Holding Absence
Webzine musical. Nouveautés, live reports, interviews et critiques d'artistes de tous genres musicaux.
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Holding Absence

(c) photo : Bethan Miller – https://www.bethanmiller.co/

We Will Punk You! met with Lucas Woodland (voice) and James Joseph (bass guitar) from Holding Absence in Antwerp, a few minutes before they went on stage for the first date of As It Is’ Great Depression Tour. We talked about the band’s music and future projects, in an interview we encourage you to read now!

We Will Punk You!: How is Belgium so far?

Lucas Woodland: Well! We love this place, it’s sick! I think Europe is weird, like there are so many extreme places like there is France and then there is Czech Republic and stuff which are like very different from the UK. Belgium, Holland, Germany… They feel a lot more familiar.

WWPY!: Today is the first day of The Great Depression Tour. How does it feel to be part of such an amazing line up?

Lucas: It’s awesome. The thing is as a band we rarely choose the bands we get to tour with and obviously I think this lineup is quite a different one for us you know what I mean? I know obviously that Trash Boat and As It Is have become more heavier bands by their last album I guess, but normally like 3 years ago we never would’ve thought we would be playing with these bands so yeah! It’s really sick, the whole lineup is sick. Courage My Love as well is a really sick band so we’re definitely very excited about this tour.

James Joseph: I think every band’s got a different thing to offer as well like sometimes we play shows with four bands that are exactly like us and we’re all fighting over each other but here, everyone has their own thing to show which is cool.

WWPY!: And it’s always nice to see girls on a lineup as well.

Lucas: Yeah! Really it’s so sick.

James: We’ve been on tour with Courage My Love a few times before and they’re awesome.

Lucas: And we always tour with our female photographer so it’s nice for her to have more women with her this time haha.

WWPY!: You recently made an official statement about the formation of the band, with the new members Scott and Chris. How long has it been like that? What does this new line up change for the band?

Lucas: We’ve been like this for a few months now, we haven’t really done much but the lineup we currently have right now, we toured with in the summer with Being As An Ocean. So yeah it’s been this lineup for quite a while now.

James: It was sort of a trial period.

Lucas: Yeah we did that too, we weren’t really sure what was gonna happen with the band you know, but yeah it just felt really right and we’re happy to be doing this tour with a fully strong lineup.

James: We’re really happy with the two new guys. Scott [Carey, guitar] was in band with Lucas back in the days when they were young and he’s been doing merch so he has always been involved in this band even from day one. And then Chris [Smitheram, Guitar], he played in another local band and he fills in for our friends in Landscape, so we knew they were the right guys for this job!

WWPY!: Awesome! Along with that announcement, you also started teasing a new song with this line “The echo of your goodbyes lingers like a shadow”. This song is being released tonight right?

Lucas: Yes it is.

WWPY!: So what is it about?

Lucas: It’s a song called Like A Shadow. I guess it will all become part of a bigger picture quite soon, we can’t talk about it too much quite yet but the song is basically essentially just a very quick take on lovers actually, and it’s about being strung up by somebody who’s kinda messing you around again and it’s quite a digestible Holding Absence song as well. You know normally I sing about far more over the top emotional things but I feel like, with Like A Shadow, the chorus was so accessible that I kinda didn’t want to scare anybody off with any lyrics that would be a bit too much… You know what I mean so umm… But yeah, like I said, it’s part of a bigger thing as well.

WWPY!: Is it going to be a first single for an album?

Lucas: Yeah I think so, maybe… We can’t wait to get it out and it’s probably one of the best thing we’ve ever done yet.

WWPY!: Cool, cool! You’ve said before that St Cecilia and Everything, the two songs that were released on the This Is As One EP were quite stand alone songs compared to the new songs you were writing for the album. So how is it different from the new stuff?

