In Conversation With Jacob Holroyd
Jacob Holroyd has been steadily carving his own space within the UK’s flourishing independent music scene. After the release of ‘Gold Strings’ and ‘Maybe I’, Holroyd is back with his third track of the year ‘Daydream’, a wonderfully smooth and fulfilling ballad. With its classic stylings and honest nature, prominent in much of Holroyd’s music. ‘Daydream’ is an endearing gem amongst a musical climate where ego and image are often far too prominent. I caught up with Holroyd to see how things were coming along, how it feels to go solo and his thoughts on local music scenes.
So Jacob, what’s been happening since we last talked?
I released another single, ‘Maybe I’, in July which was cool! I’d been sitting on that song for so long so to finally release it was really great. I’ve been playing a lot more shows which has been really fun and given me a chance to test out new songs live. I played in Tynemouth at the Surf Café which was amazing. The North East is a very special place for me, Tynemouth especially, so to play there was a great experience.
I also played a show in Reading at Oakford Social Club – another venue that I hold dearly. I played that show with a full band which was really fun. I was lucky enough to be joined on stage by Max and Katie of Valeras and Henry Belcher of Persian Hugs. They’re all incredible musicians and all round great people so that gig was wicked. I enjoyed playing tunes like ‘Maybe I’ and ‘Gold Strings’ live with a full band as I’d only ever played them solo previously. It was a lot of fun being able to make as much noise as possible.
How have the singles been coming along? ‘Maybe I’ complimented your first single ‘Gold Strings’ very well. What themes and styles are we going to see on your next coming releases?
I recorded ‘Maybe I’ and ‘Gold Strings’ during the same sessions with Chris and Joe in Reading and it was the perfect recording process I needed to get my first two releases under my belt. It allowed me to get a sense of where I wanted to go with my music sonically. For my next single ‘Daydream’, I was able to kind of developed and build upon these initial sounds, themes and ideas that we’d laid out during the Maybe I and Gold Strings sessions.
We recorded ‘Daydream’ at Hoxa HQ in London. Dani Spragg recorded and engineered the Daydream session which was ace – she’s super talented and her knowledge of the studio, the gear and different recording techniques is incredible. Ben Cornelius played drums on the tune which was also really great. Ben brought a whole bunch of fresh ideas to the song that I hadn’t considered when demoing the tune and the final recording of the song definitely sounds better for it. Recording in Hoxa and working with Chris, Dani and Ben was just an all-round inspiring and fulfilling experience.
‘Daydream’ is centred around an electric piano whereas ‘Maybe I’ and ‘Gold Strings’ were written on and based around an acoustic guitar – I think that’s probably the biggest stylistic change from the previous two singles. It’s got quite a different feel to it because of the change in instrument. The chords and lyrics are still very much in the same vein as ‘Maybe I’ and ‘Gold Strings’. It feels to me like a progression in both my songwriting and the sound so hopefully that comes across.
What have you learnt so far after going solo?
Solo shows are very different from playing live with a band. It can be difficult when you’re playing a solo show in a loud bar or whatever and there’s loads of background noise and stuff going on. But when you play a solo show where the audience are into it then it’s amazing. Going back to Tynemouth, I was lucky enough to play to a really great crowd at the Surf Café. They were super welcoming and got involved with the show and showed a great sense of humour. So yeah, when the crowd are great and they’re up for it, solo shows are wicked. There isn’t the same social element as playing in a band which can get lonely at times – especially when travelling and the like. But I have greater creative control when it comes to songwriting, not in a selfish way but just in a way that the songs feel more fulfilling because they are more personal, so it’s swings and roundabouts really.
You’ve become a bit of a mainstay of your local scene. With co-running a local label, as well as playing the countless venues in the Reading area. What do you think keeps a local music scene alive and fresh?
If you’re involved in a local music scene you’ve gotta love it. It’s definitely a labour of love. But providing you do love it, local music scenes are the best – you meet so many great like-minded people and see so many cool acts. I think the key to keeping it alive and fresh is being collaborative rather than competitive. We’re all in it together and working in music can be really fucking hard so everyone needs to look out for each other and help out where possible. Having more established members of a music scene offer to help and support upcoming artists, bands, promoters, photographers, writers etc helps to bring the next wave through the ranks which I think is really important. Reading is lucky to have promoters like Heavy Pop and EmBeePee and have bands like The Amazons who are all really supportive of the local scene. I think when people collaborate and work together some really impressive stuff can be produced and most importantly keeps the scene alive and kicking.
Check out the track ‘Daydream’ here: