Tag Archives: Holding Absence

HOLDING ABSENCE

Holding Absence band logo

INTERVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN

Holding Absence are a metal outfit from South Wales, comprising of vocalist Lucas Woodland, guitarist Feisal El-Khazragi, bassist James Evans and drummer Ashley Green.

Despite having only released three tracks up to now, the four-piece are already making themselves known on the British metal scene with an emotional post-hardcore/metalcore sound coupled with powerful lyrics which deal frankly with such subject matter as death and mental health.

The band have also been establishing themselves on the live circuit, having pretty much played non-stop over the last year, including a set at this summer’s Download festival, and are working hard on a debut album, to be released soon.

I spoke to Lucas in the comfort of their dressing room, prior to their performance at the recent Macmillan Fest in Nottingham, and this is what he had to say:

How did the band first get together?

I joined the band after they had been together for about a year. It started off with Feisal living with James and jamming. I had been best friends with the guys for years, so when they parted ways with their original vocalist and I had recently left my old band, it kind of made sense for me to join.

It’s kind of like an amalgamation of musicians and friends working together in different bands over the years meeting at the same junction.

From where did the name Holding Absence originate?

The name came from a reference to a song by Hammock, a really good band who play kind of post-rock and have been a big influence of us. The song was called ‘Holding Your Absence’, and I think the boys thought it sounded really cool, so they took the name from that, basically.

What would you say was your approach to songwriting?

It changes all the time. At the moment, we’re working towards an album, so we’re totally in “head down” mode. Feisal is always brimming with ideas, he has quite a nice bedroom set-up, so he’ll often be coming up with songs.

Myself and the rest of the band will sit down and look at what he’s got, or we’ll perhaps bring him something and take a look at it from there.

The lyrics and vocal melodies are done primarily by me, but to get the best out of the band, we will all openly work together, for example, if somebody has a suggestion, maybe they’ve come up with an idea for some lyrics, then we will never be against putting it in a song.

At the end of the day, it’s whatever makes the best music.

Giorgio “Gio” Cantarutti, who was one of your guitarists, left recently. Do you think his departure has left a hole in the band?

Gio was, and still is, one of our best friends, and was also a founding member, but to be honest, him leaving hasn’t really affected us that much, you know.

It was a completely amicable decision on his behalf, and we miss and love him, but, and don’t get me wrong, I feel that the band will carry on the same without him.

Will you be carrying on as a four-piece now, or are you going to be looking for a replacement?

The idea at the moment is that we’ve got a stand-in guitarist, he’s playing shows with us so we can keep the same set-up as before, but for the time being, because we are in such a place where there are four permanent members and with our creative output, we’re trying not to get anybody in too soon, because we don’t want to disrupt the chemistry.

Paramore or Pvris are both four-pieces that play with five members, and that’s what we’ll be doing.

The band played Download earlier this year. How was that as an experience?

It was awesome. We’d been working very hard prior to that. We started in August of last year, so when I joined, we had just missed the festival season, so yes, it was kind of always off the cards to play a festival, we never expected anything, so we just toured like crazy through the whole of the winter and up to this summer, when we played Download.

It just felt like the boiling point, like everything was drawing to a close on a very hard-working year for us, so there was a real celebration.

I remember looking out towards the crowd and seeing a couple of hundred people we’d seen in these small venues across the country, so yeah, personally and for the group as well, it was very special.

What are the plans for the near future?

Like I said earlier, we’re currently working towards an album. We’ve been touring relentlessly over the last year, we’ve just hit seventy shows in that time, so it has been quite busy for us.

We understand that obviously, our content level is low, we’ve only released three songs, it’s hard because we’ll play shows and some people will know all the words to the lyrics, but that’s still only half a set, so we’re at the stage now where we feel that we’ve done a lot of graft and we’re ready to give back.

We’ll also be touring with Young Guns later this month, that should be really cool, hitting up a few key locations across the UK.

What is the band’s long-term aim?

It’s a big one, isn’t it? To be fair, we’ve all been in bands for a long time individually, and now, we feel we are at the same stage where we respect ourselves and each other as musicians enough to just make the best music, and to change as many lives as we can.

I know that’s a little bit cliche, but we’ve got fifteen people now with Holding Absence tattoos, and we’ve only brought three songs out.

The concept of taking that further, and we’re still on a rather small scale at the moment, we can see people singing along, messaging us in the middle of the night to say how important we are to them, I feel like we owe it to people, as well as ourselves, to keep on going for as long as possible.

I don’t know if that’s really a conclusive answer, but those are our goals now.

HOLDING ABSENCE WILL BE SUPPORTING YOUNG GUNS ON THEIR UK TOUR LATER THIS MONTH. FURTHER DETAILS BELOW:

Holding Absence tour poster

CHECK OUT THE FOLLOWING SITES FOR MORE INFO ON HOLDING ABSENCE:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE: www.holdingabsence.com

FACEBOOK: www.facebook.com/Holdingabsence

TWITTER: twitter.com/HoldingAbsence

INSTAGRAM: www.instagram.com/holdingabsence

YOUTUBE: www.youtube.com

 

 

 

 

 

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MACMILLAN FEST 2017 – Nottingham, 02/09/2017

Macmillan Fest 2017 poster

REVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN

PHOTOS of The Treatment by CALLUM GROVE

As the summer festival season drew to a close for another year, a corner of the centre of Nottingham was taken over by the Macmillan Fest, which was now in its eighth year raising money and awareness for the great cause that is Macmillan Cancer Support, and has become a fixture of the city’s rock music calendar.

