Some of the most rewarding musical listening experiences are those that come from passion projects, as opposed to the, at times, carefully organized musical compromise that goes on within bands and collaborations. Well, it doesn’t get much more passionate and intimate than Holy Kerouac, the bedroom synth-pop experience of Mars Rodriguez whose debut album, HOPE2SEEU, is being released via Lonely Ghost Records.

Much of this record was written, arranged, and recorded in a small bedroom apartment in Austin, Texas where Rodriguez set up shop to hash out their grand musical outlook. Growing up an aficionado of guitar-driven pop-punk, modern acoustic folk, and heavily layered synths, HOPE2SEEU is an exploration of youthful vulnerability, coupled with a wide embrace of sonic inquiry.

Reflecting on the context within which the record was composed, Rodriguez shares with us the following thoughts:

“I wrote HOPE2SEEU when I was 18-19. When I started writing these songs, I didn’t know I was writing a record. I just wanted to get everything out. From hospital lobbies, to grief, and heartbreak, HOPE2SEEU is the first time I really embraced honesty in my writing. Now, at 23, I’m in awe; I can hear myself searching for the right words on ‘Fred Armisen,’ searching for the right sounds in ‘1v1 on Nuketown,’ etc. When I listen to this record, I can hear how young I was, I can feel all the ways in which I am different now from the person who wrote these things.”

Rodriguez came up with the Holy Kerouac project in response to some friendly competition from friends and musicians Micah Culverhouse and Josh Arnold; the challenge was to create music that was completely different from the indie and punk projects on which they had previously worked. The mission was basically, “how can I create music that sounds nothing like I’ve ever done before?” From there, Holy Kerouac really started to take off, becoming a deep dive into lyricism and composition. With Holy Kerouac, Rodriguez’s attempt is to create an honest, fluid sound that feels totally unrestrained.

They have now taken on their next challenge of writing full band music for the next Holy Kerouac record as their musical journey takes them in new and exciting directions

Artwork for the album ‘HOPE2SEEU’ by Holy Kerouac