Holly & The Woods

Holly & The Woods

 Johannesburg, Gauteng, ZAF
BandRockAlternative

“SO I RAGE”, released in 2008, spawned 3 Top 10 singles on radio & an impressive live performance CV, performing with the likes of Eagle-Eye Cherry, The Ataris, Sarah Bettens (from K’s Choice), Shaun Morgan from Seether & many more! The band is one of SA’s only Female Vocal Hard Rock Bands!

Biography

Ferocious songs with killer hooks and lyrics that swiftly snag you in all the right places is the defining feature of the debut album from South African five-piece Holly and The Woods.

Titled ‘So I Rage’ the album has been anticipated for some time by the group’s growing fanbase who’ve been tracking the group’s trajectory up the homegrown rock scene over the past few years. It’s also marks the entrance into the South African record scene of a polished, powerful hard rock group whose songs and execution can sit happily alongside the best global releases in its genre.

“We’ve worked long and hard for this moment, and wanted our first album to really be something that we are proud of,” vocalist and co-songwriter, Melissa Conradie reveals. Working towards that has entailed some serious time in rehearsal, a single-minded approach to the craft of songwriting, as much live work as they can get - and Matthew Fink.

Fink – a member of Indie Rockers “The Black Hotels” – is rapidly evolving into one of the country’s most forward-thinking rock producers with a deep and varied knowledge of the genre to draw on when it comes to fine-tuning a band’s sound.

“The instant I heard what Matt had done on The Sick Leaves album I knew that he would be the right producer for our band,” Conradie says. Initially the band recorded ‘Falling’ at B Sharp Studios in Gauteng some 4 years ago, but swiftly realised that they were not yet equipped to sit in the producer’s seat.

“That time may come,” Conradie says (giving a hint at the big – and longterm plans – she and the band have for Holly and The Woods), “but we are really chuffed with what Matt has done with our sound. He’s done an amazing job.”

That job has entailed allowing the propulsive forces that shape Holly and The Woods’ sonic terrain to stand alone, without (and this is important) taking over the songs. A great example of this is ‘Lay Me Down’ which thrusts John Meaker’s lead guitar centrestage in a way that spotlights his clear talent while at the same time giving space to the rhythm guitar played by Holly and The Wood’s co-founding member, Craig Henning.

Indeed it was Conradie’s advert as a vocalist looking for a band on a local music website the saw the formation of Holly and The Woods (whose play-on-words band name is indicative of the jaundiced view Conradie and Henning have of contrived and manufactured entertainers). That was back in 2006 but it was to be just over 3 years ago (May 2007 to be specific) that the final line-up of the band was settled on. “At one stage we had three guitarists – it was admittedly a bit over-the-top,” Henning says.

Joining the band in 2007 by Gary Ashford on bass and Chad Harbott (a teenage firebrand) on drums, Holly and The Woods spent most of 2007 & 2008 notching up an impressive slate of live performances, bringing their sprawling and no-holds-barred rock to stages alongside the likes of Sarah Bettens (from K’s Choice), Prime Circle, Wonderboom, Hellphones, Karma, Love Jones, Cassette, Veeva Feeva (Australian band), My Epic, Walt, Running With Scissors, Lonehill Estate, Voodoo Child and The Sick-Leaves. They also snagged a highly coveted support slot with Seether’s Shaun Morgan late in 2007, an undisputed highlight of their live career that far.

Followers of the band from those first days will be happy to know that the album includes ‘Save Me’, the song that broke Holly and The Woods both live and on radio.

The song is possibly the best place to start for newcomers to Holly and The Wood’s coruscating but hugely accessible sound. It begins with the kind of crunching guitarwork that demands you listen before Conradie’s powerful vocals take centrestage, managing to channel the spirit of Skunk Anansie’s Skin while delivering a signature sound.

But there are plenty of other places to get your rock rocks off on ‘So I Rage’: the solar plexus-smashing ‘Get Out’, with its astutely placed backing vocals, is hard to resist and impossible to ignore – and just when you think you’ve pinned Conradie and her crew down as hard rockers who don’t let up the pace for an instant comes the lovely ‘So I Rage Gently’, a piano-propelled version of the album’s anthemic title track and a cut that is more than a hint at the versatility Holly and The Woods is capable of.

‘Falling’ - the single that went Top 10 on Kovsie Fm and has been play-listed on stations such as Radio 2000, Tuks FM, MFM, UJ FM and UCT FM – reveals yet another side to the five-piece: a slice of radio friendly rock, ‘Falling’ nonetheless allows Holly and The Woods’ now trademark sound to leak through the melodic thrust of this standout track (it’s also the song that inspired the quite beautiful tattoo on Conradie’s arm).

Alongside these standout tracks, there is much more to love on ‘So I Rage’ including the anthemic ‘Free’, and the evocative ‘Wandering Souls’.

That they have a fanbase waiting for their first album is something of a surprise to Holly and

Discography

SO I RAGE - Debut Album:

1. GET OUT
2. LAY ME (DOWN)
3. SAVE ME
4. NOT LIKE ME
5. SO I RAGE
6. I LIKE IT
7. ENTER HEAVEN
8. HEAVEN IS YOUR HELL
9. DUMB (SUPERSTAR)
10. WANDERING SOULS
11. FALLING
12. MY HEAD
13. FREE
14. SO I RAGE… gently (acoustic version)