INTERVIEW: Holly Henderson

Hi Holly, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?

Hey! Thanks for having me, I’ve been pretty good, tentatively excited post-album. 

Can you talk to us more about your single “Loneliness”?

I wanted to write a good, wholesome pop song. I’ve always been a huge Britpop fan and felt very inspired by that at the time, plus emotionally, it all just came together at the time. I think I wrote it in a couple of hours, one of those. 

Did any event, in particular, inspire you to write this song?

Nothing specific, I was just feeling generally isolated, and I could see my friends struggling with the same thing, especially my musician friends. But everyone was too proud to admit how they felt. In combination with a little bit of social media anxiety, I was so sick of everyone getting into the constantly polished social media thing. Especially when life and trying to keep the music going was so hard, everyone was trying to make it look easy and wonderful. I knew it was all a mask and I felt annoyed about that. Being open about feeling isolated and the fact I was struggling to get my career off the ground was a huge weight off of my shoulders and I wanted to spread that message a bit. You drive yourself mad, otherwise.  

How was the filming process and experience behind the video?

Great, I’ve worked with George Mays before on my video for my first indie release ‘Breakdown’. We’re really good friends now. He has a wild character and he’s super creative. He knows me really well, knows I need a push sometimes and does it just enough to get a good shot. He’s an amazing director. 

The single comes off your new album Monday Green – what’s the story behind the title?

Monday Green is a play on words of ‘Mondegreen’, a misunderstood or misinterpreted word or phrase resulting from a mishearing of the lyrics of a song. I knew if I was really stark with my lyrics, or really abstract, it wouldn’t matter. I thought I’d go into it knowing people were going to have their own ideas, regardless of what my ego would want to get out of it. 

How was the recording and writing process?

Writing at the time was a little chaotic, I had a laptop with GarageBand and a guitar. I’d record into the laptop mic with my amp pressed up to it, it was very rough. I wrote the demos when I was 19/20, so my ‘process’ was basically – what ideas can I throw down before I get sick of it in 5 minutes and move onto the next thing. I was less interested in whole arrangements and more into finding interesting moments in a song, so some of putting the album together was like putting a puzzle together. The recording process was the total opposite. Pete Thorn, Blair Sinta, Jon Button, Dennis Martin, and Jebin Bruni, are all pros, and I had a steep learning curve while doing the album. It was exactly what I needed, to see how things can be put together in a more cohesive way has transformed the way I write and record now. 

What was it like to work with Peter Thorn and how did that relationship develop?

I love working with Pete, we’re both quite stubborn and set in our ways, I actually think we challenged each other in almost equal amounts. It opened up constant discussion for possibilities in the songs, and nothing was set in stone, even until the last minute. So it felt very organic and creative right up to the point when the tracks were ready for mastering. It developed from us meeting online through an article he wrote on Premier Guitar that I thought was brilliant. We ended up chatting and he was a really positive beacon while I was in a lot of bands and trying to find my feet. He gave me a lot of good advice and was constructive and open if I sent him bits of music I was working on. 

Eventually, he came to London and we met for a drink, I played him the demo to ‘Loneliness’ in a pub, and it wasn’t long after that when he got me a ticket to LA to record the album. 

How much did he get to influence the album?

Uncommon Love and Cost Of Love are songs we wrote and arranged together, other than that, the thing I hear most when I listen back is the fact it’s very much my ideas but glued together with Pete’s flair for production. So it’s not that he influenced anything specifically, it’s more that you can really hear our signatures throughout, which is awesome, it’s a proper collaboration. 

What role did LA play in the music on this record?

Just location, really. I found LA quite intimidating, bearing in mind I’m from Maidstone, you really couldn’t find anywhere more different from home. However, I’ve spent a lot of time there now, and it has definitely played a role in songs that I’ll release post-album. 

What were some of the emotions you get to explore on this record?

Everything a 19/20-year-old has on a daily basis. Disillusionment, disappointment, and on the flip side, the musings of a hopeless romantic and a snotty teenager. 

Where else did you find the inspiration for the songs and lyrics?

Everything, I wrote so organically at the time. If I felt angry, I’d write. If I was in love, or heartbroken, I’d write. If I found something funny or ridiculous, I’d write. It’s all in there. That’s why I’m glad to leave it up to interpretation as much as possible. In hindsight, I was very open about how I felt at the time, about literally everything. 

Any plans to hit the road?

Hopefully soon! 

What else is happening next in Holly Henderson’s world?

I’m typically already making plans for the next album/release. I write so much that I’m just excited about the next opportunity to release some music, and playing as much as possible with my band in the meantime. 

You can stream Monday Green in full here:

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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