The Greatest Mistake Of My Life - Holding Absence Documentary
(somber piano music with strings) (birds chirping) - Actually, I'll go into that story now. So where we came up with the name, for "The Greatest Mistake of My Life". So basically, when we released the self-titled, I had just this little, like, routine that when we got a vinyl of the band, I'd go and visit my Nan, 'cause she had a record player in the living room. and I'd just give it to her, and be like, "Oh, you know, thanks so much, blah, blah, blah." And she was like, "Mad to think that you're not the first person in the family to record a vinyl record." So I was like, "Whoa, who else, in my family was kind of was, had recorded a vinyl."
And she said that when she was younger, her uncle, I think her uncle, so this would have been in like the 50s, maybe 60s, recorded a recording of himself singing a song acapella, and it was just a small little seven inch, and it was just one song, and it was just him, and there's probably about three copies of it. Googled it, Gracie Fields, "The Greatest Mistake of My Life", I went on the lyrics thing and it said, "Uploaded in 2007" at the bottom. So I was like, shit, man, so this is 12 years ago somebody'd uploaded these lyrics on the internet. So this was kind of the dawn of the internet, really, wasn't it, 2007? So, so then I was like, okay, I got a name. So I, You Tubed Gracie Fields, Greatest Mistake of My Life and a video came up of her singing it and, and it had 30 views. And I was like, "Whoa, okay".
So this song that my Nana's recommended to or mentioned to me is like, the only thing I could find today is the fact that the lyrics were put online by somebody in 2007 and the video of her singing it, has 71 views. - [Camera Man] Mad, that's absolutely mad. - And this is, this is it. So this is the moment.
Well, when we played the Cardiff show, obviously I wore the shirt that said "the greatest mistake of my life", and no nobody would have noticed this, but that song played over the speakers as we had the photo. (Greatest Mistake of My Life by Gracie Fields playing) (crowd cheering) We just knew we were so confident in the title and just the story and just everything. When we played that show we were just like, "Ah", so anyway, so that's where "the greatest mistake of my life" comes from so then I knew the title, but nothing else, you know? So I kind of worked backwards. And then I asked myself what does the greatest thing in my life mean? What does it evoke? What emotion does it kind of like betray and stuff? - [Ash] Yup. (loud drumming) - Ash is the hardest hitting drummer I've ever recorded bar literally bar none.
- Ash's constant hard work and like emotional, just outpour, you know? And like somebody who was always there to talk to Somebody who's always there to cry to, somebody who's always there to cry with. - Ash's crazy. I don't think any of us would change it really because it's, he's such a source of like joy and entertainment.
(loud music) He's really kind hearted and good natured. And he just wants to help his mates out no matter what, you know, like it doesn't matter if it ruins his life, he'll do whatever he can to help his mates. - Having Ash put every last bit of effort into every hit, it enhances the feeling you get from the vocals. It's weird, like they compliment each other. So, and Ash, Ash is an intense person.
He feels music properly. A lot of drummers are just there to hit drums, Ash's inside the song, which is a really good asset. Look to me, always look to me if you don't know where something's coming in.
I'll be giving you the finger so to speak. (metronome starts ticking) (drumming) - Yeah he's like the perfect mix of a jazz drummer and like a type one, you know? - [Dan] Yeah, yeah he really is. - And every now and then he'll do something... (loud drumming) - Ugh! Sorry, sorry. - I'm just going to double bag, mate. - Okay.
(drumming) Do you want me to just leave them out? (drumming) Okay. Okay. - That's good. It's a lovely arrangement, isn't it? It's hard, yeah there's not enough decay on this.
- Yeah. - But-- - But then I do like the black beauty. (loud drumming) - It's been like a dream essentially.
It's been a crazy dream come true. Having being in, you know, Middle Farm Studios for a month and having someone like Dan, you know, produce the record and be there and be as passionate and as fired up for it. You know, that's something that you can't pay someone enough to be excited about an album if they're just not excited about it, you know? - And like with all the guys, I get on with them all brilliantly. Ash's, I think that probably, stands out for him, he's kind of like he, well, he loves cooking a massive roast for everyone and he loves looking after people and he's a good soul.
So yeah, pleasure to be in the studio with. He, being a drummer, could have the capacity to annoy the shit out of me after a while, but he doesn't, never has, so. (laughing) (guitar music) - Where are my shoes, where are they? They aren't upstairs. - The board is done! I might leave it here and then let James fill in all the bits that I need him to fill in tomorrow.
- So "E", "L", "E", "C". - Yeah I know how to spell it. - All right, I'm just making sure. It's a long word, mate. - Oh fuck. - And then, percussion.
