Interview with Holding Absence, 2000Trees 2023

Interview with Jasmine Marceau.

“We don’t want to reach that point where people get tired of us, or tickets being too expensive, or people not being able to get tickets to shows, we want to make sure there’s a variety.” Scott Carey

We chatted with guitarist of Holding Absence, Scott Carey, on the last day of 2000Trees.

You played on the first day of Trees on the Forest Stage, how was it warming up the festival?

Scott: It was amazing, yeah we love this festival. We played last year but we only found out a week before because No Devotion pulled out, and we just got asked if we wanted to fill in. We’re only an hour away, so we thought ‘yeah why not?’. We love this festival, and we’ve played every single stage apart from the Main Stage, until today – so we fill that prophecy today! But it was really nice to go back to the Forest Stage, we did that in 2019, and that was really special for us and to do a full band set there. Ticking all the boxes!

How do you feel about playing Main Stage today?

Scott: Excited! I think when we got the offer it was a little bit daunting, and we questioned if we were ready. But since then we did Main Stage at SlamDunk earlier this year, and we’ve done a few other bigger festival stages, so I feel we’re a little more suited to that vibe now.

Do you feel more suited to larger stages now you’ve played a few?

Scott: It’s a weird one, because it’s just completely different. I don’t think it’s possible to prefer it, although it’s so cool to look behind us and see the backdrop with our name on it, and see a huge crowd in front of us, you do lose a little bit of that connection being so far away from people. We all have our in-ears in, so you’re kind of numb to the world. Whereas when you do play a show that’s a little closer to people, you get that energy and you get that vibe so they’re just two completely different worlds. Both are great for different reasons.

As a polar opposite, you had a tour earlier in the year of intimate venues – one down my way in Ramsgate!

Scott: We did! That one was really special actually, because we turned up, and even though it was smaller venues for us, we still had a lighting package with us and we had all our crew with us. When we got to that venue, that was the first one where we were like ‘oh how are we physically going to make this show happen’. But that ended up being one of the craziest ones, and a memory we’ll all hold dear.

How come you decided to do the intimate run?

Scott: I just think it’s so easy as a band to be part of the whole system where you release an album, play bigger shows, release another album and play bigger shows again, you keep pushing and pushing. We love the duality of being able to do a tour like we’re doing at the end of this year where we’re playing our biggest shows ever, then also being able to go back and play those venues we were playing when we were really pushing to be a professional band. And to give our fans the opportunity to have both of those experiences as well, when we play smaller venues we like to play older songs that hopefully people that go to those shows resonate with. We don’t want to be that band that’s just trying to get further and further away from fans and from our roots. We want to really remember both sides of it. We don’t want to reach that point where people get tired of us, or tickets being too expensive, or people not being able to get tickets to shows, we want to make sure there’s a variety.

Do you have any pre-show rituals before you hit the stage?

Scott: We’re a really weird band, in that we don’t. Loads of bands that we tour with all get in a huddle, or say a chant, or have some beers or whatever. We just really enjoy being a band and really enjoy what we do, so we’re all very much in the headspace of just getting together and getting ready to go on. There’s not a specific ritual. Some people may look at that and think it’s boring, but we’re all just such good friends and we love what we do, it’s very much a ‘Let’s go and do it!’, rather than having to pump ourselves up.

Do you have any tour must-haves, or home comforts you need?

Scott: I used to have a Nintendo Switch that I’d bring, but for a long time I was one of people that would organise everything. So I’d tour manage a little bit and make sure everything was running smoothly, so I found I didn’t have that much down time. The past few tours I’d just bring my laptop, that’s a good mix. I can play some games, watch some TV, watch a movie… that’s my home comfort really. All the other guys would take their Switches, because even though it’s intense, there is a lot of sitting around and waiting. So it’s important to be able to keep your mind busy and not miss home too much.

Your third album comes out really soon, August 25th, do we get to hear some new tracks in your set?

Scott: Yes, we’ve put three songs out so far, and unfortunately, we wanted to play Honeymoon, but we don’t have the technical ability to play it today. We needed some files from our producer we didn’t get in time. But towards the end of the year we’ll definitely be pulling out all the newer songs.

Technically this is the last show of The Greatest Mistake Of My Life cycle, so we’ve brought back a few songs from that album to give it a bit of a send off because chances are we won’t be playing many of those songs anymore because we’ve got 10 new songs we need to fit in to our set now.

Holding Absence’s concepts and vision for artwork is really strong.

Scott: That’s usually Lucas’ realm. He writes all the lyrics, and it’s all very personal to him, typically he’d write an album worth of lyrics and then we’d come up with the overarching theme of what links these songs together. Then he’d work with Beth, our photographer, they both come together and figure out this beautiful imagery, there’s always a lot of thought put into it which is really great. I think we definitely like to buck the trend of getting a graphic designer to design some swirls, or an AI generated thing. We really want to make sure that the artwork is a physical thing you can hold and appreciate, and really encapsulates what we want you to feel while listening to this record while also looking at it.

Where do you see Holding Absence in three years time?

Scott: In theory, by then there’ll be another record out, as these cycles go every two or three years. The absolute dream, we’d obviously love to be playing arenas, headlining festivals. I think we’re all very realistic, we’re not one of those bands that have blown up really quickly, I feel that we’ve worked really hard to get where we are, we love working hard and we love keeping as busy as we can to try and keep the momentum going. So I think as long as we’re all trying to keep this as a full-time job, and be able to see progression, maybe playing Brixton Academy size venues, that would be the realistic Scott answer, but we obviously want to headline Wembley Stadium.

Holding Absence go on tour later in the year, tickets are available now.

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