Music Spotlight: Holden Laurence
Indie-rock musician Holden Laurence released his sophomore album Rewire last week, following pre-released singles Shadows of Old Love, Speaking in Tongues, + Friendship and the Fever. We’re completely lost in his transcendent melodies, robust guitar riffs + intoxicating vocals, reminiscent of The War on Drugs. We’re particularly loving We’ll Always Have The Radio + Desire off the 10-track record. The Cleveland-based artist will be hosting an album release party this Friday, May 17th at Mahall's in Cleveland. We chatted with Holden all about the album + what’s next.
Asymmetric Magazine: Congrats on Rewire! Can you tell us all about the album and what it means to you?
Holden Laurence: Rewire is about the honest self-examination that occurs, or at least should occur, at the end of a relationship. Trying to figure out who you were, who you are, who you want to be, and how to move forward with your life. A big part of that journey is revisiting the foundational relationships that shape how we give and receive love, for better or worse, and gleaning wisdom from those experiences. This album is essentially a million of my personal Polaroids getting thrown into your face—snapshot after snapshot after snapshot.
AM: Is there a song on the record that you resonate with most?
HL: The title track Rewire feels pretty unique and singular both lyrically and sonically. I like the dissonance between the chill, soundscape vibe of the music and the intense, brutally honest lyrics. I feel totally exposed in this song, and I think that's a pretty good place to be as an artist.
I feel totally exposed, and I think that's a pretty good place to be as an artist.
AM: How does it compare to your first album Wild Empty Promises?
HL: From start to finish, it's a more cohesive, complete statement. I pushed myself to be more vulnerable and raw in the lyric writing and to go outside of my comfort zone with the textures and instrumentation in the arrangements. There's a choreographed balance between the slower, more contemplative songs and the uptempo, accessible bangers. I realize that most people cherry pick songs when they listen to music, but those who take the time to listen to the album in sequence in one sitting will be rewarded.
AM: Are there any consistent themes you typically pursue through your music?
HL: Almost all of my material is relationship based. Even when I tackle more universal issues like identity and finding meaning and purpose in life, it's still usually through the lens of love and loss.
AM: For first time listeners, how do you like to describe your sound?
HL: Morrissey meets the Midwest? My music blends the romanticism and sounds of 80s Alternative with more immediate Indie contemporaries. RIYL: The Smiths, The Cure, The War On Drugs, The Killers.
AM: Would you say that Cleveland plays a role in your sound or approach as an artist?
HL: Not necessarily the sound but definitely my work ethic and how I approach the craft of writing and recording. I try to bring that Rust Belt ethic to my work. It's just as much about discipline and commitment to getting better as it is the lofty, more esoteric artistic exploration.
AM: Where is one place that you feel completely in touch with your creative self and your music?
HL: In the studio. I love everything about the process of taking an idea and building it up, breaking it down, stretching it out, and rearranging the pieces and parts until it feels special.
AM: What other musicians are you currently listening to?
HL: I've been obsessed with Peter Gabriel for the last year or so, especially his third self-titled album (Melt) and So. Hellebores, Pt. I by Niights, another Cleveland-based alternative band, is absolutely incredible. In my opinion, some of the best music to come out of Northeast Ohio in recent years. Honorable mentions: Technique by New Order, Titanic Rising by Weyes Blood, and Organisation by OMD.
AM: What can we expect to hear from you next?
HL: I'm currently working on a few follow-up singles to Rewire. I'm making the switch for the time being to releasing either singles or short-form albums instead full-lengths, just to maintain a more consistent connection with my audience and avoid any long lulls between releases.
// listen to rewire:
// listen to more Holden Laurence on Spotify.