- Oh percussion's a fucking massive word! (laughing) Oh no. (both laughing) - Um, Scott's a prick, to be honest. (laughing) No, Scott's brilliant. - He's such a hard working man.
He's such a like passionate, driven man. He's so talented. - Mine and Scott's relationships a funny one because it's the oldest, but you know, I mean the oldest things go through the most things you know, and like we've had our ups and downs and stuff, but like I just owe so much of who I am and what I've been able to do to him. - Scott's been like, this almost like my right-hand man on this. - It's turning a bit too muddy.
- It depends 'cause we're gonna have the jangle. - Yeah okay, fair. - And you don't want that to be to bright. You know, I think he'll be a producer at some point because he has a, he has a vision.
- You just love insane amounts. - Insane amounts of decay, but it to be like one thing rather than being able to hear like 10 different overtones. - He perfectly encapsulates what it is to be Holding Absence for this record. And there's no one else I feel could have done as good a job as he did when he stepped up.
- You know, he's really come into his own on this because he wasn't on the previous records. And, I can only imagine what it would be like to be playing on a record, you know an album for the first time in a band that had already established itself. - I think I'm more of like a sort of like a traditional gainy tone. You know what I mean? Like maybe the Victory or the Recto, try the Marshall as well. - Just think with the Marshall you'll get a super nice brittle front on it.
- [Scott] Yeah okay. - So we can try some different combinations. See what feels good. - Yeah. I just, I trust Scott, like nobody really. Because I think Scott just has everything I don't and vice versa.
And it's this funny kind of thing that we've kind of been fortunate enough to be able to lean on each other with. - Yeah, we've had a really great working relationship and I, you know I hope we can do it more in the future. But yeah he's, as these guys say "smashed it" on the, on a writing front and like he should be proud because I think he stepped the music up to another level than it has been before. - It sums up this period in the band, you know, like I feel like this album is, it just feels special to all of us. And I feel like it really kind of bookends the old era of Holding Absence and kind of is the start of Holding Absence, it's almost like a rebirth. It's almost like the band starting again, in my eyes.
- It was 10 o'clock this morning before we left. And I was like, "Hey Dan", I was like, "dude, do you want to go shopping before we get here?" - [Dan] You did. - And Dan was like, "nah, I'll be fine, be fine."
I get here, it's just 20 tins of kidney beans. (laughs) - Lucas, I've known him, probably the longest out of anyone you know, in my life really, like 11 years or something. And he's always been there for me, you know, if I've ever needed anything. And, he's just been one of my best friends for as literally as long as I can remember, you know, there's nothing, can't really get any better than that. Can you? You know, to have someone in your life for that long and even to go through some, you know some turbulent times and to come out of it on the other end you know, where we are currently, is, it's a special thing.
- Well, Lucas knows how, how, how much I respect him, you know he's, although we're like, he's virtually half my age and completely different, I see a lot of my own obsessive, intense controlling, can't think about anything other than lyrics and songs. I see a lot of those traits in me, that I see in him. And he knows that, I've told him that - It's so weird because it's like, there's so much of a climb.
You kind of don't know where to put your foot. Okay, cool. ♪ In your lovers arms. ♪
Got it, cool. - He kind of eats and sleeps it. But it's, you know, he's one of those rare breeds where everything that comes out of his mouth when he's singing sounds incredible. - Could you clip everything other than the "lower again"? Or, not clip, chop it off.
Um, so it's just... - So the lower one's coming on, so-- - But it's just the "again". ♪ Over again. ♪ - Oh I see, so it's just exposing "again". - (singing) Again.
(music playing) - That's not it. ♪ Over again. ♪ - You know, there's like, there's a way that Lucas sings and writes that I don't think I've ever, I've never had a connection with lyrics and songs.
the way I have a connection with our songs. - If you listen to it, it's like four parts. (singing) "My love, my life." "How I miss you so" "My love, my love", "how I miss you so." And like, it's kinda like that. But if we do it more like (sings the words so that the phrases overlap) And that works specifically because there is a lot of vocals over that bit anyway.
- You know, you read, when we read through lyrics together and we sit through and we're like either taking notes or, or he's showing us stuff. And it's like, shit like, he's thought about that. He knows what he needs to sing about. He knows what he wants to sing about in this song. - I think the way Lucas writes it, it definitely, sort of almost like challenges people to look within themselves and think about, think about their own life and their own happiness, and their own relationships and things like that.
