Today disco-infused synth-pop group Holodrum, who feature members of Hookworms, Yard Act, Cowtown, Virginia Wing, Drahla and more, have announced their debut self-titled album will be released on the 25th February via Gringo Records and Dinked Editions.
To celebrate they have also shared the 8-bit animated video for “Free Advice”, a pulsating feel-good mantra which vocalist Emily Garner (they/them) says “expresses the state of feeling invincible in the face of adversity and acts quite explicitly as a piece of good advice, applicable to anyone that’s gone out of their way just to harsh your vibe.” The technicolour video was built frame-by-frame by in-house pixel art animators Emily and drummer Jonathan Nash, under their creative duo Pastel x Fortress.
Speaking about the themes and designs they say it “mostly includes things we miss and love about being in a band. Namely jamming, travelling, seeing stuff and enjoying the local delicacies. Iced in a candy-core palette, the video art is a motion collage of 2D, 2.5D and isometric 3D graphics.”
Wednesday 2nd Feb – Brudenell Social Club, Leeds
Saturday 5th Feb – Servant Jazz Quarters, London
Order “Free Advice” by Holodrum HERE
Holodrum were destined to start at this point. This might be the first time they’ve all officially worked together, but between Emily Garner (vocals), Matthew Benn (synth/bass/production), Jonathan Nash (drums), Jonathan Wilkinson (guitar), Sam Shjipstone (guitar/vocals), Christopher Duffin (sax/synth) and Steve Nuttall (percussion) they’ve shared bands, mixed each other’s records, promoted live shows and made music videos together in and around Leeds. As Holodrum, this is the seven-piece’s debut album, but the interlocking grooves and hot headiness of their repeato-rock-via-CBGBs dopamine hits have in one way or other been fermenting for years.
“When it comes to doing music most bands fall between two extremes of doing it for some goal or as an end to itself” says Shjipstone. “I think Holodrum is about the joy and complexity of living, and I just hope to god everyone gets to have a good time doing it.”
Ultimately the core of the group comes from Shjipstone and his former Hookworms bandmates Benn, Nash and Wilkinson. After their abrupt dissolution in late 2018, the four of them spent six months apart; Benn still had Xam Duo, his ongoing project with Virginia Wing and some-time James Holden & The Animal Spirits live member Duffin, Nash remains vocalist and guitarist of long-running DIY rockers Cowtown and helms his solo project Game_Program; and Shjipstone plays guitar with Yard Act. However, the four of them missed the sixth sense synergy they’d built-up playing together over a decade and soon enough demos were being swapped and new ideas were discussed.
The vision of a large live electronic ensemble formed quickly. Friends were added: Duffin and Nuttall – who was keen to resurrect the double percussion interplay that he and Nash had been exploring as part of motorik trio Nope – joined first. Then animator and VIDE0 singer Garner crystallised the line-up by joining on vocals.
“Apart from Emily, all of us had actually played together before in a covers band at a New Year’s Eve party at the Brudenell Social Club a couple of years ago, so we knew we could have fun together” says Benn. “So we set up to be a live party band early on. We wanted lots of people on stage having fun, playing for people that also wanted to have fun. It makes sense we take inspiration from bands like Tom Tom Club and Liquid Liquid; they were trying to help people to party at a point when New York was quite a scary and dangerous place – we’re doing the same, albeit in the face of a decaying world and a global pandemic.”