Rising singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Lots Holloway stopped to speak to us about her debut single World’s On Fire.
Lots took to Bryan Ferry’s personal studio with producer Mike Hedges (The Cure, Manic Street Preachers, U2) to record the single and its B-side Is Anything Real Anymore?
With powerful vocals atop great production, and a message that will likely be relevant for the foreseeable future, World’s On Fire needs sticking in your playlist now.
You wrote World’s On Fire almost a year ago now, in response to all the craziness going on in 2016. How do you feel about the world today in comparison?
In an interview the other day I likened the situation to 2016 being like a bad nightmare and 2017 being the waking up, where although you have woken up, you can still feel the bad dream lingering all over you and know that it has every potential to turn into a reoccurring one. There are still terrible things going on right now, but perhaps people are becoming a little desensitised.
What message do you want people to take away from the song?
I’d like people to ruminate over the togetherness of the chorus lyric. In amongst all the chaos in the verses, the chorus lyric ’the world’s on fire, I think we’re in trouble’ brings everyone into the same perspective – hatred, prejudice and division, do a very good job of causing issues within our world, but if the world is on fire, we will all burn, regardless of gender, race, religion, sexuality, ideals and beliefs – we are all in trouble.
Going forward, will social/political commentary continue to be a feature of your song writing, or was 2016 just such a hectic year it was hard to avoid writing about it?
I write about a lot of different things, life, love, lust, dreams, time – I write about anything that consumes me. Last year I was very consumed by the topical events, so for me it was hard not to be compelled to write about the political and social situations. Going forward though, there will be a great mixture of themes from my palette, so hopefully it will be more like a lucky dip.
Can you tell us a little about the B-Side, Is Anything Real Anymore? Was that sense of disbelief also a reaction to the events of 2016 or something else?
I’d say it was more a sense of disbelief towards society over the past few years; it just seemed to hit me with clarity in 2016. It was written during a time when I felt a great lack of connection to anything. I feel like there is a lot of, and an increasing amount of fakery within our modern society – news, TV, magazines, social media, friendships, relationships – it’s almost hard to get away.
It’s like we are being forced to keep up with, and compete with, everyone else’s fake lives. We become so preoccupied with comparison, and too scared to lose face and talk freely, that we slowly slip away from anything pure and honest we did have.
I’ve read you play guitars, keys and drums…are there any other instruments you’d like to pick up?
That’s correct and I would love to be able to play everything else! Saxophone, trumpet, violin, and if I ever get the opportunity, I will. I’m currently making a lot of noise on a harmonica I bought, annoying all my neighbours – I just tell them “at least it’s not the violin”.
Do you prefer different instruments for composing and performing?
I really like the freedom of performing without either, being spontaneous and sporadic on stage, but it’s always cool to pick up a guitar for a heavy tune or sit by the piano for a sing-a-long number. And I compose using both; they each bring a diverse personality to a song.
Do you think you can express yourself in a wider way because you can access all these different instruments?
Yes absolutely, the type of song you’ll compose on a piano is quite different to how you’d get somewhere on guitars, so you can almost end up writing in two or more styles. I have lots of piano based songs that have very Billy Joel or Elton John progressions, but then also have more avant-garde guitar based songs with Radiohead type movements – the fun part is finding a way of colouring them all in together with your own voice.
You’ve described your music as alt-pop. Are there any other instruments or styles you would like to absorb into your music in future releases? Do you have any current ideas that really push that alt side?
In a few of the latest songs I’ve written I used a sitar synth, so there was big, fat drums, but with a wonky sounding chord progression on top. I love to push the alt side within my production, but I find it too hard to stay away from the big melodies in my writing!
I am quite a diverse writer. I have been songwriting for other people almost as long as I have been writing for myself so I find it very hard to stay within one area. I love weird sounds though, so I am always seeking to hear things I’ve not heard before to incorporate into my music.
You sound like a bit of a workhorse with all the writing you do, and how fleshed out you like to have songs before they go to the studio, are you currently working towards a debut album/EP?
I think it comes from being quite particular. I always know in my mind or head how I want something to sound, but more often than not I cannot articulate it with words. So for me it’s easier to try and do as much as I can, go as far as I can and then take it to a specific producer to get the desired effect utilising their experience and talent.
I am heading back into the studio in March to complete another set of songs towards the album. Little by little, bit by bit it is coming together.
With Spotify and iTunes, streaming and digital releases are a huge focus, but vinyl sales are back on the rise. Would you been interested in releasing your debut record on vinyl?
I would love to release my debut album on vinyl! I got a new record player for my flat a couple of years ago and I am obsessed with it. I spend all my money on records – in fact, I’m sure I am the reason sales are on the rise.
Where can people hear more of you until then? Do you have any gigs lined up, and where is best for them to find out about them if so?
Hit me up anywhere! There will be live dates announced later in the year, for sure, so keep your eyes peeled. Check out Lots Holloway on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat (lotsholloway). All links can also be found at www.lotsholloway.com along with Spotify, Apple and all other streaming platforms.