So I think that definitely reaches out to a lot of people who look to do that with music. I mean, that is arguably the main reason lots of people listen to music. It's for that sort of, it's like a release or it's like escapism. - You know, the two of us we have a really good bond. We, we feel music, you know, he feels it in the way I feel it where we, like we wait for the shivers on every line. So, to work with someone who you can connect with on that level is like, it's extremely satisfying for me.
Cause like he, he won't just do a take and be like, "yeah". he wants to get it right. (rock music playing) - Yeah wicked, all right, cool. Do we need to retrack anything? ♪ In your lover's arms. ♪ (song replaying) - And then finish there. - I sound like a robot. (laughs)
♪ All your precious time. ♪ - Yes. It was like, I was sat in there and I said to Ash I was like, this is weird for two reasons.
Like, first off, this is my sister. And second off, this is someone else singing on my song. - [Caitlin] Yeah. Like, so it was it was like a weird, yeah, it was, I don't know. It was weird because like, it was as easy as it was hard. It was a very unique situation to be in really for me emotionally and mentally.
And like I said it's the most special kind of thing. (piano playing) ♪ When you look me-- ♪ Did I come in to early? - No, no, no, it's perfect because it's the exact same way I do it. - Okay.
- I want these lines to be parallel with each other. So I go um... What do I even start with? You know, just let it fucking-- Yeah and like, in terms of like holding notes as well like "tonight", don't let it like fall away, like just fucking hold it out like, you know.
♪ And left out in the cold. ♪ ♪ Lately, baby. ♪ - So make sure "tonight" is a little bit earlier (singing) Waving you goodbye tonight. So it sort of flows into itself a bit more.
- I would never have even originally pitched this to the boys because it's so, it's too special really in some respects. - Right, that's what you said at the start, wasn't it? - Yeah like the main thing was like, I wanted it to be specially, I wanted it to be musically special and not like personally special. Like, and I feel like, you know, we've captured that today which is cool. And like Dan's a pro and he makes me sound good. So God knows what we can do with you, you know? (both laughing) And yeah, and like on a personal level, it's just been like, just really special.
Like you said about, you know, whenever I speak to people about my family it's all about music. It's all about song. It's all about playing the old piano at my Nan's house and me and you kind of just singing together. And like that's just been like the highest kind of points in my life really have just been like singing with you. So the thought of that kind of being cemented in our own way, like it's really special, you know? So I'm glad we got to.
(piano playing) ♪ Watching you die alone. ♪ ♪ In your lovers arms. ♪ ♪ In your lovers arms. ♪ ♪ In your lovers arms. ♪ ♪ In your lovers arms. ♪ - That's it, if you go (sings higher pitched) - I know that they trust me to go through whatever process I have to and it's tough love sometimes, you know.
I'm like, I have this like vision sometimes, and I struggle to let it go. And I know I'm flawed and probably the most flawed member of this band. And I'm well aware of that. And I'm, I know I have to embrace that sometimes because I believe that like the boys trust me to persevere with some of the harder things, you know. Like between like lyrics and melodies and all these weird, like I'm the weird member of the band. (laughs)
- The big man, James he's kind of the first person I was in contact with. James is kind of like, everyone's best friend. He's a piss taker, but he's a good guy. - And don't understand that somebody like James exists, like I'm so not savvy in any way. And James, you know, I remember when he had a closing company at the age of 16 and he's run like a food business thing. - He's always Like there for a rational chat and he'll always, you know, put things into perspective and, you know keep you grounded if you're getting upset or overwhelmed by anything, you know, he's really good at that kind of stuff.
- It might be cool then to get like that really close for the drop then. Like get really close mic placement and you try and like make it a bit like more whispery. - [Dan] Yeah, literally from the throat. - Cause otherwise that, it'd be in like that range twice kind of makes it less special. - Yeah for sure, 100 percent, for sure. - James is someone, and he's been very vocal to me about, sometimes he'll have ideas that he can't articulate in a way that the others could, but I've told James this, I really trust his vision when he has a suggestion or a thought about something.
- I think you could do some like palm muted kind of like, like you keep the rhythm here by doing like, blip, blip, blip. Or just something like... You wouldn't be going like that, You'd go like (humming), like that sort of thing. - Yeah, like a broken up bar. - [James] Yeah. Yeah. - [Lucas] I wanted to have a play with doing something second half of the chorus on guitar that's just not me and Scott going ba dum, ba dum, ba dum.
- Yeah, which we can do. - I'm envisioning us just doing a fuckload of experiments when it comes to guitar. (guitar playing with metronome in background) - [Dan] That's perfect. And then we'll go into the, the next chorus that goes into the (humming) (guitar playing different rhythm) That was stunning, okay, stay where you are. He's a kind of a really great asset in the studio and he puts himself down a lot but I told him like, he's great. I mean, I've recorded bad bass players, he's not one of them.
