• Charlotte Hardman

Interview with Lucas Woodland of Holding Absence

Becoming one of the most exciting new bands to enter into the rock world’s line of sight, playing a whole host of shows across the UK and Europe alongside a wide variety of well-known and well-loved bands and cultivating a small but fiercely loyal fanbase all off the back of just six released songs is no mean feat. Yet for Cardiff trio Holding Absence, that is a challenge they have met with confidence and excitement. Exploding onto the scene only last year, the band already have a pretty impressive resume under their belts, and in the run up to their slot on the bill at Cheltenham’s 2000 Trees Festival, we caught up with vocalist Lucas Woodland to discuss the crazy journey his fledgling band have already been on so early in their career:

You guys have been on a crazy journey so far; to only have a handful of songs released and to already have the fan base and notoriety you have is incredible. How have you found that experience so early in your journey as a band? It’s been wild! We’re incredibly grateful for all that has happened in such a short space of time. We’re a very hungry band, but sometimes you need to step back and take in that all this has happened from just 6 songs and that is such a feat. We’re very grateful for it all.

You have a really unique, ethereal edge to your sound that has become your hallmark; was that a conscious decision or did that come organically through the writing process? As a band, we only have a few goals for our sound - our live show has a real intensity that we love and are very proud of. As for our recorded stuff, we really like to aim for an epic, overbearing atmosphere for our music. We like to make people feel things during our live show, so that depth to our music is really important to us.

'Penance' was an incredible closer to your set at Slam Dunk; can you give us a bit of background as to the inspiration behind that track? Thank you. 'Penance' is a very important song for us. That song made me want to join this band in the first place so I hold it dear to my heart. The song is quite simply about life, death and self-discovery. It can be interpreted in several different ways, but from a first-person perspective it was written about suicide, and the world around you when you’re gone. Writing that song really helped me out of a hole.

You recently released a split EP with Loathe; what made you choose to work with them, and did you influence each other at all during the writing process? We love Loathe, as musicians and friends. The release simply came about as both bands wanted to try something new. As for influencing one another, there was no real crossover. Both bands are very obnoxiously confident bands, so we didn’t want to compromise our vision too much with the music we wrote, but I do believe having each other so close pushed both bands to overachieve, which was a real positive part of the process.

Has releasing songs as singles and an EP rather than releasing a full record of your own allowed you to change your approach to writing, or your overall sound, before you commit to a full record? It’s allowed us to set up a musical parameter. We enter this Holding Absence record with absolutely no restrictions, and a lot under our belt to explore. We have heavier songs like 'Heaven Knows', ambient songs like 'Everything', 'Penance' is six minutes long, and 'Saint Cecilia' is just a radio rock tune. The freedom has been so instrumental in writing the eclectic debut record we wanted to write.

You guys have been touring incessantly across Europe recently; is there anything you miss about home while on the road? And are shows abroad a different experience to playing them at home? Personally, there’s a lot you miss. Distance from family and friends is the biggest thing - you always feel a little bit more isolated in a newer country and that can make things emotionally exhausting. Things like food and washing can be really tough too, especially as most of us are veggie/vegan. Other than that, though, as I said earlier, we are thirsty and ready to do anything we can for this band. So being in Europe, playing new places to new people, is a dream. Regardless of the negativities. European people are so grateful for music, it’s inspiring.

What would your dream tour line-up be, with yourselves either as headliners or as a support? This is tough. I’d probably say Thrice, Underøath, Being As An Ocean and Holding Absence would be the dream for me. More realistically though, us, Casey and Alazka would be dope.

So, after 2000 Trees, what other plans do you guys have going forward? We are currently writing our debut record! Over the next few months we have a few one-off festival performances and then in November we tour the UK and Europe with As It Is, Trash Boat and Courage My Love, which will be sick. By the end of the year I’m sure things will be a lot clearer in regards to the future of this band.

And if what we’ve already seen from Holding Absence is anything to go by, that tour and upcoming album will definitely be ones to look out for! Through their dedication to their sound and their craft, Holding Absence have marked themselves out as one of the rising stars of tomorrow- if you weren’t already planning on it, their set at 2000 Trees will undoubtedly be one you won’t want to miss!