Front woman of the band Holy Wars, Kat Leon, opens up in an exclusive interview with The Untitled Magazine about the inspiration for the band’s new music and the grief period she experienced.
“I really want to show people it’s okay to be sad, angry…feel at a loss…that’s real. That’s human nature and with that, I want to inspire people to turn their own tragedy into triumph. Nobody has the power to break you or heal you…only you do.”
Untitled Magazine: How did Holy Wars come about? Can you tell us who is in the band and how you met and formed the band?
Kat Leon: Holy Wars was created after the loss of both my parents in 2015. At that time I was frozen with grief and had no concept of who I was anymore and what was next. I stopped doing music entirely. It was after a year when I looked back on journal writings written during this time and little melodies that would always circulate in my brain as forms of healing, that I felt a rebirth in me. I call these writings “letters to grief” as everything was written from a different stage of healing. Nick Perez is my co-collaborator and producer of Holy Wars. We fronted the band Sad Robot prior and resurrected in Holy Wars with a heavier, raw sound and honest approach to music.
UM: Can you tell us about how you came up with the band name Holy Wars and what it means to you?
KL: I named Holy Wars after this grief period when I was asked how I was doing and I answered with “every day feels like a Holy War inside of me.” The struggle between light and dark, give up or go on, etc.. The music has this hope and loss quality and we felt Holy Wars was the perfect name to describe it.
UM: Can you tell us about your double EP, Mother and Father?
KL: “Mother” is first of two mini EPs, with “Father” to follow. With three tracks on each ending, the whole cycle with the final song “Mother, Father” that inspired the dual EP’s. This was the only song I wrote directly for them and it ends everything with a very quiet and honest touch. Both EP’s are a tribute to my parents and how I have gone on in honor of them both and wanted to tribute the two most special people I owe everything to.
UM: What inspired your latest track “Orphan”?
KL: Orphan was the second song written for Holy Wars and was inspired by the stage of acceptance. This song literally makes me sad and happy at the same time…and that is my favorite kind of song. In the lyrics, I sing “Dip your head in gold, a kingdom waits for you…crowning of an Orphan.” Even though the lyrics are brutally honest and sad, it has this empowering quality and builds in the end like tragedy into triumph.
This song is quite a departure from the belted soaring melodies I tend to write. This one was meant to be more of a sing along where I imagined a little ball rolling over each lyric begging the audience to participate and I honestly love how this song builds. It is my favorite track. When we wrote this song, I wasn’t exactly ready for it and even in the demo, I sang the lyrics very defeated with lack of emotion. That version stuck with us so much that we wanted to recreate that performance in the studio.
UM: A lot of the band’s music comes from a deeply personal place, so how do you grapple with working with such emotional material?
KL: Music is such a wonderful and personal experience for the artist and the listener. I have always written from a personal, raw place of true experience, but I can honestly say that I have never tapped in so deep of my true experience and feelings of loss until now. In a world where we are forced to appear so polished, showing only the best parts of us and our days…I really want to show people it’s okay to be sad, angry…feel at a loss…that’s real. That’s human nature and with that, I want to inspire people to turn their own tragedy into triumph. Nobody has the power to break you or heal you…only you do.
UM: What’s next for Holy Wars?
KL: We are putting out our “Mother” EP on June 30th and the “Father” EP is set for fall 2017 and plan to go right back into the studio to starting tracking more music for our next release!