Music is what we make of it. The situation feels as if a mental and emotional world runs parallel to our physical one, and honest music is the key to opening it up — as the United Kingdom’s Holding Absence do on their debut, self-titled album, out March 8 on Sharptone Records. Their sonically very dynamic, intense music swings between very personal and even somewhat comprehensive meditations on romantic love and loss and observations of our overall human tendency towards complication.
“The big thing with ‘Holding Absence’ is that the music is believable and emotional,” bassist James Joseph explains. “There is no gimmick. Our songs were written during some of the best and worst times of our collective lives so far, hence the real mix of soft and heavy parts.”
Their sound can be difficult to pin down, easily flowing between resounding intensity and ethereal suspension in what feels like a dream. Joseph sums it up as “raw emotion and musical integrity,” adding: “We have always said that the day Holding Absence no longer evokes emotion is the day that we put it to bed. I’d like to think I’ll live and die as a member of this band, but who knows what can happen.”
For now, while we still get to hear new Holding Absence tunes, the band members play on a unique line between the personal and the collective at least in part, it seems, because of their own experiences in the music community. These guys have a real, deep, and vested interest in what they’re doing as a band. They’re not in it just for kicks — although it can surely be fun too.
“Holding Absence formed as a result of our old ‘teenage’ bands coming to an end. The local scene was starting to dip with the majority of friends focusing their time and efforts into more ‘sensible’ pursuits like ‘real jobs,'” Joseph laughs. “We were confident that we were the sort of last guys left in our small scene who were willing to really give music one last shot.”
While in their local scene, Joseph explains that most of the members were involved in more directly heavy music. These days, they’ve just expanded their take on heaviness, drawing the listener’s emotions into musical storms just as their physicality may be drawn in by something strictly “aggressive.”
They’ve accomplished this feat thanks to widening their perspectives. “We’re hardcore kids at heart and have come from a very DIY background but our musical tastes have developed over the years,” as Joseph puts it, adding: “We draw inspiration from almost any music we come across.”
He cites (the definitely not hardcore acts) Thrice, The 1975, and My Chemical Romance as inspirations for the presentation of their music, explaining their sonically broad utilization of the specifically full-length album format helped spark their own vision as they realized just how far they could go.
Through that whole process, the band always held on tight to their personal and emotional stake in their work, which jumps out via vocalist Lucas Fisher’s lyrics – the first full-album set he says he’s ever written.
Now that their work has reached the stage of listeners getting to jump in with them, Fisher exclaims: “We are immensely proud. We knew it would be hard to write, but this took so much more time, effort and emotion than we could’ve possibly imagined. I honestly think all the slight set-backs and hiccups really made for an authentic rollercoaster. Not only did we choose for the album to experiment with so much sound, genre and emotion, but due to the lengthy process of writing it, this record feels a very natural journey rather than a calculated one.”
“The album overall has a very specific theme and lyrical concept, but for me I think the main thread that ties this record together is the sincerity in every note, every drum hit and every word,” he adds. “We really wanted this album to pull at your heart strings and make the listener believe every second.”
Check out Holding Absence’s “Perish” and preorder their full-length from Sharptone here.