Fort Collins-based power trio Holdfast. reflect on their upbringing as they release their debut full-length album.
“We are three brothers” is the first sentence Holdfast. wrote in their Facebook bio and they’re not really wrong about that. Brothers Tom and Mikey Maddocks and their cousin Charlie Maddocks grew up right next door to each other in Windsor, CO. They did everything together – went to the same high school, played in drum corps together, and even pursued computer science at their respective universities. And with every decision, their dads were right behind them. The three boys watched their fathers Pete and Steve Maddocks play in bands, knowing it was something they wanted to do too.
Like most kids, they enjoyed spending their summers playing Halo and Minecraft together, until their dads instructed them to go make music in the basement (though they probably didn’t endorse the weird grammar and punctuation in their sons’ band name). Later, at their live shows, the boys could always pick out their dads’ voices screaming in the crowd.
“The dads helped cultivate the band. It’s been cool having them step into the roll of being more than just dads. That’s why we nick-named them ‘the Dadagers,’” said Charlie and Tom in a Zoom interview for BandWagon.
They love their dads, and their dads love them, but Charlie and Tom both recognized that their path wasn’t pointing towards finishing their degrees in computer science, as their fathers had done many years ago. They wanted to play music.
In early January 2020, Holdfast. traveled out to Southern California to play a few gigs, including the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) show. They connected with musician and director of A&R at Audio Network, Tasso Smith, with whom they had been emailing over the past couple of months. After watching Holdfast. play, Smith signed them for a sync licensing contract. A sync license is a music license granted by the owner or composer of a particular piece of work. This license allows licensees the right to use the music in a visual piece such as a movie, video game, or commercial. For most bands these days, it can be a good deal. The company wanted Holdfast. to get started on a second album too, which meant a couple of things: dropping out of Colorado State University to designate more time towards their music, and finally releasing their first album, one they recorded in back in 2019.
Holdfast.’s debut album, Stay And Fight, released January 8, featuring the singles “Time,” “Walls,” and “I’ll Be Waiting,” which were previously released throughout 2020. This first full length album reflects a polished culmination in songwriting and musicianship that the trio has worked towards since their inception in 2011. They partnered with producer and engineer Chris Beeble at The Blasting Room to capture their dark electronica mixed with alternative rock – sounds reminiscent of Muse and The 1975.
The album plays on themes of relationship struggles and overcoming hardship – a means of support they always had in each other. Growing up next door from one another gave them the emotional support they hope their music provides for listeners. That relationship is something they now cherish more than ever.
Just as most musicians faced challenges through the 2020 year, Charlie, Tom, and Mikey no longer had the convenience of going next door to practice, jam, and connect with each other. With all of them spread throughout Windsor, Fort Collins, and Denver, they had to schedule time to get together to write, record, and rehearse for the socially distant shows they played over the summer. When revisiting the album for its release, they coordinated a photoshoot in Charlie’s parents’ basement, where they hosted band practices, and the lake behind Tom and Mikey’s house, a spot they often used to find themselves. While those locations made for photogenic scenery, they also held sentimental, old-time’s-sake value for the Maddocks brothers.
With all the weird twists and turns the year 2020 brought, Charlie, Mikey and Tom hold fast indeed, proceeding forward with their debut album, promising more new music to come, and knowing that their dads will be there to support them the entire way.