Pulling inspiration from trailblazing artists like Jethro Tull, Fleetwood Mac, and David Bowie, Holly Henderson was never destined for normalcy. After immersing herself into writing and releasing her own music, she found a fan in Pete Thorn, a producer and guitarist who has worked and performed with acts such as Don Henley, Chris Cornell, and Courtney Love. Henderson would leave her home in Maidstone Kent for a studio in Los Angeles to work with Thorn on her debut album, Monday Green, which is out on Friday. The album showcases the lush soundscape Henderson has been crafting and clearly marks her as an artist to check out in 2019.
The Young Folks were able to catch up with Henderson ahead of the release of Monday Green. Check out the full conversation below:
TYF: I read that you’re a fan of David Bowie and your song “Pride Can Wait” was inspired by Blackstar, which era of Bowie’s career is your favorite/which do you resonate with the most?
Holly Henderson: David Bowie was one of the first people I latched onto as a songwriter, so everything he did resonates somewhat, but Station To Station probably stands out. It’s a great album, but also his ability to reinvent himself was brazen and enviable. The freedom to change is very important to me, probably thanks to him.
TYF: What tracks from Monday Green do you think are most representative of the album as a whole?
HH: I think it’s more that each song stands on its own, that makes the album unique. The two singles are a good example; “Loneliness” is one thing – it’s direct, driving, and instantaneous. “Pride Can Wait” is a totally different thing altogether – it builds all the way through, has a more progressive structure and has some really subtle, pretty moments. But that was my mind at the time of writing the tracks, always evolving. Bearing in mind I was probably 19/20 when I wrote a good amount of the demos, I was just set on writing music constantly, I never sat on one idea for more than 5 minutes at a time.
TYF: How did you meet Pete Thorn? What was your experience working with him like?
HH: Basically mutual appreciation via the internet, he wrote a great article on Premier Guitar about how tone is all in the fingers, I thought it was great, commented – the rest is history. We became friends across the pond during a time when I was in bands that I didn’t really mesh into. I just wanted to write songs all the time, my ideas were all over the place. I hadn’t touched on production so my execution was pretty terrible, but Pete has been an amazing mentor. He’d throw a couple of tips in and give me some friendly advice. I think he saw what I wanted to do but knew I needed time to get my shit together. Once I wrote some of the album demos, he suggested that we put the album together in LA basically straight away. It was amazing working with him, it was a learning curve I really needed. After working with him and the guys on the album, I knew this is what I wanted to do, 110%.
TYF: What do you want listeners to take away from Monday Green?
HH: The name “Monday Green” is a vaguely ironic play on words of ‘Mondegreen’, a misunderstood or misinterpreted word or phrase resulting from a mishearing of the lyrics of a song. I knew even if I was really stark with my lyrics, or really abstract, it wouldn’t matter. I thought I’d go into it knowing people were going to have their own ideas, regardless of what my ego would want to get out of it. Can’t risk being disappointed by misinterpretation when that’s the ethos of the album, ha! Bit of self-preservation maybe.
TYF: What was the most challenging aspect of creating this album?
HH: The challenge came more from the fact it was a new experience and a really different way of working to how I’d ever done it before. But it was all really fun, to be honest. If anything, I was just a bit overwhelmed to go from having a built-in Mac mic, Garageband, and my guitar – to Pete’s studio full of whatever gear you could ever possibly need. Plus, Pete, Jon Button, and Blair Sinta’s brains and skills to hand. So the overall feeling was just, bafflement, and excitement.
TYF: What themes did you focus on while writing this album?
HH: With the nature of the album, it’s all up for interpretation. But I was thinking a lot at the time about the environment, Trump, relationships, etc. It really is a snapshot into my brain at 19-21.
TYF: What or who inspired you to pursue music?
HH: I was studying fine art, and I really resented being in education. I’ve always been creative but honestly didn’t know how to pursue that realistically. I almost had a definite plan, I was considering doing Scientific Illustration, or something totally different. I looked into Law degrees, etc. I honestly just couldn’t bear the idea of more sitting and stewing in an environment I hated. I joined a touring tribute band and it became boot camp for music really. I’d never toured before, or even played live properly really. I just started up playing again, started writing, I thought if I was relentless, something had to give eventually.
TYF: If you weren’t a musician, what would you be doing?
HH: I constantly worry about this! I really can’t imagine not doing something musical now. I’d probably be a pastry chef, or a fashion designer maybe. I’d still have to find a way to integrate it with music though.