A Chat with Holding Poison (6.10.21)

Influenced by the likes of Biffy Clyro, Queens of the Stone Age, Nirvana and Foo Fighters, UK-based Holding Poison has a strong rock sound with a unique flair of their own. Formed during the 2020 Covid lockdown, the duo are relatively new but are not sitting on their laurels. Making a splash in the UK music industry, the group has received critical acclaim from BBC Introducing, Metal Anarchy, A&R Factory and many online radio stations. We speak with Matt Blackwell (vocals and guitar) and Jack Findell (lead guitar) about their live album The Warehouse Sessions, superpowers and much more.

OSR: What inspired the formation of Holding Poison and how did you decide on your band name?

Blackwell: The band came about through lockdown, the idea being to utilise the time and work on a project together which we had spoken about for five years. The name was the hardest part and we had already recorded our debut EP by a thread, so it was the last piece of the puzzle. After going through around 30 names and searching to see if they had been used or not, we came across Holding Poison and the rest is history.

OSR: We’re chatting about your live album The Warehouse Sessions today. Why did you choose to record a live album instead of a radio edit (for lack of a better definition) album?

Blackwell: So, the live album came off the back of our live session. The initial idea was to rent a space somewhere and shoot a live gig (which can be found on our YouTube page). It wasn’t until after we finished it and watched the final videos that Joe (the drummer) said, “you should release this as a live album too” so that’s what we have done.

OSR: What challenges did you face during the recording and production process?

Blackwell: The main issue we faced was probably the cold. Due to us filming in April and needing it to be dark enough to get the best lighting we had to wait until it was dark. So, imagine a big warehouse in -2 conditions, it was just very challenging mentally; trying to get our fingers to work still was also a problem, I’m surprised they didn’t fall off! That being said, it was 100% worth it though.

OSR: What is your favourite track from The Warehouse Sessions?

Blackwell: I think my favourite is the live version of ‘Curbside’ – the chorus, riffs and adapted ending just enhances the song even more.

Findell: ‘Curbside’ is a big favourite from the live album. It was also a lot of fun working on the covers.

OSR: You included a couple of covers on the album, ‘Low’ by Food Fighters and ‘Love Song For No One’ by John Mayer. How did you decide on the songs?

Blackwell: Being fans of both John Mayer and Foo Fighters was obviously one reason for our choice. The thinking behind these two tracks was that they are very different to our style but at the same time, they felt like they’d bridge the gap between our sound and allow us to show what we can do in terms of a softer/heavy side.

OSR: Do you think musicians can pursue a career playing covers exclusively or is original material important?

Blackwell: From someone who also plays in a function band (covers band), it’s not for everyone, however, my view is now (as I get older) unless you start filling venues with original music the money is in the function band side. The other benefit being you end up playing songs you may never have gone near. So, from a writing perspective, it definitely helps open up the mind and allows you to come at it with a fresh perspective.

Findell: For sure, I know a lot of people who make a full-time living playing in function bands. It does depend on your outlook on it though. Personally, I have a lot more fun writing and playing originals.

OSR: Pizza or burgers?

Blackwell: Burgers.

Findell: Both? Although I’m still not sold on those cheeseburger pizzas.

OSR: If you could have a superpower, what would it be and why?

Blackwell: The ability to fly would be good. Get to places quicker and not have to deal with traffic.

Findell: Time travel. I’m perpetually late to everything.

OSR: Do you believe the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdowns have affected the music industry in the long run?

Blackwell: It’s tough to say as we all know it’s had a major effect on people within the entertainment industry in terms of income. At the moment, people are in a phase of having missed live music/shows and I feel there is more of a push towards getting out and seeing them as much as possible. Hopefully, it continues but only time will tell.

OSR: What can we expect from Holding Poison in the future?

Blackwell: We’ve been working on a new single which we will be releasing soon. It’s a different vibe to what the EP was but you can tell it’s us. We are also going to start hamming out a few tracks for a second EP; see how they sound in a room and get a feel for them.

OSR: Do you have a message for our readers?

Blackwell: If they haven’t heard us before be sure to check out our social media pages where they can find links to our merch, live videos and all our music.

Thanks to Holding Poison for speaking with us. For more from Holding Poison check out their Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Spotify.

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