#10 Women in Music: Liz Nistico (HOLYCHILD)

Liz NisticoHolychild are, like, so hot right now! No really, they are. Brat-pop duo Liz Nistico and Louie Diller are making pop music, but using it to convey the deeper message behind their lyrics. Following interest from various record labels, eventually choosing an independent, they’ve just released their debut EP Mindspeak.

Los Angeles based and currently touring the US, they’re gearing up to release their first album later in the year, and seemingly enjoying every minute. Liz and Louie took some time out of their busy tour schedule to have a chat with us.

Liz Nistico in Interview


Hi Holychild! Could you introduce yourselves and tell us a little bit about what you both bring to the band?

Liz: Hey! My name is Liz, and I'm with Louie, and together we make up Holychild! We collaborate on a lot for this project, but to break it down, we pretty much write all the songs 50/50. That part is completely half and half, and then Louie takes care of all the music production, and music direction. I then take care of all our visuals, from videos to photo shoots to clothing. It's been a joy collaborating with Louie on this project because we can express ourselves together and then independently as well.

Louie: Yeah, I would say the breakdown of Holychild goes as follows: lyrics are 80% Liz, 20% me. Music production 80% me, 20% Liz. Melodies/harmony/rhythm, 50/50. And virtually all of the visuals are taken care of by Liz. She's a beast!

Your music is unapologetically poppy - is this a conscious decision?

Louie: Yes and no. We both genuinely like pop music, and perhaps most importantly, love the immediacy of it. Our overarching goal with Holychild's style is to draw people in with such familiar themes, ideas, melodies, rhythms, etc from popular culture, but then challenge people at the same time with a slightly off-sounding harmony, rhythm, or unsettling lyrics, imagery etc. We're basically opposed to spoon-feeding our listeners, and prefer to keep them on their toes, make them think just a little bit, challenge ourselves a little bit, keep it interesting for all involved!

Liz: Yeah, I agree with Louie on the yes/no answer. We write what is most natural to us, and that happens to be what you hear. And then we do realize it's poppy, and we're fine with it. We don't necessarily sit down and say, "Let's write a pop song," that's definitely not how our creative juices get flowing!

Where do you draw inspiration from for the themes and ideas in your lyrics - people, places, personal experiences?

Liz: I think a lot of the inspiration for the themes in lyrics comes from my own experiences, in particular having to do with different relationships I've had. I know a lot of time has passed, but I really felt affected by the way my father treated my mom, sister and me when I was growing up, and his actions have really made me unable to trust people in general. He also made me really resent men, or the ideal "man". He and my mom were in an abusive relationship until he moved away to Saudi Arabia when I was like, 7, and I think I had to grow up pretty quickly. Dealing with him in and out of my life, and a few other emotionally abusive people, has really made me think about our culture. I always felt sorry for my dad and people who were hurting me and it made me think: why do they act like this? Who are they trying to epitomise? Why are they trying to epitomise that character and where did they learn those ideals from? Those were concepts that I was grappling with from when I was eight years old. I started connecting with different forms of art, in particular - different authors that made me realise people are fucked up. People are pressured to act a certain way by our culture. There are many contradicting pressures on people and it makes them act in hurtful ways. I still feel really scarred from the way I was treated, and I'm just trying to understand it. That's what my lyrics are. Me trying to understand my thoughts, and trying to connect with other humans about it. Maybe in an attempt to not feel alone in this struggle.


Are you enjoying the success you’ve had so far? And is being in the music business as great as we’d like to believe?

Louie: Yeah! We are definitely enjoying the connections we have made through our music. Whether it be with our fabulous record label, mgmt, booking agents, band, and the whole nine yards of that, or all the folks that have been coming out to shows, or sharing/'liking' our music online, it has been a very humbling, privileged and validating past six or so months.

Liz: Yeah, it's pretty crazy. Louie and I worked so, so hard for the past 3 years and we're still in hustle mode, you know? Like now that we have a team of people helping us, we can definitely chill a little bit and I'm just trying to realize that. Working in the music industry is great, but it's still work! We're both people who love to be busy, so when we have a second to ourselves we fill it with writing new songs, collaborating with different people, you know. I'm currently working on some new music videos. It's really nice that we are able to do this full time!

What were you doing before you were full time musicians? Did either of you ever have any other career aspirations?

Louie: I was teaching music for about a year after I graduated from university before things in Holychild took off. Either way, I have been playing music professionally for about 10 years now, so although I thought I might pursue a career in international affairs when I first entered university at 18 years of age, eventually during the course of my tenure in school, I realized that I needed to follow this artistic path I had been on; it seemed pretty inevitable, yet natural, for me to pursue. So far so good!

Liz: Yeah! I was teaching dance. Before that I was pretty much a starving artist, making art while waitressing or styling at a boutique. I didn't know what I was going to do but I knew I was going to make art.

There’s a visual theme running through the Mindspeak EP - do you think music videos are an important part of what you’re doing?

Liz: Definitely! I'm such a visual person and that really comes through in the project. Our songs are our art, and I just don't feel that my art would be complete without being a full experience and I feel that videos are necessary in that experience. It's another way to connect with people, to say what I'm trying to say, to enforce this message, or even to add another layer to this art. I really feel like we're moving into a place where music and visuals are much more intertwined, and I like that. I like that music becomes more of an experience.

It seems you had a variety of interest from record labels - why did you choose the independent Glassnote?

Liz: Yeah, that was a crazy time in our life. Glassnote was just such a no brainer. They loved who we are and what we are doing and they are not trying to change us. That's such a big thing! Not to mention that we genuinely get along with everyone at the label; they are all sweet and nice people. It was a big deal to us that we have support from our label to continue making art in our own way, and they assured us that, and we really have had it. We were also drawn to the fact that they have such a small roster, and that we think everyone is killing it. We're really happy with Glassnote!

You’re in the middle of a pretty extensive US tour - any plans to come to us any time soon?

Liz: Yes! We should be in the UK in the summer. We're pretty excited to get out there!

We’ve heard Mindspeak already - is there an album in the pipeline?

Louie: Oh yeah! We got done recording our album before this most recent tour, so it is in its final mixing phase right now, and the songs have been coming together beautifully. We had the great privilege of recording at our dream studio in Hollywood with our dream co-producer / engineer (Cian Riordan), and it couldn't have turned out any better. If all things go to plan, it should be out this fall!

Learn more about Holychild and keep an eye out for those UK dates here.


3 Responses to “#10 Women in Music: Liz Nistico (HOLYCHILD)”

  1. Franklin 14/04/2015 at 7:02 pm #

    I just wanted to know if anyone knows how old Liz and Louie are! And WHEN are their birthdays?! Please let me know because I am a huge fan xx

    • Tiffany Daniels 15/04/2015 at 9:46 am #

      I don’t I’m afraid! I’m guessing around my age from what they’ve said about their childhoods though, so about 27 x

      • Tiffany Daniels 15/04/2015 at 9:46 am #

        (Of course, they could just be really cultured 18 year olds)

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