Louder with Lucas and Scott of Holding Absence
Charlotte sat down with Lucas and Scott of Holding Absence to discuss their debut album ‘Holding Absence’ and their live shows coming later this month.
A debut album? What’s it felt like working on this?
Lucas: Yeah, really really good to be honest. It’s been a very long process. Scott will probably mention in a second but he came in late to the fold, so as far as our band goes and the people in it; it's been different for everybody. There’s a period of time where Chris was learning the songs and not realising he was going to join the band. We all have different opinions of different songs, both as writers and as music fans. I remember when Scott was just our merch guy and we played him ‘Your Love Has Ruined My Life’ and he was like “Oh my god” so it’s been very different for all of us. As far as a band goes, I feel like we’re really on the cusp of what we’ve always kind of wanted this band to do.
Has it been a long time coming?
L: Yeah for sure, and I think primarily we are such an album kind of band as music listeners and as our genre of music, it is an album driven situation when you think of all the big bands in our genre. It’s not so much about the singles as it is about the albums. So for us, yeah it was super important!
This still sounds very you, but on a bigger scale. How important was that as a band?
L: Very Important! We consciously set the parameters out as soon as we could, so with ‘Permanent’ it was far left, ‘Dream Of Me’ was far right and then ‘Penance’ was high up North and you know, asap we just wanted to lay out the boundaries of our band. I feel like people knew what we wanted to do and what to expect but it was more a case of showing them every different angle and every different corner.
Scott: For me, coming in half way through, already having the parameters and the first half laid out and trying to make the songs you already know come.
L: You were a fan gone member so you have a very different angle of the music.
And as I said to you guys separately, It’s a genre blurring album for sure!
L: That was purposeful, for sure. We all listen to loads of different bands, from loads of different genres, and we know Holding Absence can do a lot. Compare ‘Penance’ which is like a six-minute long post-hardcore kind of epic, to ‘Everything’ which is a very subtle, slow burning track. We know we had it in us to do a lot and like I said earlier, it’s doing what everyone knew we could but also doing the unexpected.
So you’re from a pretty great welsh scene! With the likes of Funeral For A Friend, Casey etc. Has this had an influence on your music?
L: Our first show, Myself, Scott and James went to in the scene was watching The Blackout and The Automatic and we grew up and I remember when Scott introduced me to Funeral and Kids In Glass Houses and there’s so many incredible bands and growing up it was such a good scene. When you look at bands like Dream State and Casey, I feel like the kids that grew up with those bands finally became the adults and are the ones making music now. We’re incredibly proud to be Welsh, there’s a lot the Welsh Government and Council, not to get too political, could do for bands like us as they do so much for Welsh language bands, we normally get given a cold shoulder. As far as our native country goes, we’re pretty proud to be from there.
So you gave us a glimpse of the album with ‘Like A Shadow’ and it was a great statement. Can you talk us through that song?
L: The song was the first song we wrote without our first guitarist, Feisal. It was a definite departure but it was a bit of a powerplay. We ourselves were scared of what could happen post, losing your main songwriter and your only guitarist. So for a drummer, bassist and a singer to sit down and write a song, there’s a lot to prove. Literally there was a case of me sat in my bedroom one night, playing guitar and reading tabs to a song by Underoath and there was this one ringy chord and I thought it was sick, but obviously Scott’s got a bit more musical awareness on a guitar than I have. It was really a case of sitting down and methodically writing what we wanted from a Holding Absence song. Bands like Alexisonfire, Creeper really influenced the pacing of that track for sure.
Then followed up by ‘Perish’ a few weeks ago. A great opener to a spectacular album. Why were these two tracks chosen to kick off the album.
L: Honestly, you can draw parallels to the Permanent/Dream Of Me release. Once again we’re showing people very quickly what this album is capable of. Where this album goes, what this album has to say, so they’re two of the better songs for sure and by no means are they the two best. Its what I love about this album! ‘Wilt’ is the only song Scott really sat down and wrote with us and it’s probably my favourite track, it says a lot about this band and the evolution and where we’re going. For now, Perish and Like A Shadow were the perfect two introductory singles.
You’ve got some great on this album, which obviously are going to be great live and now you’ve got more choice for live shows.
L: Yeah, we’ve gone from 6 songs to 17 songs overnight so it’s a big difference! It’s tough, you know what they say about choosing between your children; not many people have 17 children.
From the unheard songs, which do you think will make it to the setlist and why.
L: It’s tough as a music listener, my favourite kind of deep cut is a song called ‘Last Of The Evening Light’ and I love that track but live I’m not as sure, it’s a lot of work! I feel ‘Wilt’ be one of our definite favourites.
S: ‘Wilt’ is a big journey really.
L: I feel like ‘Wilt’ is the most special song since ‘Penance’ for this band, it’s a very important song for us. Live though, I think ‘Your Love Has Ruined My Life’ is going to go down very well but it’s very tough because we spent so long as a pre-album band, relishing over these tracks, songs like ‘Saint Cecilia’ and ‘Permanent’ etc, How do you cut those? So for us, it’s really tough choosing between turning our backs, but also celebrating our newer stuff. I’m hoping there comes a day where we can just do the album in full! We would love that.
S: We want to keep the fans happy, but we also want to keep ourselves happy. A happy medium.
Thanks so much for your time. ‘Holding Absence’ is out March 8th!