Holding Absence and Loathe just released a split EP "This Is As One" last Friday on the 16th febuary through SharpTone Records/Nuclear Blast, we asked a few questions to Lucas Woodland from Holding Absence and Erik Bickerstaffe from Loathe.
Hello. First of I would like to congratulate you on your new album. Could you start out by introducing yourself and tell us what part in the band you have?
Lucas Woodland (Holding Absence): Hello! My name is Lucas, and I sing for Holding Absence.
Erik Bickerstaffe (Loathe): Thanks very much! My name is Erik, I sing and play guitar in Loathe.
Why did you choose this title for the record?
Lucas (H.A.): We wanted This Is As One to be a perfect collab between ourselves and Loathe. By combining both our slogans, “This Is Holding Absence, & Loathe As One” and then removing our band titles, it left us with something both ambiguous but meaningful. Much like the artwork, This Is As One could mean a number of things on first glance.
Erik (Loathe): As far as I'm aware at first the release was intended to be untitled, having the focus mainly on our band names. We just thought that considering both bands have their own mantras, it would be beneficial to include them in some way so we put them together to create 'This Is As One'.
When did you start working on this album, how long did the process take from the first step to the final product? Was it hard to write new material for this record or did it come naturally for you?
Lucas (H.A.): We started work on the EP about 5 or 6 months ago. It’s no secret that Holding Absence are working towards a debut album also, so writing this release was quite unusual for us, as we had to snap out of the “Album” mindset we found ourselves in, and write 2 stand alone songs. In hindsight, we couldn’t be happier with the end products - Saint Cecilia and Everything are two songs we’re proud of, and also two songs we know wouldn’t fit on the Holding Absence debut record.
Erik (Loathe): We really enjoyed the creative process behind this record, we got to experiment with our sound more which is always what we get excited to do when it comes to working on new material for future releases. We started, I guess a few weeks before we entered the studio with writing the basis of the tunes but really filling them out once we got to the studio.
Where did you record the album, and who produced it? How did the cooperation go between the bands and the producer?
Lucas (H.A.): We recorded the split in two separate sittings with our producer George Lever. Loathe went in during September (sadly we were touring with Young Guns at the time), and we recorded our songs in November. The release is a testament to how good our producer George is. He managed to take two completely different bands with completely different styles, recording in different sessions and have them somehow sit comfortably next to each other on the release. He is a huge factor in the completion of This Is As One.
Erik (Loathe): We tracked everything besides vocals at Middle Farm Studios which is a beautiful studio located around South Devon and worked with our friend George Lever. Working with George is great, our shared focus on every little detail hidden with the music is something everyone in the band enjoys. We worked hard alongside him to create a sound we've wanted to hear from our band for a while and we love the result.
Are you trying to express something through your music?
Lucas (H.A.): Holding Absence and Loathe are ALWAYS trying to express something through music - It’s why we chose to work together. As well as the underlying messages in the music, both bands definitely tried to showcase themselves here. Loathe showing a transition from their debut album, “The Cold Sun”, and Holding Absence laying all remaining cards on the table prior to the album release.
Erik (Loathe): As textbook as it sounds, through Loathe we are just trying to express ourselves, our influences and what would pretty much be the music we want to hear. Keeping it close to what we are naturally has been something we have recently rediscovered which is helping out a lot.
Who did the artwork and what is the idea behind it?
Lucas (H.A.): Dan Owen from Nemesis design did the artwork. As stated earlier, we wanted something very ambiguous that said everything and nothing.
Erik (Loathe): Daniel worked on the artwork for the entire 'This Is As One' release and killed it. Considering we are a very hands on band with any of our visuals or anything aesthetic related I'm glad it turned out the way it did. I think the artwork represents a statement of allowing the power of music do the talking, with how minimal the artwork is it and also the fact there are no names on the cover, it really highlights what both bands are about.
How would you compare the material on this release to your previous material?
Lucas (H.A.): Like I said earlier, we see Cecilia & Everything as the two parts of our band we were yet to show people. Between Penance, Permanent, Dream Of Me, Heaven Knows and these two, we believe we’ve set up quite a strong parameter to show people what our band is capable of in its earliest form.
Erik (Loathe): It's still Loathe, everything we release will always be Loathe. So that's something everyone can be sure of. We are just growing up with our tastes and influences changing constantly as we grow together as a unit, and each release is the band releasing what we are at that very moment. So this is Loathe at the moment.
What kind of stuff did you grow up listening to, and what kind new music do you listen to these days?
Lucas (H.A.): I grew up listening to lots of music - everything from Maroon 5 to Gallows. We all have very eclectic music tastes spanning from The 1975 to Meshuggah. Personally, these days all I listen to is Radiohead, The Cure and Brockhampton.
Erik (Loathe): I got into metal and heavier rock pretty early, starting with stuff on Guitar Hero 3 which would eventually lead to more "core" related artists and all that sorta stuff. But nowadays, I listen to anything that is good, a broad statement but I appreciate any musical effort and I can listen to most music and enjoy it like I would if it was a specific genre I liked.
Have any of these bands been source of inspiration for the album?
Lucas (H.A.): To be honest, we tried very hard to not let our references for Cecilia and Everything be known. I’m yet to see any real “comparisons” in the comments to the videos etc.
Erik (Loathe): Not really, we take influence from a pretty specific set of artists primarily but like I said previously. With our tastes changing, influences can come and go.
In your time as musicians, what is your biggest musical achievement so far and what has been your biggest experience through the years?
Lucas (H.A.): I’d say signing to Sharptone was a really big life goal for all members of our band. We never imagine ourselves to be signed to a label - It’s a real honour. Playing Download festival last year is up there for us all, too.
Erik (Loathe): The highlight of my musical career so far would have been flying out to California as a band for the very first time. It was an extremely monumental time in my life as it was the birthing of what I've always wanted. Meeting our management, meeting our label and then to top it all of we performed at Slipknot's Knotfest Festival for our US debut show. It was mad, still is mad to think about.
What would be the ultimate tour, festival or show for you to play at?
Lucas (H.A.): Personally, I’d love to tour with Thrice, Deftones, Counterparts and in a dream world, Fugazi. I think for our bands’ sake, a tour with 30 Seconds To Marsor a My Chemical Romance reunion tour would be perfect for us.
Erik (Loathe): There are so many of those, but if right now I have to pick I would say performing alongside Meshuggah would be a great achievement.
That’s all we’ve get this time, do you have anything that you'd like to add or say?
Lucas (H.A.): Thanks to all reading, and those who’ve listened to our band too. We’re eternally grateful.
Erik (Loathe): Thanks for having me, it was a pleasure answering your questions. And to everyone reading who supports Loathe and what we do, thank you for everything you have provided us with so far. It means the world to us, peace.
We would like to say thanks a lot for your time. And we wish all you guys all the luck in the future whatever it might bring.