I’ve never been better, and I’ve never been happier than right now chatting with the lovely gang at VENTS.
Can you talk to us more about your latest single “World’s On Fire”?
I tend to write music in ‘blocks’ and ‘World’s On Fire’ was written in a block penned last summer (2016). During that period I was really pensive and spent a lot of time observing the world, people and their behaviours. To me it felt like there was a constant stream of tragic or weird events happening, like a domino trail that was collapsing all the way around the earth.
The song became the stand out track, and the clear first single, when these events seemed to continue throughout the year and into 2017. The song is just as relevant now as it was then.
Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?
It was actually the amalgamation of everything that was going on; the attacks in Brussels, Orlando, Nice, Syria, Istanbul, the US presidential battle, and that one morning in June waking up to find Brexit was actually going to happen? A lot of the events were very fatal and very sad, and some just seemed strange – I felt compelled to write.
How was the film experience?
Shooting was a lot of fun, but man it was cold! We shot the video in an old farm building on one of those days in January when it chucked it down with snow. The building was huge, it had no heating and I was just in my T-shirt.
The director Kat Kemsley and I met through a mutual friend who knew of the separate projects we were working on and thought a collaboration would be perfect. We spent some time in pre-production discussing and sourcing the clips you see throughout the video. We wanted to make it chaotic and powerful and I really love the way it has come out. (Kat’s also a wicked chef, so her food made up for the killer temperate drops).
How was the recording and writing process?
The writing process is always a solo job. I lock myself away during a ‘block’ phase and will just write and write and write like a tap you can’t turn off. I then turn all of my songs into small home demos, writing and playing in each part before I take that to a producer to ‘make bigger’.
We recorded the single and the B-side in Bryan Ferry’s personal studio; Mike Hedges (producer) and Bryan’s engineer have a long history. I was very lucky as I think one of the only other artist to record there was Prince.
What was it like to work with Mike Hedges and how did that relationship develop?
I enjoyed working with Mike. He’s like my own personal BFG and a very fun guy to be around. Mike has been making important records since the 80’s (The Cure, U2, Manic Street Preachers) and you can tell his experience carries a lot of weight, he knows what will and won’t work before we’ve even tried it. I learnt a lot from him.
How much did he influence the single?
The original home demo of ‘World’s On Fire’ was pretty breezy, quite casual and laid back, but after working on some ideas with Mike it was clear it needed to be heavier, harder hitting and punchy. I’m very hands on and particular when it comes to the music, videos, and any other creative aspect, so the process was a complete collaboration – Mike was there to steer me in the right direction with all the ideas I had.
How’s your new album coming along?
At this stage we’re torn between whether to complete an EP, or to go all the way and complete a first album – but either way, it’s looking good.
The songs have all been chosen and I am swimming in ideas all day and all night of how I want them to sound. Performing live is such a huge thing for me, it may even be my favourite thing to do – so for me, it’s really important that the songs are recorded in a way that’s totally conducive to a live translation.
Any tentative release date or title in mind?
That would be telling…
Will all the songs be as politically charged as “World’s On Fire”?
Although ‘World’s On Fire’ is quite topical and political, I’m not a political artist. I write about what I see and what I feel – people, interactions, the world, life, time, dreams. I never speak on behalf of anyone, but more often than not I find people telling me they really relate to the things I say.
Any plans to hit the road?
Like you wouldn’t believe. I love travelling, touring and performing so I cannot wait to get out on the road, unfortunately it’s not in the diary but it’s definitely the plan!
Once we have finished the recordings (in March) we will be able to announce some live dates.
What else is happening next in Lots Holloway’s world?
There’s a different kind of video coming out soon for the single’s B-side ‘Is Anything Real Anymore?’ so keep your eyes peeled for that.