Home > News & Reviews > Holding Absence

'It's A Shame Collaboration Isn't Embraced in Rock': Holding Absence on 'The Lost & the Longing'

Tuesday, 23 August 2022 Written by Matt Mills

It’s amazing that Lucas Woodland isn’t a dick. Since they formed in 2015, the singer’s band, Holding Absence, have been among the British rock scene’s most beloved youngsters. They signed to an international label off the back of one song. And, in barely seven years, they’ve made two albums and two EPs while sharing stages with everybody from Funeral For A Friend to Metallica.

Furthermore, Lucas is only 27 years old and, with his fluffed-up brown hair and flawless features, a level of good-looking usually reserved for models. He should be a dick. But he’s actually soft-spoken and humble. It’s almost annoying.

“Looking back, our earliest songs weren’t just our earliest songs—they were our earliest songs and a hundred self-booked shows,” he reflects, trying to rationalise his level-headedness. “Playing to nobody made our music mean more than it otherwise would have. We were touring off of one song at one point. We started with so little but tried to make so much of it. I’m still grateful for the one guy who turned up to the Norwich show in 2017, the same way that I’m grateful for the million people that watched us open for Metallica the other week.”

It’s been four years since the last time Lucas and this writer had a sit-down chat. It was at a grotty bar in Bournemouth, where Holding Absence were about to co-headline with Loathe: another British group who have ascended with the momentum of an astronaut with a rocket up their arse. Today, such a bill would pack out a 1,500-capacity club, at least. There were maybe 100 people there that night. That’s how quickly Holding Absence have climbed the food chain.

At the time, the band had just one EP and six songs to their name, but they were already being talked about. Their very first track, Permanent, got them onto the roster of SharpTone Records. Then they released Dream of Me, Penance, Heaven Knows, Saint Cecilia and Everything, anthems that ranged from grooving metal to soothing piano ballads, yet all shimmering with pop choruses and Lucas’s wailing voice. Meanwhile, live, they were playing with the likes of Shields and Blood Youth. Intentionally or not, they placed themselves at the most melodic end of Britain’s burgeoning metalcore scene: a tactic that quickly spelled success.

“I have the biggest soft spot for the genre,” says Lucas. “If you took the breakdowns and riffs out of an Architects song, it would probably sound quite Holding Absence-y. But there’s a metalcore subreddit that’s really active, and I love keeping my eye on it. Once or twice, we’ve been posted and then swiftly removed, or not deemed ‘metalcore’ enough. There were about 100 comments, saying, ‘Holding Absence aren’t metalcore, but the metalcore scene does love and enjoy them anyway.’”

Four years after they and Loathe released a split EP called ‘This Is as One’, Holding Absence are returning to the medium. This time, they’re teaming up with Aussie metalcore brutes Alpha Wolf for ‘The Lost & the Longing’. Such a crossover has become something of a lost art, yet it’s obviously something Holding Absence have a predilection towards.

“I don’t understand what it is about the format that doesn’t appeal to everyone,” Lucas says. “It does everything that, as an artist, you’d want. In this day and age, you get told to release music often. Look at Kanye West: he released a song called Monster featuring Nicki Minaj and Jay Z. imagine a rock version of that: Twenty One Pilots with The 1975 and James Hetfield or whatever. It would be mind-blowing! It’s such a shame to me that collaboration isn’t embraced more [in rock music].”

As a result, ‘The Lost & the Longing’ also goes beyond simply putting two songs from two bands on an EP. The two bands worked together on two of the tracks, 60cm of Steel and Aching Longing. The former, which is attributed to Alpha Wolf with Holding Absence as the featured artist, is an industrial metalcore belter with squealing guitar licks. However, Lucas rocks up during the chorus to counterbalance the roars of Alpha Wolf singer ​​Lochie Keogh. Meanwhile, on Aching Longing, Holding Absence’s heavy emo gets a snarling bridge courtesy of their co-conspirators.

Lucas reveals: “We did speak about doing the same thing with Loathe. There was a time where we spoke to them about going into the studio together, but it never actually got action in any way. The timing wasn’t right, or it wasn’t the right song, et cetera, et cetera. With Alpha Wolf, it’s like: ‘Why on earth wouldn’t we?’ Why wouldn’t we add a little feature to immerse ourselves in the collaborative experience a bit more?”

For Holding Absence, in an era where rising bands need to keep releasing music to accrue momentum, ‘The Lost & the Longing’ is a stopgap between last year’s ‘The Greatest Mistake of My Life’ and their impending third album.

“I’m excited to do the next album,” Lucas says. Although he avoids specific details, he implies that the next LP will mark a reinvention for its creators. “I never want to go completely off the rails but, from the debut album to ‘Greatest Mistake…’, our imagery went from black and white to colour and we went more alt-rock. You never want people to get bored, or feel like something’s too predictable. How can you do something new and something old at the same time?”

In fact, Lucas just doesn’t want to let his feet touch the ground at all. “I know that there’s a big chomping machine chasing me and I can run fast,” he laughs. “I’m a working-class kid who grew up in South Wales. Every Christmas I’d save my Christmas money and I’d pay to record music, and I’m at a point now where I’ve been able to record three albums about my emotions. I’ve created art and travelled the world, and I’m really enjoying life.”

‘The Lost & the Longing’ is out now via SharpTone Records.


We don't run any advertising! Our editorial content is solely funded by lovely people like yourself using Stereoboard's listings when buying tickets for live events. To keep supporting us, next time you're looking for concert, festival, sport or theatre tickets, please search for "Stereoboard". It costs you nothing, you may find a better price than the usual outlets, and save yourself from waiting in an endless queue on Friday mornings as we list ALL available sellers!

Let Us Know Your Thoughts

Related News

Fri 19 May 2023
Holding Absence Announce Third Album 'The Noble Art Of Self Destruction' With New Single False Dawn
Thu 04 Aug 2022
Holding Absence Share New Single Coffin
< Prev   Next >