"The best thing about Holding Absence is that I benefit mentally and personally by exorcising these emotions" - Lucas Woodland
Holding Absence have just released two songs, 'Gravity' and 'Birdcage', in the form of a double A-side, via SharpTone Records. Serving as their first release since their debut album 'Holding Absence' was dropped last March, the gorgeous tracks serve as a bridge between eras and also a hint at what to expect from the band as 2020 winds on.
We had a quick catch up with frontman Lucas Woodland to find out where the two songs originated and also look back on what a very special year for the band taught him as they move forwards.
So,where did these two new songs stem from?
Says Lucas Woodland: “After the album we thought that we would strike while the iron was hot. So we sat down with Dan Weller, who we wrote ‘Like A Shadow’ and ‘Monochrome’ with, and saw what we could come up with. We only went over to him for a couple of days in May, which was just a couple of months after the album came out, and we left with ‘Birdcage’. It was very quick.
"We’re quite open with the fact that we’re not just releasing these two songs and then resting and waiting. This new record that we’re working on is a long drawn out process. We’ve been constantly working towards it and we’re excited to get it out there. Saying that, a couple of months [after writing 'Gravity'] we went and spent a whole week with Dan for an actual album writing session. We wrote four songs in that week and ‘Gravity’ was one of them.”
You were very vocal about how ready you were to make Album Two straight after the release of ‘Holding Absence’, but a lot of that must come down to the fact that the first album was an incredibly long and strenuous process.
“I’ve got to be honest, Album One was so much more hassle than it needed to be. It was a three-year process, recorded in two stages and written by seven people. It honestly didn’t need to be as stressful as it was, but with ‘Birdcage’ being written in two days and just two months after the album came out it does say a lot about how easy it is to make something when you’ve got a vision that you trust.”
A year on from it’s release, what have you taken away from the 'Holding Absence' era? What has the last 12 months of it growing and thriving taught you?
"From the early days of our band, we’ve always done things so quick and don’t really have time to reflect. Honestly though, none of us had ever done an album before so it felt like something we just needed to do anyway. We now have that off our chests and feel like we have fulfilled that dream of actually having an album out there. But watching it grow has been the most special thing. It’s taught me that if you put a lot of effort into music, it can be super special regardless of what happens with it.
“The thing is that we’ve had five tours cancelled in 13 months, which is unheard of. We’ve had more tours cancelled than we’ve actually done, and that’s coming from Holding Absence as a band who would self-book 80 shows a year. That’s made us have to leave this album and let it grow on it’s own. Letting songs like ‘Wilt’ and ‘Marigold’ exist in their own space has helped them come out as some of the most special pieces of music we’ve ever made."
It lets that connection between you and your fans develop in a really unique and personal way. You can never predict how that's going to happen until it actually happens.
“For sure. When we did the Underworld in March last year I couldn’t believe that we were doing it. Then nine months later we headlined Scala. What blew my mind about that Scala show was that we played our whole discography from front to back. We did songs 1-17 in order and not one of them felt awkward. It’s incredible to think that people have let this band become that sort of thing to them.
“I always say this because it’s true, the best thing about Holding Absence is that I benefit mentally and personally by exorcising these emotions. Then knowing that there are people who are benefitting from hearing those things is super incredible. The fact that I’ve been able to write 17 songs in three years, even if nobody has heard them, that’s such a special situation to be in. I really explored myself as a musician and as a person and the thought of doing that again four or five times again over the next few years is amazing. I think everybody who is a creative is just trying to get as much out of them as they can. So to be at that Scala show and see so many people connected to us all because of the music and lyrics me and my friends have written in the last few years is the most incredible thing.”
Now that you have these two new songs out, how are you feeling about looking forward into the rest of 2020? How does it compare to how you felt at the beginning of last year?
“I feel a lot more certain now. I feel like the music we've written now is so much better and purer and richer than our debut. I feel like I really did come out and write some really special things for that album, but it felt like it was all about doing right by ourselves. Now we are doing right by the songs.
"Me and the boys had this moment a while ago where we were talking and we all teared up because for the first time we feel like we may have done something that’s bigger than us. It feels like something that could transcend our lifetimes. Just the thought of having the responsibility to take this product that me and three other people have worked on and made special and give it what it deserves is the most exciting thing ever to me.
“At the moment it's really hard because right now feels like the biggest and most expansive gap in our career. If the Creeper tour goes ahead in August, that will be nine months without a show. It’s weird because everything feels uncertain but I just hope that we can give whatever comes next exactly what it deserves.”
Holding Absence are set to support Creeper on their UK tour alongside Wargasm later this year:
19 - BIRMINGHAM O2 Institute
20 - BRIGHTON Concorde 2
21 - LONDON Brixton Electric
22 - MANCHESTER Academy 2
24 - GLASGOW St. Lukes
25 - LEEDS The Wardrobe