Lucas: I think with the new stuff you know we’ve been working on a lot of music while I think  St Cecilia and Everything were very much a case of what we were feeling at the time. Everything was the first song we wrote as a band and with St Cecilia, we just felt like it was a bit more of a ‘curve ball’ really, and we just felt like it made more sense on the split EP. And obviously, the split being quite a different thing to do, we felt like those two songs really stood out individually the most.

James:  It was a chance for us as well to try some new stuff with their producer, that we’ve never worked with before and he’s the same guy that will be doing our future material so we’re really happy with that.

WWPY!: Oh cool! I think St Cecilia is one of the most emotional song you’ve released.

Lucas: Awesome, thank you very much.

WWPY!: Honestly it’s one of my favourite. But what’s the story behind it, and if there isn’t one, how did you came up with the concept?

Lucas: Good question! Okay so, I think for me, St Cecilia is a very weird song for this band because all of our songs prior have been very bluntly emotional, very heart on your sleeve you know? And with St Cecilia, I wanted to try and be quite clever with the lyrics. Saint Cecilia is the patron saint of music and the song is essentially a love letter to the patron saint of music, kind of using that as a metaphor because you know, the thing is, being a musician is hard!

WWPY!: Oh wow! It makes so much more sense now.

Lucas: For example, “I’m nailed to your stave“. A stave is a wooden poll but also something you write music on so throughout the whole song there’s lots of music references and stuff like that and I know it could be seen as cheesy but I wanted to take out my frustration on this industry a little bit, without being too tongue in cheek and try and be as clever as I possibly could. So I’m glad you think it’s an emotional song because I was worrying while writing it that it didn’t translate, that’s sick!

WWPY!: Aw no, no it’s because In the song you say things like ‘I’ve lost your love’ so I’ve always  thought it was about a loved one or an ex-girlfriend.

Lucas: Yeah, yeah totally, and I mean you could look at it like that. Music has always been the love of my life and sometimes it doesn’t hit you and in times it just feel like you know you’ve lost love to something so.

WWPY!: But it’s much more interesting now that I know the underlines.

Lucas: I didn’t want it to not be relatable as well, so if you were in a position were you were kinda falling out of love with someone or whatever I’d like the thought that you could relate to the song whilst it also underlying and saying a lot more I guess.

WWPY!: Yeah.. It’s an amazing answer actually. What’s your favourite lyric from one of your songs?

Lucas: Ouh!… that’s interesting. (To James) You go first because I write most of it so… but I have a few favorites still.

James: There’s quite a few yeah, let me think.. there’s a lot of lyrics of ours…

Lucas: I think for me Penance holds a lot of them. It’s different as well, lyrics can contextually mean a lot you know so…  like for example in penance “I deserve to be happy now”; that lyric to me is soooo powerful because it’s so few words but it says so much. It’s like you deserve that, and you feel entitled to joy, and even the word ‘now’ it means you’ve waited a long time. I thinkI’ve wasted my time falling in love with the thought of falling in love with someone’ is a very powerful one as well.

James: I think I like lyrics that sort of make you paint a picture inside your head so there’s the lyric ‘A Forget-Me-Not written in the spine of a book’ so a little note written inside of a book and then it’s kind of fun to, I don’t know, when you listen to some bands and they help you paint a picture when you listen to their lyrics like one of my favourite band at the moment is a band called Me Without You and some of their lyrics you’re like « Woah what are they saying?? » and I think it makes a really cool narrative in your head.

WWPY!: Penance is amazing. Mine are in Permanent ‘You want to die today, you don’t wanna die forever’. It’s so powerful. Is there any lyrics that you wrote or maybe melodies that came out of nowhere like you were on the toilet or you were watching the kettle boiling?

