Download 2017: No. 36 - Holding Absence - 50 bands in 50 days

By Eric Mackinnon


Holding Absence

Download Festival

The Dogtooth Stage

Friday, June 9, 2017


It's no secret that playing a set at Donington Park, on stage at the Download Festival, to a sea of fans roaring their approval ranks at the top of the wishlist for almost every rock band here on Mother Earth.

Holding Absence are no different and as they prepare to scratch this anticipated bucket list itch frontman Lucas Woodland sat down at the New Rock Times HQ with Eric Mackinnon talk all things Download, the deeply personal meaning of some of their tracks, and what the future holds.

“Download was a festival we grew up going to, or at least wish we'd gone every year we didn't,” beams Lucas

“To be asked to play it as our first proper festival is a real accolade we're hugely proud of and honoured by. It's definitely one for the bucket list for us as individuals, and for Holding Absence as a band.”

It has been a whirlwind rise to Download for the Welsh rockers who remain in their maiden year together. The call to play Download on the same day as the likes of System of A Down and Five Finger Death Punch left the lads in their own words 'gobsmacked.'

“When we received the mail asking us to play we were all a little gobsmacked,” admitted Lucas.

“The past year has been a whirlwind, and exceeded all expectations, but to get personally asked to play Download off the back of two songs really is fairy tale stuff. We are both elated and honoured.”

He continued: “We have nothing too wild planned as we've been keeping immensely busy over the last year of being a band. We've played a crazy amount of shows up and down the UK...

“So as great as it'd be to go overboard for this set, we think it's important to still treat it the same way we do every other gig we play. Hopefully that's enough.”

Holding Absence are determined not to take their foot off the gas and deaccelarate their rapid momentum and they admit they might not even have the chance to see too many other bands despite their own set being second in line on the Dogtooth Stage.

“We've been SO busy these past nine months. Every day not spent on the road, writing music, packing merch, filming videos or recording has just been about working super hard at our day jobs to scrape rent,” said Lucas.

“Download'll be the first weekend since we released 'Permanent' where we can really just sit back and soak everything up. You bet we'll be watching as many bands as we can! On that list will obviously be SOAD and Biffy, as well as bands like ETID and Code Orange... But a huge thing we're excited for this year is that we've got loads of mates playing too - Junior, Casey, Astroid Boiz, Venom Prison, Blood Youth, Greywind, Grove Street Families and Dead! to name but a few. So that'll be really great to witness and be a part of.”

As Lucas touches on the track 'Permanent' which has struck a chord with so many who have taken the time to listen to it. The subject matter in the track is deeply personal to Lucas and is on a subject which affects so many of us.

“Permanent is very much an emotional plea to a suicidal friend,” he said.

“It poses the thought process that suicide is permanent, whereas misery is very much temporary. It's not perfectly autobiographical, but I've sadly had to watch a lot of my good friends battle with mental illness over time and this is just an amalgamation of the things I'd said, or the general thought process I'd had at that period of time.”

Where will Holding Absence be in the coming years? Hopefully back at Download adds Lucas happily.

“Over the next five years we'd have hopefully released an album or two and would absolutely love to move up to the main stages at festivals, but until then, the Dog Tooth stage is a great place to start!”