Holding Absence are the Welsh melodic-hardcore band that have taken the UK by storm. We caught up with guitarist Giorgio Cantarutti and drummer Ashley Green to talk Download, the Welsh music scene and life advice.
You’re at Download! Are you excited to be here?
Giorgio: Man it’s great.
Ash: It’s such a humbling thing to be here, it’s such a hub of alternative music and the alternative scene. It’s great being in this area and rubbing shoulders with the likes of Sleeping With Sirens and that, it’s such a dream come true as a band and as musicians.
Giorgio: All your favourite bands are in one place and it’s insane!
It is insane seeing loads of childhood favourite bands just wandering around.
Giorgio: Yeah like we’ve seen Sum 41, it’s a band you grew up listening to!
How was your set today?
Giorgio: I really, really enjoyed it! It was so good! We couldn’t have asked for more, it was unbelievable. We had loads of people singing along, the tent was packed, it was really good!
Ash: I wasn’t expecting much to be honest. I knew it was going to be sick, it’s Download.
With the backing you’ve received, we knew that there would be quite a lot going to check you out!
Ash: I think we’re very lucky because over the last 18 months we’ve done quite a lot of touring and we’ve had a lot of people like “we’re really excited to see you at Download!” It’s overwhelming and so good! I was sat there, looking out and could see people on the outside of the left and right sides of the tent and I was just like “there are people outside the tent watching” it’s such a great feeling.
I bet! Is there anybody you want to see over the weekend?
Giorgio: Definitely going to go and see Sum 41 and Good Charlotte 100%. We just watched Code Orange and that was sick! They were so good!
Ash: I’m gutted because I gotta leave but I really want to see Biffy Clyro tomorrow! They’re like one of the last bands on my ‘to watch’ list and I’m really gutted!
Giorgio: and Dillinger Escape Plan, I’ve never seen them live as well but they’ll be class!
You played a warm-up show the night before last in Swansea, how did that go?
Giorgio: Yeah in Sin City, it was really good. We played there a few months back and was really good then and seems to get better every time!
Ash: Yeah we did it on our very first tour, it was our last show of our August tour and it was really, really great then and being able to go back to that venue and it be ten times better and to have people to be as excited as us to be going to Download and it be our official warm-up shows was great fun! It was really nice to see so many people out, especially on a Wednesday, it’s one of those things that would be easy to go “it’s a Wednesday, it’s raining, it’s cold I can’t be bothered”
Giorgio: People were queuing up in the rain!
You recently supported We Are The Ocean on their last tour, how was that?
Giorgio: Well we thought it was their final tour.
Ash: They played a couple of shows after it.
They played Slam Dunk. So it was the last actual tour.
Giorgio: That’s fair.
Ash: It was great man! It was the first time we’d done bigger “stages” and it was the first time in a while we felt like a unit on stage cause we were kinda together instead of being like I’m in the back and everyone else is in the front. The shows themselves were great! We were playing to big crowds and to people we wouldn’t normally play infront of. The guys were amazing as well. They’re all really nice.
That’s awesome, you’ve just been announced as main support for Young Guns in September, are you looking forward to it?
Ash: yeah man, we’re playing with another band as well Beyond Recall. It’s such a great tour and again that’s venues that you see your favourite bands playing. I know we’re doing Birmingham Asylum, The Globe in Cardiff. I went to see Sleeps (While She Sleeps) there the other day and it’s a great venue! One of the bucket list venues in Cardiff to play. Being asked to play is really an honour. It’s going to be great! We’re really looking forward to it!
That’s going to be an awesome tour! At Download this weekend, you’re part of a mini Welsh take-over with Junior and Casey.
Giorgio: It’s so cool! Astroid Boys were here earlier today as well and Venom Prison are playing today.
So it’s more than a mini takeover really! The South Wales Music scene seems to be getting really strong now, why do you think that is?
Giorgio: Every sort of band in Wales is smashing it to be fair. We all kinda grew up in the same kinda scene and we’ve all not like grown out of the bands but like different people have come in. I feel like Casey and us are all from different bands originally.
Ash: I’m not actually from South Wales, as a true statement to how good the South Wales scene is, I moved to Cardiff to be in a band! That’s how good the Cardiff scene is! It’s great man, there’s so much talent! Some of my favourite bands even now are from the Cardiff scene, bands like Frown Upon, we played with a band called Dead Sea the other night who are absolutely phenomenal and then bands like Casey who we played with last year, they’re unreal man, they’re a big inspiration. Obviously Astroid Boys are doing arenas! It’s crazy! It’s so good and I’m ridiculously happy to be a part of that!
Giorgio: It’s so good to see everyone smashing it!
There’s a new Punk Goes Pop record coming out soon so if Holding Absence were going to cover a current pop song, what would it be?
Giorgio: I’d love to do Justin Bieber, I reckon we’d smash Justin Bieber. I reckon Lucas (Woodland, vocals) would be able to smash it! I reckon it would be really good!
Ash: I really like this song, I can’t think what it’s called but I think it’s a Drake song, not One Dance. I just love Drake, I’d do a Drake song!
Giorgio: Kendrick Lamar that would be sick!
Ash: That would be sick! Lucas spitting bars. So either Justin Bieber, Drake or Kendrick Lamar! One of those.
Fair, we always end with some random questions; if you had to pick one song that made you want to be a musician, what would it be?
Giorgio: Probably Trivium Pull Harder On The Strings Of Your Martyr (from 2005’s Ascendancy). It’s just sick! I remember growing up listening to it or anything from Eminem. I used to listen to loads of Eminem when I was young!
Fair! Who would you want to play you in a film about your life?
Ash: When I had short hair, I used to get compared to Jason Segel like all the time! But with long hair I get compared to the singer from Knocked Loose (Bryan Garris), but I don’t know how good an actor he is, I’ll have to ask him! I’ll just pop up on Twitter now and be like “oh mate, can you act? I’ve got a film in the works now and I need an actor!”
Giorgio: Chris Hemsworth I reckon.
Thor style Chris Hemsworth yes!
Ash: That’d be sick! I’d be ten times more handsome, I’d have an Australian accent as well! That’d be great! I’d love that!
I can see it. What was the first record you remember buying?
Giorgio: Eminem! I can’t remember the album, I think it was Curtain Call maybe. No it was before that, no it was, the red curtain! Yeah it was Curtain Call. I remember I had to trade with my older cousin because I had the explicit version and cause I was only a kid I wasn’t allowed it. I would play it in my room and my parents were going “oh god what have we done?” So yeah I traded with my older cousin but it was that! That was a great album!
It was! If someone asked you to give them a random piece of advice, what would it be?
Ash: Oh man… keep doing whatever you’re doing. Do it 110% If you wanna be a musician, if you wanna be a writer, if you wanna be an artist or if you wanna own a bar, anything, no matter what you wanna do. If you wanna interview bands at Download do it 125% and wake up every day like “how can I do this better? How can I be a better musician, artist, whatever you want to be.”
Giorgio: Luck comes from persistence.
Ash: Definitely and if it’s not for you, you’ll figure it out and find something new. Do what you do 110%, be as happy as you can every day doing it and do not vote conservative. I wasn’t going to go political.
Ash: This was a sick interview.
Thanks very much for talking to us!
Both: Thank you!