Lucas: I’m very..the way I write lyrics is kind of really weird like I have a huge note on my phone with thousands and thousands of words and basically every day of life wether something hits me and like I could be on the toilet I mean, even things like for example if I’m listening to a song and I think the lyric is this and it turns out different then actually think “that lyric is class so I could use that myself” or you know if I mistook a word for another word and then realize that those words rhymes and that kind of springs to things so the inspirations for the natural lines comes from wherever and then when I kind of sit down consolidate everything and then kind of tie everything together so yeah it’s quite a long process to be honest, some things write themselves! Like I’m really bad at sleeping ahahah, so some nights, I’ll just lie awake and just I’ll literally just look at my lyrics and try to see if anything works, it’s weird, I feel like it’s detective work or something that makes sense there and that makes sense there, it’s about getting everything allright!

James: The hardest thing with singing as well is like, when you’re screaming you can sort of do a lot more like syllable things like «  A…A….A » whereas with singing, obviously, there has to be notes and things so there are times where Lucas will write something and we try it and there’s no way for it to fit into the song because it says a word and another really big word.

Lucas: Yeah there’s a lot of trial and error but I’m very lucky the boys are very honest with me.

WWPY!: Okay, interresting! Little question, have you guys seen the new movie Bohemian Rhapsody?

Lucas: Yep!

James: I’m gonna see it on this tour on a day off.

WWPY!: Okay… because there’s a scene in it that… no it’s not a spoiler, don’t worry!

(All laugh in unison)

WWPY!: They’re in the office of the head of their record label…

Lucas: Oh yeah! I know exactly what you mean!

WWPY!: And the man says that the song is never gonna air because the song is six minutes long and it’s too long and they say well… you’ll forever be known as the man who lost Queen, so they fought for that song to be on the radio. and you have Penance which is a 6 minutes long song too!

Lucas: Honestly our label rep and – this is so funny actually-, because our label Rep is a guy called Sal and me and James had a phone call with him just to talk about things, it was more of a catch up than anything really and he basically said in his American accent ‘You know I was watching this Bohemian Rhapsody film…’ and he said exactly what you just said ‘It was so funny how a 6 minutes long song would never go on the radio and you guys have Penance’ But hey, we’ve got more 6 minutes long songs coming on the album!

WWPY!: But for us 6 minutes of penance is nothing, it’s like 2 minutes because we’re listening to it and like it’s already over? So good.

Lucas: Yeah! No honestly and like, I know it’s weird because it’s my own song, but sometimes when I listen to it I feel the same thing.

WWPY!: I mean it’s such a good song!

Lucas: Thank you so much.

James: It’s nice when bands do different things and at the moment everyone is trying to do the perfect 3 minutes song…

WWPY!: There’s so much potential in a 6 minutes song, I can’t wait to hear the new one! Where does the ‘You are everything’ thing comes from?

Lucas: Erm… so that is essentially when we started using the ‘This is Holding Absence’ Handle we kinda wanted to not separate ourselves because we realized ‘This is Holgind Absence’ is a very ‘look at us’ kind of thing but we basically came up with ‘ You are Everything and this is Holding Absence’. At the time, we had a song title and everything, so we just kinda thought You Are Everything and it made sense but since then it became more of a mantra between us, it’s just a thing we like to say and remind people of, because I know people do say a lot « without our fans the band wouldn’t exist, etc… » or like we kinda wanna prove that by wearing our opinion on our sleeves and…

James: Totally!

Lucas: I think you came up with it, James?

James: Oh It’s a good way to look at life, it’s a mantra! Like if someone’s feeling down about themselves, just remind them ‘You are everything’!

Lucas: And another thing as well, yeah, you’re right, it’s more a say to the fans “you guys are everything” and you need to tell yourself that because it’s true, you are everything! You’re the most important person in your life, so I think it’s like a power message as well.

WWPY!: Well this is a seriously cool meaning… I wanna talk about Mental Health as well. You’re very big advocates on social medias about mental health, how is it important for you to usher a message across the platforms and for people of this scene?

Lucas: The thing is, I am that kid sat at home listening to music, I always have been! So many bands have saved my life you know, like people say “Oh your band saved my life” or whatever, I’m just like I see so much of myself in those people and I think I’ve kind of come to terms with my problems and self-medicating my issues and you know all these things I think I didn’t understand when I was younger, and I look at people like 16-year-olds kids and I know they’ve got problems too, and I don’t know, I just think it’s important to really really show people that you can survive, you just have to keep doing it and I think really, the best way of people knowing that there’s other people out there, it’s just talking about it! So I think it’s a huge thing I appreciate in the modern day and age : millennials are so focused on the conversation and I’m so proud of our generation for LGBTQ rights and just like gender equalities becoming far more of a thing and like homophobia isn’t considered a norm anymore, just like racism, people are not afraid to call out now! This is such a forward-thinking world we live in and I think mental illness is something that people didn’t understand for a very long time and now we do understand it, we have to talk about it, and luckily I’m kinda seeing it from both sides so…

WWPY!: yeah, especially in our small music community… people are kinder with each other.

Lucas: Exactly! I always say this but I think the people who hurt more, think more, and the people who’s hearts are a little bit bigger feel more pain. You know… and I think that’s kinda what ties our scene together, it’s the way that people feel and think more than the ‘normal’ person and it’s important to be proud of that you know what I mean?

WWPY!: I do. A few days ago… Patty [Walters, As It Is] made a whole instagram story about him not growing his social presence anymore because he doesn’t feel like it benefits him,… but, do you feel like, as a growing band if I may say so, that it’s important for people to find you there and for people to write about your music on social medias?

Lucas: Yeah a 100%.

James: I think if it wasn’t for the band we would have all said « Ugh it’d be great to no have to use social media » cause you know there are days where you catch yourself thinking about posting something and everyone does this thinking « Oh I hope people will like this » and stuff and realistically, I should be outside playing with lots of dogs *laughs*.

Lucas: Yeah I’m embarrassed of it but I’ve become a little bit of a slave to the internet.

WWPY!: We all are really, aren’t we?

Lucas: I lie awake at night at 3 am on the exact same app like Instagram or Twitter, and they don’t update that fast at 3 in the morning, and I just sat there staring at my screen hoping something will change. So yeah, we can argue that people of this generation are being more open-minded and stuff and I would say the internet is a big part of that, but also, you know people didn’t realize smoking was bad until they’ve smoked for fifty years so… ahah it could be a bad thing but I think for us right now it’s also a good thing! I enjoy connecting with people and I’m fortunate to have people commenting my tweets that I don’t know, and I said to one of my more ‘normal’ friend the other day :If I put up a tweet and somebody replies, chances are we’re not from the same city or whatever’ so I’m kinda blessed that anybody cares really, It definitely has it’s pros and cons.

WWPY!: there’s a question we often ask bands we interview like we’re from France so we listen to a lot of nonenglish speaking music and we wonder all the time if the bands that we listen to that are native english-speaker do listen to any nonenglish speaking music? Like do you know any foreign artists?

Lucas: That’s actually a really great question because honestly I don’t think we really do… I mean i’m trying to think…

James: I think… Gojira have some songs in french but…

Lucas: I think it’s interesting because it’s not so much about the consumer but more about the bands when you look at it, because obviously we’re from Wales so there’s a band called the Manic Street Preacher, I don’t know if you guys heard of them or no,t they’re quite big stadium band in Britain, and they used to sing in Welsh completely! And then, when they started getting success they completely stopped singing in Welsh, so it’s weird because like, it’s not that I wouldn’t listen to a nonenglish song but… Believe it or not one of our favourite band is a band called Trade Wind and they’ve got an album called ‘You make everything disappear’ which is brilliant and there’s a song on it called ‘Je t’aimerais toujours’ which means I’ll love you forever I think?

WWPY!: Yes it does indeed.

Lucas: …and the whole song is completely in French and I think it sounds beautiful! Part of me is like damn I’ll listen to whole album of this but the thing is…

WWPY!: …You don’t understand.

