Jacob Holroyd (ex-Haize frontman) has ventured into new ground with his latest single ‘Gold Strings’. A smooth , soul-tinged track which even boasts a guitar solo. Holroyd isn’t afraid to pull out all the stops musically but he keeps things grounded vocally with honest lyrics and an almost melancholy realism that balances the song out nicely.
You can check it out here:
I talked to Jacob about what inspired Gold Strings, as well as running a local label and putting Reading on the map.
You’ve said that the song came together after a visit to New York, how did this inspire the song?
My girlfriend and I stayed in Brooklyn and I was completely captured by the area and just fell in love with it straight away. I found it really inspiring to be in such a cool place with so much character and such creative, welcoming people. We found a load of great record shops around the Williamsburg area and it was during that trip that I discovered loads of great soul records. We used to wake up in the morning with cloudy heads having been out in Manhattan all night but we’d stick on some soul and motown tunes and smash a bowl of Lucky Charms and it sorted us right out. I was listening William Bell’s ‘I Forgot To Be Your Lover’ on repeat the whole time we were there and I think that, combined with experiencing the city, really influenced things in terms of how I wanted the song to sound.
What else do you have coming up? Is ‘Gold Strings’ a hint at what your new songs will sound like?
My next single will be out in July. I recorded it with Chris during the same sessions as Gold Strings but this song is much older. I wrote it in October 2016 so I’m really excited to release it – I’ve been sitting on it for too long haha! The sounds and tones used are quite similar to ‘Gold Strings’ but the energy of the song is very different. I think they are two songs that really complement each other. In terms of the rest of this year, I have a handful of songs that I am really keen to release as singles. I’m aiming to release an EP at the start of next year.
Other than new music you are also running a label, Porterbrook records in your home town of Reading. How is that experience?
Being a part of Porterbrook is really fun. I run it with my good friend Tyler Hallows. We both have a very similar music taste and enjoy loads of the same records so when we came to working together as a label it came really naturally. I can’t give too much away but we’ve got some stuff coming up this year that we are both really excited about. Running Porterbrook has also been great for discovering new local bands in the Reading area. There are loads of really cool bands in Reading and we just want to provide a platform to help local bands and artists get their music out there to the wider Reading community.
On the topic of Reading. Despite being quite an unsuspecting town, Reading is home to quite a few bands like Ulrika Spacek, Slowdive and The Amazons. Do you feel like being from a smaller town puts you in a unique position as an artist?
I think for any band or artist, where you come from definitely influences the music you make. Whilst the scale of the Reading music scene may not be as big as that of Manchester or Liverpool or whatever, I definitely feel really lucky to have been amongst it all when it was all kicking off and bands like Sundara Karma and The Amazons started getting the wide-spread exposure they both deserve. They’re both incredible bands in their own right and they’ve done so much to put Reading on the map and really give something for people in Reading to get excited about. I think when you go down to Purple Turtle and all your mates are there and you see bands like Sundara and The Amazons play and then you stay up until stupid hours getting loopy – you can’t not be inspired by that. I don’t know if I’d say it was anymore unique than growing up watching bands in any other town or city because everybody’s experience of that is special to them for different reasons – but I definitely know that it was really fucking fun.
You worked with Chris and Joe from The Amazons on ‘Gold Strings’, how was that?
Working with those guys was brilliant. I’ve done demos with Chris for a few years now but recording this time round, we were able to use the boys’ studio and all of their guitars and kit and stuff. Chris has got a really good ear for producing and mixing tracks and his attention to detail is unreal. Having Joe come down to record drums was wicked too. He’s a really great drummer and I’ve always admired his style of drumming. Being in the studio with those guys was a great learning experience but more than anything it was just a really fun and enjoyable experience. I’ll forever be grateful to The Amazons for those sessions. The only thing that really sucked was that every day I would leave the studio with the worst guitar envy in the world.
Did being in a massive city such as New York spark a different kind of creative flame for you?
I wouldn’t say it sparked a different kind of creativity as such. It definitely made me really keen to write because musically and culturally New York has such an interesting and crazy history but the music I was inspired to write whilst over there was still of the same vein that I write at home. I always write about the honest, human stuff that I experience on a day-to-day basis so I guess as a result of that the core of the song remains the same anywhere in the world. The music I listen to in a particular place might influence the production or arrangement but the skin and bones of the song will always be the same wherever I am.