What is your name?
Jonathan Stolber – but I release music under the pseudonym “The Holy Road.”
What is your genre of music?
An introspective blend of cinematic neo-classical, electronica & art-rock.
Give us a little bio about you.
Grew up in Fleet Hampshire, listening to a variety of musical genre’s including classical and pop records such as Talk Talk & Igor Stravinsky and errr… New Kids On The Block. Probably an unusual mix for a young -un! Then in my teenage years after hearing records by Nirvana/Jeff Buckley & Bjork I taught myself to play piano/guitar & experiment with my vocal range.
Played guitar in a whole load of terrible grunge bands. Moved to Scotland & learnt how to perform solo. Played a bunch of shows. Moved to the East Midlands & started a power trio band “To Bury A Ghost.” We recorded a record with sonic producer guru Russ Russell (Napalm Death/Wild hearts) that was released to critical acclaim. Did a bunch more shows with some great bands such as 65 Days Of Static & Her Name Is Calla. After disbanding the band have spent the fast few years teaching my self to self produce music and have stock piled a bunch of songs. Finally gotten an LP’s worth of material, which I am putting out under new project name “The Holy Road.”
What made you go into music?
a) The only magic I believe in is the magic of music. It’s power to unite & communicate – is unparalleled in my opinion
b) Marty Mcfly playing Jonny Be Good in Back To The Future. “I guess you guys aren’t ready for that, yet. But your kids are gonna love it.”
Are you a signed?
You releasing two tracks this Piano Day Track 28th March, tell us more about the single.
The two teaser tracks are culled from my debut Holy Road LP due out later this year. All profit from the http://theholyroad.bandcamp.com download of the song “The Minotaur” is to be donated to the new Mental Health Awareness charity set up in Scott Hutchinson memory: https://tinychanges.com
The Minotaur (Mesto in A-Minor) is a neo-classical piano-led instrumental backed by a searing string quintet. Slow This Down is a dense symphony of discordant synths that swell into an explosive wash of plucked harp & angelic, tumbling choir. The two tracks are very different & hopefully demonstrate the diversity in the track listing for the Holy Road album.
The Piano Day release was mixed by Leeds producer James Kenosha (Grammatics / Dry The River) and mastered by John Davis (Manic Street Preachers / Bloc Party / Joy Division).
What is the meaning behind each tracks ‘The Minotaur’ & ‘Slow This Down’.
The Minotaur started out as an exercise to eject a gentle piano only instrumental onto the track list of my album, but after collaborating with David Dhonau (Her Name Is Calla) and Beni Weedon (Maybe she will), it morphed into something much bigger. Sort of an apocalyptic cacophony!
Slow This Down was meant to be a showcase for the lower register of my vocal range which I didn’t get to use much in my old band (the drums were too damn loud!!). Its a bit of a lament/mantra about growing up too fast and loosing your youth. It’s a short coda.
Describe each track in two words.
Minotaur: Grandiose, Cinematic.
Slow This Down: Glacial, Ambient
What was were the writing process like?
Like a Jigsaw puzzle, assembling piece by piece. Somehow it all worked out, like a happy accident.
What was were the recording process like?
I wrote ‘Slow This Down’ many years ago on my home piano but have never been able to provide the backing music to satisfy how it sounded in my head. After the last few years sat in my home studio working on arranging music and learning how to self record I finally felt I was able to deliver the ‘Nightmare Disney theme’ esque backing it deserved!
Who did you work with on the Singles?
David Dhonau (Her Name Is Calla) and Beni Weedon (Maybe she will) produced the huge string quintet sound on the record and it’s the sonic glue that pulls it all together. Incredible musicians. It was mixed by one of my favourite producers James Kenosha.
Your Debut Album “For The Blood Of England” is due out later this year, tell us more about it?
I feel albums have currently fallen out of fashion now… So my album is something of a throwback to albums I grew up listening to such as Radiohead’s Kid A, & PJ Harvey’s “Is This Desire.” It’s a mood piece, & features string quintet across every track. The music is fairly diverse, downtempo, industrial, electronica, children’s choir…glitchy art-rock… I have tried very hard not to reproduce the sound of a band so it differs from my work in To Bury A Ghost. I think there is a greater master of ‘space’ in the music. There is a traditional single that is a bit of a throwback to my old band but mostly I hope its got a few nice surprises up its sleeves
Do you have any shows coming up?
Once the album is finished & mixed, I will be diverting my efforts to sorting out a live representation of the album. Reproducing the sound of the record will be nigh on impossible without a 9 piece band though! So will be a challenge, but also a fairly exciting opportunity. The hybrid of electronics and traditional strings on the LP would be compromised. I think it would be fun to see what arrangements I can pull together, just myself – a sampler, and a drum machine – so it would be a different animal from the album.
Would you be up for collaborations if other musicians wanted one with you? and who would they have to contact?
My hands are pretty full with this album but generally speaking, getting other musicians involved always improves my music exponentially! I would love to duet with someone on a particular album track I have in mind. A strong, feminine empowered voice. Someone like Josin or Hannah Lou Clark, both who have incredible voices. Always open to hearing from likeminded musicians, I can be contact direct on www.twitter.com/theholyroad
Do you play any instruments?
I am a multi-instrumentalist so play a variety of instruments: piano, guitar, drums, therevox, synths, glockenspiel, omnichord, Ipad, drum machines…
Who are your influences?
Stanley Kubrick, Bjork ,David Lynch, Blue Nile, Martin Grech…..
How do you get inspiration to write songs?
I’ve been writing music since I was twelve! So I have quite a stock pile of unrecorded songs. Each release see’s a handful of archive tracks finally documented. Mostly it’s about finding the right arrangement that lives up to the sound in your head. The lead single off the Holy Road album was meant to be on the last To Bury A Ghost record…
Where do you see yourself now in 5 Years?
Would love to have a small body of work out under the Holy Road project name that makes me proud.
When you’re not doing music, what do you do?
What was the song you listened to most that influenced you to go more in to the music scene?
Probably was Nirvana’s Never mind & Radiohead’s “the Bends” that influenced me as a teenager, to pick up guitar and join bands. Both still sound phenomenal I might add, here in 2020!
What’s the best advice you have ever been given?
“Don’t give up” (as instructed by Peter Gabriel & Kate Bush in 1986!)
What advice would you give to aspiring musicians not about the industry and just as an artist?
Don’t share art you aren’t 100% happy with.
What quote or saying do you always stick by?
There is a Hal Hartley Quote from the short film “Surviving Desire” I often recall in my daily life!
“The problem with people is they want a tragedy with a happy ending…”
Where in your hometown is a must go to visit?
I currently reside in Northamptonshire in the East Midlands. It’s famous for Dr Who & shoes! I would probably recommend visiting ‘Spun Out Records’ to any music fan. Support local Independent Music shops!!