HOLDING OUT (from l-r): Jason Toward (guitar/vocals), Tomm Money (bass/vocals), Ellis Paul (vocals/guitar), Ryan Hubbard (former drummer)
INTERVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN
PHOTO by NICO DRYSDALE
Since forming in 2016, Holding Out, from Newcastle-upon-Tyne, have evolved from being an melodic acoustic act to an outfit armed with a sound that mixes in different elements from the genres of alternative rock and punk, allowing for music that is much darker and heavier, but retaining some melody.
With this, the band are currently garnering a devoted following in their home city, having played several sold-out headline gigs, as well as supporting the likes of Tiny Moving Parts and Muncie Girls.
Despite drummer Ryan Hubbard recently deciding to depart, the three who remain are still determined to keep Holding Out going, having earlier this month unveiled their debut EP, ‘FED.UP’, and I spoke to frontman Ellis Paul about all this, and more.
How did the band get together?
Our former drummer and I used to jam together in my garage, and we wrote what would become Holding Out’s first songs. We met Jason through Facebook, and went through several bassists before we met Tomm.
How did the name Holding Out come about?
Me and my friends used to get drunk and watch the Shrek movies together, and I think the name stemmed from the ending scene of Shrek 2.
You started out as an acoustic act. What made you switch to the alternative rock/punk sound you have now?
Having more members join us. Once more people jumped on board, we became something a bit heavier and more well-rounded, although, we may be temporarily revisiting our old style, due to the recent departure of a key band member.
What would you say was your approach to songwriting?
I write lyrics in my own time, away from the band. Lyric writing is a personal experience for me, and I can’t do it in a group environment. The music is mainly written through jam sessions, or by me and Tomm experimenting with weird sounds together.
What inspires the band lyrically?
Lyrically, my focus is things that affect me in day-to-day life, mental health, relationships, etc. My lyrics often delve into more political and social issues, depending on what I’m writing about.
Recently, you unveiled your debut EP, ‘FED.UP’. How was the recording process for that?
Writing was as standard. We’d hang out in my garage and just jam until we’d come up with something we felt was impactful enough to record. We then hung out in a back room of a church with our buddy Joe, who recorded and produced it all.
The recording process is always a laid-back experience for us.
And for those who have yet to listen to the EP, what can they expect from it?
Surprises. There’s a huge variety of styles and influences we’ve thrown into the mix, which I really think people will love. We’ve experimented hugely, and I think that’s really benefited our sound.
The band have played several sold-out headline shows in their home city, and have also supported the likes of Tiny Moving Parts and Muncie Girls. How were they as experiences?
Our headline shows are always a party, and there’s always a really strong sense of community, which I believe music is all about. People sing our songs with us, members of different support acts get up and sing each other’s songs together, it’s just really wholesome.
Supporting Tiny Moving Parts was awesome. They were the biggest band we’ve ever had the pleasure of sharing a stage with, and they’re such down-to-earth, welcoming guys.
And how is it overall, for you all, performing live?
Performing always feels like an out-of-body experience for myself. I have this energy and carelessness, which I lack in day-to-day life. It’s a therapeutic experience where I can really let off steam and not care about how I look, as everyone is there to just enjoy the music.
I can’t speak for the other guys, but I would think, for them, it’s probably something less pretentious.
Now the EP has been released, what are your plans now?
Well, recently, our drummer, and one of our founding members, has parted ways with us, which has put our plans on hold a bit. However, we’re trying to get back on our feet by planning some special acoustic shows, and really venturing into new styles with our music.
And finally, what is your long-term aim?
There really isn’t one, as we’re just here to make music, and to make friends. We don’t care about making a certain amount of money, or playing to a certain amount of people, as we’re here to do what we love, and to pour our passion into creating something beautiful that we can all be proud of.
‘FED.UP’, THE DEBUT EP FROM HOLDING OUT, IS AVAILABLE NOW.
FURTHER INFO ON THE BAND CAN BE FOUND THROUGH THE FOLLOWING SITES: