener to diehard fan.
A particularly enthusiastic young man jumps on stage. Standing in front of the crowd he thrusts his fist in the air, singing along to the chorus and rallying up his fellow comrades to join him.
This kind of energy goes hand in hand with a band like Holograms, a group that somewhat struggles in attempting to describe the sound of their music but values and acknowledges the reaction they receive from their fan base.
“For me it’s more of a way to approach the creation,” says Lagerström when asked about their musical influences. “I don’t know, it’s more of a feeling that I want to achieve, to really get at. I can’t really express it, it’s more like what life has really brought us up to this point.”