This was my second time covering it for this site, and in terms of the weather on the day, there was no comparison to the first.

Last year, the festival took place under grey skies and torrential rain, but this year, it was blue skies and glorious sunshine all the way.

With the opening bands kicking off their sets around half past one, I got to the press accreditation tent, situated around the back of the legendary venue that is Rock City, as the clock struck 1pm.

Having got my wristband and press pass, I made my way into the Black Cherry Lounge, an adjacent nightclub that was doubling for the day as a press and band preparation area.

There, you could see roadies shifting equipment about, vocalists undertaking rigorous singing exercises, and musicians making final tweaks to their instruments before they ventured on stage.

With my first interview of the day, with Welsh post-hardcore quartet Holding Absence, under my belt, it was time to head over to the Rescue Rooms, which was playing host to the majority of the day’s sets, with the building holding three of the stages. It lacks the prestige of its neighbour, but is a great venue nonetheless.

Opening up the place’s main stage were local metal five-piece Centurion. They had earned that spot on the bill after winning the festival’s Battle of the Bands competition back in June, and judging by their live performance, it was easy to see how they had won.

Centurion gig photo

The set was delivered with much feistiness, whether it was coming from the strong vocals and stage presence of frontwoman Esme Knight, or the band’s sound, much influenced by the classic metal of Iron Maiden, Judas Priest and “The Big Four”.

It must have been daunting for them to be the opening act, what with being handed the task of warming up the crowd, who at this point in proceedings, had yet to really get into the swing of things, but after seeing the band perform such a confident set, actively involving themselves with the audience, it seems to have been taken with relish.

Directly upstairs from this, another band native to Nottingham were playing another strong set.

Say The Word are classed as a pop-punk outfit, but their sound is not stereotypical of the genre, with the quartet also taking influence from the likes of the Foo Fighters and Bruce Springsteen.

Say The Word band photo

With more of a compact space, the crowd were able to get up, close and personal with the band members, who all performed with high energy, which by its conclusion, had left them, and much of the patrons, covered in sweat.

Currently enjoying a rising reputation, this was probably the last time you would have had the opportunity to see them play such an intimate stage.

After that, I decided to cool down by taking a little stroll outside around the back of the Rescue Rooms, where there were stalls offering free samples of whisky, charity head shaves, clothing and other merchandise, as well as a barbecue and a raffle (with a cuddly Chewbacca as one of the main prizes).

Then, it was back to the Black Cherry Lounge to conduct some interviews, which you will be able to see on this site shortly.

All of the bands I chatted with, including locals Skies In Motion and Beckon Lane, Lincoln outfit Borders, and one of the headliners, Hacktivist, who had recently supported Korn, were comprised of nice, down-to-earth guys. You could tell that they were there to raise money and awareness for a worthy cause, rather than using the festival as an opportunity to inflate their egos.

One of these were metalcore five-piece Our Hollow, Our Home, who were performing a stone’s throw away in the basement of Rock City, and their set will be looked back on by the people who were there to see them as one of the highlights of the day.

Our Hollow, Our Home band photo

The Southampton quintet certainly knew how to work the crowd, with heavy sounds that made you feel as if there was an earthquake going on, and the frontman actively encouraging the crowd to form a moshpit, which gradually grew from just a few die-hard fans at the front, to, by the set’s conclusion, pretty much the entire room, creating an electric atmosphere.

On my way to the Rescue Rooms to see one of the main draws, heavy rock five-piece The Treatment, I bumped into a devout fan of theirs who told me that this would be the 13th time he had seen them live.

Having not seen them play in the flesh once, I thought they must put on a great show if they’re good enough to have been seen that many times, and they certainly didn’t disappoint.

The Treatment gig photo 1

The Cambridge outfit are now at the stage where they can attract a devoted following wherever they play, and this was made clear with the almighty roar, more akin to that experienced at a football match, the crowd gave when they emerged onto stage.

They started playing at full throttle, and even towards the end of their hour-and-a-bit set, not one of the band members showed any signs of slowing down, performing with energy in abundance.

The Treatment gig photo 2

The quintet’s enthusiasm was matched by the audience, who were eagerly singing along, word for word, to the lyrics, even to the tracks from their most recent album ‘Generation Me’, as well as bobbing their heads to a sound that was a mix of classic rock, heavy metal and punk.

The Treatment gig photo 4

The Treatment really do know how to work a crowd, with frontman Mitch Emms issuing rallying cries in between an intense vocal delivery, and the guitarists, comprising of two brothers, treating them to some great riffery.

The Treatment gig photo 3

I would highly recommend seeing this band at your earliest opportunity, because in this age of Autotune, much choreography and where image is seen as more important than talent, it was refreshing to see something where real rock ‘n’ roll played by gifted musicians took centre stage.

Some have said in the recent past that rock is dead, but judging from what I saw across the stages, these people must have a defeatist attitude, because if you look beyond the mainstream and delve just a little into the underground, you will pleasantly find that it is actually in very rude health.

My review can’t end without me acknowledging everyone who selflessly gave up their free time and worked incredibly hard in order to make sure such a substantial event ran like clockwork, and that as much money and awareness as possible was raised for Macmillan Cancer Support, a great charity that helps people unfortunate enough to be diagnosed with a terrible illness that has devastated the lives of many people over the years.

YOU CAN MAKE A DONATION TO MACMILLAN CANCER SUPPORT AT www.macmillan.org.uk