Lucas: Yeah. And realistically there’s isn’t enough…I guess I could go out of my way to listen to more of it but…

James: I suppose for a long time Britain and America have been the major exporter of culture into the world in terms of rock especially, so I guess the bands, even a french band will still be inspired by the Beatles or Nirvana.

Lucas: It’s weird because even europeans bands like Novelists and Alaska in our scene are really great bands, and even they sing in English so?

WWPY!: Ah yeah, there’s a lot of bands from Germany but like even tho the bands start singing in their native language, they always end up choosing English in the end? Like even One OK Rock, the band from Japan, they used to sing in Japanese and now it’s only English! And, when we were little for example, we didn’t speak English but yet we still were listening to English music without understanding the lyrics…

James: See that’s crazy!

Lucas: I remember when I was younger on holidays in France, and we put on the radio and like… only 1 in 10 songs were in French you know!

WWPY!: Even for us french people, listening to french songs feels weird sometimes because we’re so used to have international music, but that’s a good thing too because now we get to understand English better.

Lucas: Yes it helps you understand the culture I guess.

WWPY!: but it’s the same with every cultural things like films, TV series… all in english. That’s quite the international language when it comes to cultural things, i don’t know.

Lucas: Yeah, yeah you’re right.

WWPY!: Anyway! So we started a collaborative playlist on ‘We Will Punk You’, do you guys have any recommendations that we should put in?

Lucas: Woah…

James: do you want like big bands or like slightly smaller ones?

WWPY!: Basically songs that you love with all your hearts, or songs that you’re really into at the moment.

James: Oh okay okay cool, so…

Lucas: How many do we get?

WWPY!: As many as you want my friend.

Lucas: I’d say ‘ Je t’aimerais toujours by Trade Wind’ very good song and the album is brilliant and then…

James: I really like a band at the moment called the Dirty Nil they’re from Australia I think? And there’s a song about mental health and drug addictions called ‘I don’t want that phone call’.

Lucas: The new Twenty One Pilots album is really good, I was worried it wasn’t gonna be awesome, but it is awesome so I’d go with Levitate as it’s my favourite for the moment.

James: I’ll go for one more ‘Julia by Me without you because I’ve mentioned them earlier and the lyrics are pretty crazy.

WWPY!: That’s good thank you very much… Anything else?

Lucas: Well… we do have a new song out…

WWPY!: Oh yes, we can’t wait to hear it tonight!

James: It’s gonna be online at 12 I think.

Lucas: Oh really?

James: Yes because technically it comes out tomorrow, tonight is only the radio play!

WWPY!:Are you gonna play it tonight?

Lucas: Oh yeah, yeah, it’s gonna be the 5th song we play.

WWPY!: Oh awesome, I can’t wait to hear it! Are you gonna play the 6th other songs?

Lucas: No… And it’s so weird because we’ve done this so slowly that every song feels like a child. Do you have any songs that you want to hear absolutely?

James: No, don’t ask that because it’s so sad…

Lucas: We’re playing Penance!

WWPY!: Sick! …Heaven Knows?

James: [saying no with his head] Aaaaw… We’re so sorry but we have another new heavy one that we open the set with.

Lucas: We love playing Heaven Knows but it’s just too much.

WWPY!: No I mean whatever works for you is fine by me really.

James: Dream of me is on it.

WWPY!: Nice. What about Permanent?

James: [grimacing] No…. honestly we’re really upset about not being able to play all of our songs.

WWPY!: Don’t it’s still gonna be good!

Lucas: We open with a new song.

WWPY!: So two new songs then? Cool!

Lucas: Yeaaah…

Crédit photo : Bethan Miller – https://www.bethanmiller.co/

Interview : Auxane Beau et Naomi Hadietou

Retranscription : Naomi Hadietou

Auxane Beau

J'aime beaucoup trop d'artistes pour pouvoir en faire une liste ici mais retenez déjà Casey et Boston Manor, ça ira pour commencer !