All These Worlds Are Yours is the second album from Stockholm-based Hannes Ferm, AKA HOLY – has ended up sounding. Uprooting from his native Umeå to Stockholm at the beginning of 2016, Ferm headed straight into the notoriously DIY Studio Cobra with Les Big Byrd’s Michael Ehrencrona, with a head full of ideas and a new part-time job there. Yet for all of Ehrencrona’s work co-producing on studio hours, Ferm was sneaking in late at night; breaking his songs apart and meticulously building them back up again layer upon layer.
Starting out as a concept album, and recorded sporadically from January 2016, All These Worlds Are Yours quickly developed into a vivid, deeply personal exploration of our relationship with the night – imagining the wonders that it holds beyond the stars – while battling with inner demons back in reality. What do we discover about ourselves in the early hours as our minds are racing and we can’t sleep? How do our day-to-day experiences and emotions end up influencing our dreams? Is there really alien life out there, and if there is, would they understand the meaning when we say we’re feeling alien?
“I’d just moved to Stockholm when I began recording – so I was adjusting to that – and the garage pop thing I had happening on Stabs… I just didn’t feel comfortable with it anymore. I wanted to go beyond my outer limits,” says Ferm. “I had a vision around the album that had its roots in the proto-glam-rock era that started to shape in the early seventies. But the last thing I wanted to do was to create an album that felt “retro”. My intention was to play around with the recurring elements of that music, like the lyrical themes and the musical arrangements, but to use them in a way that felt new and relevant – and most of all so they felt like something that I could stand for; something that was genuine.”
Borrowing its name from the title of a book Ferm was given as a gift from his sister – All These Worlds Are Yours: The Scientific Search for Alien Life – it’s safe to say there’s a touch of the otherworldly lingering over it all. “I got into like – not science fiction in itself – but more researching about alien life,” Ferm explains. “Old reports of cases where people have seen UFOs – stuff like that. “I think that a lot of the songs are about this… character, almost… That thinks she’s been abducted; brainwashed. And then comes back to earth. And I think every song has a trace of that in it – but it’s purely metaphorical. It’s a daydream, a form of escape.”
In the end, that’s exactly how All These Worlds… plays out. It’s an exquisitely composed form of escape; ten songs that embrace alien life, time travel and loving someone who’s not quite human as much as they do the inner workings of us as people. “That’s what makes it kind of special to me,” Ferm says of the album as a whole. “It’s all my ideas and dreams of space, coming face-to-face with my reality at the time.” In a sentence, All These Worlds… is as classically clean-cut as it is invigoratingly bombastic. It’s in a world all of its own