Given her history of collaborations, it comes as no surprise that Holter isn’t shy about asking for help when she needs it. Fans of the Californian multi-instrumentalist were blown away by her upbeat and joyful What We See with Nite Jewel (Ramona Gonzalez) on the Light From Los Angeles compilation, which was released by internet radio station Dublab last month. “I always want to work with other artists, and I try to bounce ideas off friends and people I respect as much as possible,” she explains. “There are elements of what I do that are inescapably lonely, though. Writing is a very solitary process, so sometimes it’s nice to get input and to share.”
Her second album Ekstasis, released earlier this year on New York tastemaking label RVNG, was very much a solo effort: she spent more than three years working on it at home, while also finding the time to release her debut, Tragedy, in 2011. The sophomore release drew in reams of admiration, with the media quick to draw comparisons with other experimental multi-instrumentalists like Laurie Anderson and Joanna Newsom.
Critical praise is all well and good, but Holter’s main source of pride comes from the hard slog that she endured to get the album made. “The great thing – or maybe it’s a terrible thing – for me is that I’ve always been writing,” she says. “I have so much stuff, so many ideas and partially-written bits, so when I get to see those ideas come through on an album, it’s really rewarding. The exciting part, once an album’s done, is that I can then continue working on some other strand of material. At the moment I’m working on something new, and I have to be honest – I’ve never done something quite like this before.”
Holter’s next album, tentatively titled Gigi, will be much more collaborative than previous releases. Exactly who is going to appear on the record is still something of a secret, with the lady herself not giving away any clues. “I will say I’m working with some friends that I know,” she hints. “It’s really great because I wrote most of the parts with specific people in mind, and so I think that gives us a bit of breathing room. Everyone knows what they’re doing in the recordings, and that creates this feeling of confidence, which in turn makes me feel so incredibly supported. In many ways it’s made my job easier, because I have more time to focus on the important things.”
The most pressing issue at the moment, though, is finishing her scanning before lunch at the family home. “It’s really crunch time here,” she laughs. “Got to finish getting things ready for Australia, and then eat a whole bunch of food!”
BY BENJAMIN COOPER