This is Holding Absence…

This is Holding Absence…

By Adam Rosario

Mar 10, 2019 13:08

"It’s so sweet to be able to do press for the first time ever for an album, it’s super exciting to us." The words of one James Joseph, the bass player for Holding Absence, one of the UK’s most exciting bands right now. Holding Absence are James, Ashley, Chris, Scott, and front man Lucas, and they're on an upward trend now. Having worked their way from the bottom - playing local shows, to being booked for festivals like Slam Dunk, to a full length UK tour supporting As It Is - there is an excitement that surrounds the band. They’ve grown an organic fanbase and have created a live show that feels like an experience.

When asked why the band had made the bold decision to self-title their debut album, they answered with real confidence in their decision. “It was more for ourselves than anything really. Obviously, we’ve been through a handful of lineup changes up to this point and we’ve always been on a journey. Holding Absence is what it is right now, and this album sums us up perfectly,” says Lucas. “Without any misconceptions, we just wanted people to know that this is us and what we do really”.

“It is quintessentially us, obviously it’ll be the only thing we have out, but it marks this time, everything we’ve done over the past two years, is all on this album. If you like us now, then you’ll like this album,” concludes James.

The live arena is one place where Holding Absence have garnered rave reviews. The melancholic atmosphere, the soaring vocals and brilliantly played music, the band are known to surprise people witnessing Holding Absence for the first time. A lot of the songs will be aired live for the first time on their upcoming first ever UK Headlining tour.

“There’s a track called ‘Wilt’ which is one of my favourites for sure. Honestly, when we wrote this album, we wrote some songs two years ago, some a week before tracking the record, some with the current lineup and some with our old guitarist. For us, every track is kind of important and kind of unique really, because it just went through the wringer really. ‘Wilt’ is definitely up there for the live show, there’s a song called ‘Last of the Evening Light’ that will be a very cathartic experience and ‘Your Love (Has Ruined My Life)’ which will be really good live.’ ‘Godsend’ is another one, because we used to play it live, and we kind of took it away for a while so we could give it this rebirth and rewrite it for the album,” says James. “One thing we’ve learnt is that we recorded a lot of this with our old guitarist around a computer, and when you play it live after recording it, it’s a really weird vibe and it’s something we’d like to do differently in the future”.

Just as the interview started, the band were asked to choose three songs each for a radio takeover. Names such as Billie Eilish, John Mayer, Fightstar & Alexisonfire are thrown out, showing the diversity of their interests – when asked about their sound and influences, Lucas and James are very forthright with their answers. “That’s a toughie… We take a lot of inspiration from a lot of different things. For example, I love the way Underoath write albums, I love the way Biffy Clyro have a banging episodic opening track on every album. The Wombats have a song called ‘Isabel’ on an album called ‘Glitterbug’ that’s a piano track halfway through, and then kick into another song, and I remember how much I love how the album manages to breathe in the middle and then carry on as if nothing even happened. With ‘Marigold’ being track number five for us, was inspired by that. There’s a lot more than sonic genre influences for me”.

James, as a self-admitted heavier music fan, goes on to say, “For me as a fan of post-hardcore music and that’s the one genre, where we fit into most if you had to pigeonhole us, I feel like we’ve taken bits from our favourite bands growing up like Underoath, Thrice & Alexisonfire and we’ve taken from all the big bands who’ve had an effect on us”.

“Inspiration spans from anything from My Bloody Valentine to 30 Seconds To Mars to Radiohead to Underoath. We’ve grown as music listeners because of the band, it sounds stupid to say it but we look at music differently now. Like we can hear parts of that random punk band and think ‘let’s bring that into Holding Absence or that piece of classical music I heard in my Nan’s car is cool, let’s do something with that”.

Throughout ‘Holding Absence’, the underlying emotional tones are portrayed in such a way that they become euphoric, in a way that so many bands have tried and failed to do. Lucas, however, makes it seem easy. All the way through the record, the most emotional lyrics are delivered in such a way that they could be the triumphant song at the end of a montage. “I think it’s about not being too literal, but not being insincere. For me it was about channeling emotions, I have definitely felt in my life and placing them in a narrative that didn’t 100% apply to me personally. It became this weird mix story telling yet autobiographical lyricism. I really wanted the lyrics to feel real and really really apply to a certain mould”.

Holding Absence are fantastic songwriters, the lyrics being their strongest point, as well as the delivery by Lucas. His emotional outpour night after night sets this band apart from others in and around their level.

Conversation soon turns to the upcoming UK headline tour, and after such a massive year, the band feel ready to show why they’re finally at this level. “We’ve toured Europe four times in the last 12 months. This time 12 months ago, we’d never toured Europe! When I look back to the first year of this band, we were DIY, self-booking twenty shows in a month. It’s funny how things have changed, but our work ethic is still exactly the same as it’s always been. This year, I think we’ll really be reaping the fruits of our labour with this tour, playing venues we grew up going to. Like I never thought we’d be headlining the Underworld the month of releasing an album. It’s daunting to be playing that venue. I’ve been there once to see Silverstein play, and I know the Underworld has the reputation for being a special venue, bands don’t just play there, there’s always a reason. I feel like we’ve always risen to the occasion whenever we’ve been challenged”.

James has a fun personal fact about the Underworld. “I’ve only ever missed one Holding Absence show, in Cardiff supporting Black Peaks and I was at the Underworld because I was seeing two nights of my favourite band Stick To Your Guns. It’s a pretty good reason to miss a show!”

The fanbase for a band is hugely important, as they are the reason bands grow in size, can play better venues and release more music. Holding Absence’s mantra ‘You Are Everything’ started off as a thank you tagline from the early days of sending out merchandise. “I used to hand type write thank you messages when we sent off the merch and one day, James said why don’t you sign it off with ‘You Are Everything, This Is Holding Absence’ and it’s just stuck ever since. We’ve really clung onto it, we’ve named our group after it, we’ve named a song after it. It feels like a mantra for our band. It’s a really special expression because it has two different sides to it. It lets people know how special and important they are and that without them, we are nothing. It also reminds people, that they are everything, it’s a self worth call to arms thing as well,” says Lucas.

“On a personal level,” James interjects, “we’ve all had times where we’ve not fit in with people, and it’s only in the last couple of years, as sad as it is, that I’ve been happy with the person I am and that’s not because of change but more ‘well I’m me and that’s all I can be. It’s such a liberating feeling and now I can talk to people about the band, I’m not scared to do music with the guys and I just want to give that feeling to anyone who feels bad”.

When asked about the plans for the rest of the year, Lucas and James reveal that they can’t really reveal anything. “We’re just trying to fill it up to be honest. It’s a real baptism of fire, releasing this album, so if it goes well, hopefully everything happens but until then, we’ll do everything we can to tour as much as we can. It’ll be nice to see people listening to the album for a change, if anything, this is the time in our career where we can let the music do the talking for us for a change”.

Holding Absence are about to embark on the biggest year of their career. Having released a handful of singles and garnering such a passionate fanbase, the debut album feels like a reward for fans and band alike. Both parties have been patient, and now is the time for Holding Absence to step up and start their journey on their way to being one of the UK’s premier rock bands. They have the talent, the likability, the live show and, most importantly, the songs.

This Is Holding Absence.