From Holy Wars
Every war has its point of origin, that moment when some long-simmering conflict boiled over. It’s the archduke’s assassination. It’s the sinking of the Maine. For frontwoman Kat Leon, the music she’s created in dark pop powerhouse Holy Wars was precipitated by a sudden change, but at the same time, it was born from an inner conflict that had long been there.In 2015, the Connecticut-born songwriter was fronting the buzzing L.A. indie band Sad Robot, collaborating with musician Nick Perez on the project and taking part in all the attendant stuff: the video, the studio time, the album release, the photo shoots. Then everything stopped.Leon--whose thoughts and work had always been informed by the spectre of death and the occult--lost both parents in short order that year, plunging her into a grief she’d never known. Music stopped for a while, or at least performing did; for the next year, she saw Holy Wars erupt.In early 2017, Leon re-emerged, altered as an artist by her darkest days. Holy Wars became an extrapolation of the turmoil she felt inside: the sacred and the martial intermingled, doubt and hope at once. Leon had penned in Holy Wars’ first collection of songs a set of letters to grief.Holy Wars’ missive to the world comes in the form of a double EP, Mother and Father. It’s heavy and melodic, mathematically precise but still plaintive and emotional. Dark as her thoughts and words may be, Kat Leon comes across not as nihilistic or hopeless; even on a song like “Orphan” (“Everyone that you know / They all will go away in time / And you are left alone”), she presents as someone who’s reached a higher understanding, and confidence. (“Dip your head in gold / The crowning of an orphan,” she continues.)Just as so much of Leon’s writing comes from a place of conflict, Holy Wars’ music is rife with contrasts in texture and timbre. Tumult tumbles into triumph as a verse becomes a chorus. Grief and confusion transform into clarity. It’s in these moments that Holy Wars takes shape.