Words by Michaela Nolan
Melbourne-based singer-songwriter, Gordon Holland, recently dropped his second single, ‘I’m Looking Forward to Winter’ and it gives us the perfect rainy-day vibes.
Holland describes his style as alt country and Britpop. Spend an hour or so listening to his tunes and embrace the familiar wintry melancholy that starts sinking in.
Have a glass of cab sav at the ready cos things are going to get sad. His lyrical storytelling is magical, thought-provoking and makes us miss walking through a cold Melbourne street late at night, tipsy from a cocktail and en route to another bar ... Sigh.
We recently caught up with Holland to talk all things music and inspo, check it out below.
Image by Jaz Meadows
Firstly, how did you get into music? What’s your backstory?
Music was always playing when I was growing up, my parents and sister are big fans of music so I would listen to what they were playing and sing along. I started piano lessons quite young, but I just wasn’t enjoying it (at the time) and I couldn’t read music, so I’d just try and play by ear. Then when I was in my early teens I was around my cousin’s house and started playing his drumkit, I had no idea what I was doing but it was just insanely fun, and I started learning drums for a little while after that. About a year earlier my parents had bought an old classical guitar at a garage sale and given it to me for Christmas and that just sat unused under my bed the whole time. But I was wanting to learn to play the song ‘Talk Tonight’ by Oasis on guitar so I dusted it off and started working it out. I thought that was all I’d want to learn, but before I knew it I was putting some lyrics to music and haven’t stopped since!
How would you describe your music?
It’s more or less somewhere between alternative country and Britpop. So, I write quite honestly and directly lyrics-wise, but I also love melody, harmony and big choruses.
Who are some of your biggest music inspirations?
Firstly, The Beatles and The Beach Boys, they’re always my go-to bands. But outside of those, I’m obsessed with people who are just masters of the song writing craft; like Carole King, Paul Kelly, Noel Gallagher, Elton and Bernie … the list goes on. I’m so fascinated by the process of song writing itself and I love to take a song apart and see how it all works together.
Tell us about your latest single, ‘I’m Looking Forward to Winter’. How did it come together?
It’s written about those moments where you’re safe with the person you love while you listen to the rain falling outside. It’s a very specific feeling that I wanted to capture and it all sort of came out one afternoon when I was playing guitar. For my second single I knew I wanted to do a full band recording which I hadn’t done with my solo band at that point, so we decided to go with this song and it was recorded at Marshall Street Studios in Bundoora with Stu Watts, that place has such a great vibe and the whole band felt so at home there. We had two days to record and mix it and we weren’t too sure if we were going to be able to pull it off, but once we got there it all just happened so easily!
What are you currently working on? Any set dates for the next release?
All through the lockdown I’ve been doing ‘Islands In The Live Stream’ (the name is courtesy of my partner Cassie) every Friday night. It’s been a mix of my own songs, requests and some songs that I’ve always wanted to cover. I’ve had a great time doing it. Originally it was only going to be for that first lockdown but as the lockdowns have been extended and added to, I just kept going with them. I’ve taken a little break from them recently though as I’ve got some song ideas I want to concentrate on and demo. I think the next step from here would be to do some more recording, but we’ll see.
Image by Jaz Meadows
Who would you absolutely LOVE to collab with?
Definitely Brian Wilson! The harmonies, the production, the song structures he comes up with are just godlike. There’d be so much to learn from him.
Closer to home though I’d love to write something with Leah Senior or Kitschen Boy, they’re brilliant songwriters and I reckon I could learn a lot from them as well.
What’s something hardly anyone knows about you?
I was on the show Rockwiz once, on a team with Declan from British India. We ended up winning too which was great. I can tell when there’s been a rerun of it as I’ll get a bunch of messages from friends asking if I was on Rockwiz recently.
Anything else you’d like to add?
I think now more than ever it’s important to support local venues, artists and local businesses for that matter. Even something like buying some merch from an artist, buying clothes from a local designer or ordering dinner from a venue can go a long way!