So, hopefully he'll stop telling everyone he's not good at bass. - (whispering) I'm alive. - [Dan] Why is it so creepy? - Well it's fucking whispering the words I'm alive, Dan. So yes, it's already been a success for me.
It's something that nobody can ever take away from us. The fact that we, you know, we were able to make an album that was funded by somebody else in a studio like Middle Farm with an acclaimed producer, like AKA Dan Weller. I wanna eventually get to the size where what we say actually can have an impact on other people's lives.
I want to try and, you know, use, use music and use this career for some, some positive things. - He's super fun to be around. Like me Ash and James we love just messing around and doing stupid things.
- Oh, oh, oh! (music playing) ♪ I could kiss your fears away. ♪ - Let's go like, you, then me, then Scott. (drum playing) - [Woman On TV] You need slapping down. (drum pattern from Eastenders) (everyone laughing) - Oh my god! (drums playing) (electronic music) - Yeah it's horrible mate, it is horrible isn't it.
(laughing) - [Lucas] Oh god, please be careful, they're expensive. - The more I think about it, this has already been a success. Like I need to keep, stop taking things for granted and realize that like I never thought I'd be in a studio making an album.
(soft piano music) When you listen to our music you can almost imagine the four of us giving our all. And I mean, especially with things like, with like how hard Ash is hitting the drums or you know how hard me and Scott are playing the guitar parts. And then of course how much Lucas is giving it in the vocal booth.
I think it's that and the lyrics that then makes our records such a sort of overwhelmingly emotional thing. - Well, I guess the one thing that's really going to punctuate this album in terms of looking back on it is that it's happened while this pandemic has happened. And I think it's quite funny that we're, you know, when someone watches this it might be like Terminator II outside, I don't know. But like, it's been a weirdly unifying thing because we're trapped in the middle of nowhere, detached from reality and humans and we've been here for ages. And I think it's enhanced the feeling of sort of immersing ourself in the album. - I think that's why, that's hopefully I think maybe why people connect with our songs because there's a deeper rooted connection from us in those songs.
That is just, it's like the sincerest form of love into those songs that we then go, here you go, here's us you know, here's the four of us as a band, here are our songs, like just, again, just have them live with them. And they're yours now. These songs aren't ours anymore. This is for everyone else. This is for the people that care or just wanna listen one time, you know, we've really, really buried ourself in this album. I have not slept for five weeks at all.
So I think, yeah, I'm hoping I would be able to reflect on it and go, "wow". You know, that's every, that's the dream. I just want to be able to enjoy it as a listener. So I guess that's it. - And it's easy to just stop. It's easy to just not think about where we are currently and I think we're in a really good place and we're headed for really good things.
Yeah. Sometimes you just got to sit back and think, look at it from almost from ten-year-old mes perspective of what would he think if he saw me where I was right now, recording an album and yeah. Things are definitely looking good and if they carry on the way that we hope they're going to go with this album release I think we're in for some good stuff. - And I feel like that, you know, man that's like the best thing about being in a band is like, it isn't just me, you know, it's like me and like three other incredibly talented complex people who've lived lives. And like, just how we all just put this stuff together and just create things that are so much better than we are.
Ash, James and Scott are like blood brothers, like business partners and like best friends. You know there's three completely different things. You know, we're like, no matter what like, we will love each other and we will support each other and we will trust each other. And like, that's such a hard kind of relationship to come by truly, underneath it all.
You know, when you zoom out, it's just four people who are just friends and love music, and just just know that we're in a lucky position and are really just taking it for all we can get. Just listening to the album the other day I was just like, I just really feel like, I felt like a bit at the end of the debut. Like, you know, I can kind of, I can keel over in a corner somewhere now and I've got something to speak for me, but man, this album really speaks for me. This album is better than I am, like.
(soft piano music) - [Dan] Cool, one more and then I think we're good. - [Lucas] Yeah, I did. I'd just rather be safe than sorry. But I feel like I'm in the zone for winning now, so if we can get another one in. ♪ The greatest-- ♪ Sorry. (coughs) ♪ The greatest mistake of my life. ♪
♪ Was saying goodbye to you. ♪ ♪ I'm alone and blue, can't believe it's true. ♪ ♪ I hope you may forgive some day. ♪ ♪ I'm sorry I want you to know ♪ ♪ But if there's a debt I owe. ♪ ♪ I know I've paid and know that I have made. ♪
♪ The greatest mistake of my life. ♪