Cardiff’s own Holding Absence are one of the UK’s most hotly tipped new bands right now. Since forming in 2016, they’ve signed to SharpTone Records, put in an appearance at last year’s Download Festival, and have now wangled themselves a coveted spot on the Rock Sound Breakout stage at Slam Dunk Festival.
We hung out with frontman Lucas Woodland at the South date of the festival in Hatfield Park to see how it’s all going, and to find out what’s happening with their long awaited full-length debut album.
DP!: So Lucas, how’s your Slam Dunk going so far?
L: Really, really good! It’s day two, so we’ve kind of settled into the rhythm of everything now. It’s been so sick. I’ve been as a punter once or twice, but it’s so different. It’s way more hectic! The crowds have been sick. It’s so hot here, though. Yesterday in Leeds, we played indoors. The weather was really good, but today it’s a bit too good, haha.
DP!: You guys are from Wales, and it has to be said there’s a lot of talent coming out of Wales right now.
L: Yeah! Someone made a joke about it the other day, that back in the day there was Funeral For A Friend, Bullet From My Valentine, Kids In Glass Houses, The Blackout, and they made a joke that we’re like the second wave of that surge; bands like Casey, Dream State, Astroid Boys. There’s a massive wave of talent. In fact, I’m all about the other bands. There’s so many incredible bands coming out.
DP!: So, earlier this year you put out a collab EP with Loathe. How did that come about?
L: Loathe are just a very good upcoming band, and they’re really great people, and we really respect them as musicians. We were both at a stage in our careers where we could have benefited from releasing music, but also we wanted to do something a little different. So, it just made sense as we’re both on the same label.
DP!: Do you have a favourite song on that EP?
L: It’s weird, because ‘Everything’ was the first song we ever wrote, and ‘Saint Cecilia’ was the most written song we’d written. So, with ‘Saint Cecilia’ it was really fresh, you know like when you have a newborn child, it was our baby. But then when ‘Everything’ was finally brought to life in the studio, it was like remembering an old friend, so we love both those songs, really. People ask us to choose a favourite song quite a lot, and it’s like asking to choose between your children. But, we’ve got six singles, whereas some bands only do three singles per album – we’ve got six and haven’t even started on the album. It’s tough to pick, some are better live, others are more personal.
DP!: What’s been your favourite moment in Holding Absence so far?
L: That’s a tough one. It’s been such a whirlwind the last few years. There was signing to SharpTone Records, but that was like a really drawn out process. You find out there’s interest, then you find out there’s an offer, then you revise the offer, and then you sign. It’s less of a bang, I guess, but that was a life affirming moment for all of us, because I never thought I’d sign to a label. Download Festival was amazing too, we’d released two songs, but we go up there with a set of five or six songs, and the crowd are going mad for the two that they know. That was a real turning point as well. I think we’ll look back at Slam Dunk as being a really big one for us as well.
DP!: So, how did signing with SharpTone Records come about?
L: It honestly was a miracle. The way that we look at it, I joined the band to do a tour, and then we said, “Let’s just do everything we can to write a good song and get it out there.” We’ve always been of that mentality of just pushing as much as we can, and do as much as we can, and never spend a day idle. So, we released ‘Permanent’ straight off the bat. I hadn’t even practised in a room with the boys when it came time to film the video. Then SharpTone got in touch with us and said “We really like the song, and we really feel like we understand the band and the vision and the message and the idea. We just need more.” Then we released ‘Dream Of Me’, which is arguably our biggest song, and I think it just felt right to sign with them. What we consciously chose to do was to pick ‘Permanent’ which was lively and heavy, a song like ‘Dream Of Me’ which was a bit slower, so that we could say “Here is A, and here is Z”.
DP!: Who are you wanting to catch this weekend on the Slam Dunk line-up?
L: I’ve had to come to grips with the fact that I can’t watch everyone. There are so many bands. Some of my friends are playing, Loathe of course, Stand Atlantic, Milestones. I think Creeper are a band we really look up to, Counterparts are one of my favourite bands and brilliant live. Every Time I Die are a band I admire hugely, and they’ve been making unapologetic music for like twenty years now.
DP!: So, what’s next for you guys?
L: At the moment we’re just working on the album. I think we’re way closer to completion than people realise because we’ve been very quiet about it. We’re about to do a tour with Being As An Ocean in Europe for a month too, so that’ll be sick. Then we’ll come home, do a couple of smaller festivals this summer, and work more on the album. At the end of the year, we’re gonna be touring with As It Is, Trash Boat, and Courage My Love in Europe and the UK tour, so it’s going to be a really good year.
The band’s split EP with Loathe, titled ‘This Is As One’, is out now through SharpTone Records.