Interview with Montreal Band The Holds with Self-Titled EP Review & Launch Date

The Holds: Self-Titled EP Review & Interview

By Joanna Ahti 

& Special Guest Contributor, Tim Gale from Carlin Was Right


“In Montreal there are tons of independent bands that are currently making some noise in the local music scene. You have artists such as The Barr Brothers and Half Moon Run that are leading the way for other groups such as Po Lazarus, Braids and Videoman to be discovered and rise up through the ranks and be successful. Another band that you can add to that list of local talent with momentum would be The Holds. With the release of their latest self titled EP, the band has found a good foundation of sound to build upon and make listeners eyes widen with surprise that they aren’t already more popular than they currently are.

Their signature sound is a love letter to their influences. They have the crunch of a 70s blues rock group, the soul of 60s motown and the action packed sound of an excited rock and roll act from the 50s. Lots of groups today have been using the blues rock revival sound, however The Hold are able to put their own unique spin on it, which separates them from the pack.

The EP begins with Can’t Go Back, which serves as a great way to introduce us to what kind of band they are. It’s a fun and laidback song that has a high tempo as well as soulful bounce from singer Ryan Setton. The second track Hold You Tight introduces the heavier side of the bands sound. It has soulful melodies that are surrounded by heavy riffs. Throughout the EP there’s a balance that the band is able to strike, with sincere soulful vocals that have the hungry blues inspired guitars in the background just waiting to pounce all over the track. Overall it’s a very strong EP that marks the arrival of another Montreal band that’s not waiting for its turn in the spotlight, but are instead looking to smash the spotlight and grab everyones attention. The Hold are definitely a band to keep on your radar for the near future.” -Tim Gale from Carlin Was Right



The Holds is made up of five talented individuals, André Galamba (Bass), Eric Hein (Guitar), Justin Wiley (Drums), Ryan Setton (Vocals) and Alex Lebel (Keys).  Want to know more about the talent behind the music?  Continue reading to find out who inspires the band members, information on their EP Launch and much more.

JTM: You’ve been inspired by amazing artists like Otis Redding, James Brown, Ray Charles- if you had to choose one person you could collaborate with, living or not, who would it be?

RYAN: I’d have to go with Otis Redding simply because out of the these three iconic artists, it seems somehow he’d be the most approachable. Then again, I could be totally wrong about that.

ALEX: The Doobie Brothers, without a doubt. They are amazing songwriters, great musicians and I like the blend of all their influences together. They created their own sound and they keep pushing it from an album to another.

JTM: Which artist would you say has inspired you the most?

RYAN: Wow, every time I’m asked to narrow it down it just seems impossible. I truly feel there are certain qualities each artist has that inspires me for different reasons. With Otis it’s the rawness and spontaneity. With James Brown it’s his utter relentlessness with regards to the groove […and show business]. Ray Charles well, he’s a pioneer when it comes to creativity and stepping way outside the box. Musicians like like Tom Waits, Hendrix, Dylan… The music chose them, their lives depend on it […and other peoples’ too apparently]

JUSTIN: I’d also like to add that there are a lot of fantastic artists nowadays that I get inspiration from. Artists like Lee Fields, Alabama Shakes, and Charles Bradley. Ryan hit it right on the head, when you love music you can really find a little inspiration in every artist you encounter!

JTM:  What musical experience can you remember that really touched you for the first time and made you think “I want to do THAT” ?

RYAN:  Well to begin with… Everything. No seriously, I’d have to say the first thing was finding an old 8-track casette player and a Kenny Rogers album at the age of 3 or 4 and listening to it on repeat. Of course a couple years later I inherited my mother’s LP’s from the 50’s and 60’s and simultaneously discovered Prince and MJ, I never looked back.

ERIC:  I grew up in a household with music that was constantly being played so I was immersed in music from a very young age. I think that the first serious spark was when I first started playing guitar though. Shortly after that when I was in early high-school I had a chance to hear the Rolling Stones play live, and that experience – the scale of the show and the raw energy in the place – really inspired me to push in that direction

ALEX: I started playing when I was a child but it took a while before I knew that’s what I would want to do. A teacher that I had in high school offered me a ride after school because I had missed the bus. I was around 15 and I remember him blasting ‘’Child in Time’’ by Deep Purple on the road. I was speechless.

JTM:  Several people say that what they love about the lyrics is how relatable they are, especially when it comes to relationships.  What inspired the lyrics?

RYAN: A lot of the lyrics on this record are reflections of some of the curious things that might happen when we find ourselves in the throws of passion. Take Can’t Go Back for example; the song aims to capture what it’s like when you encounter someone or something for the first time and everything just starts clicking even though it wasn’t in anybody’s plans. A kind of interaction that is so intense and beautiful, not only is it transcending, you also get this sense it’s mark will be etched on your heart and soul ultimately changing your life forever.

JTM:  Which of your songs means the most to each of you?  Which one do you enjoy playing the most?

RYAN:  To be honest, I enjoy them all equally, that’s what makes playing them so much fun. For me the most meaningful element to all this madness is the fact that I absolutely love all the players in this band and everything they’re about.

ERIC: Yeah, that’s a tough question. I think there’s a consistent thread to the album, but each song is still pretty unique. It really depends on the mood I’m in, but like Ryan said, it’s always fun playing music with the band.

JTM:  How long have you been working on this EP?

RYAN: Depends how you choose to look at it. On the one hand we worked the whole summer of 2015 on it, on another we’ve been leading up to that summer our whole lives.

JUSTIN:  Yeah we started developing some of these tracks as far back as 2012 but we went into the studio back in April 2015 to lay down the bed tracks as the foundation for this EP

JTM:  The music video for Can’t Go Back directed by Helene Ha is really great and a lot of fun to watch.  What was it like to shoot the video?  Where was it filmed?

ANDRÉ: The video is all done in one take and there was some trickery involved in getting that slowed down feel to it: we had to play along to a sped up version of the song. Also there was a lot of running around behind the scenes to get to that final shot! The clip was shot in Hochelaga here in Montreal.

Haven’t seen the video yet?  Here you go!

“Can’t Go Back” By The Holds

Music Video Directed by Helen Ha


JTM:  Are there other local artists from Montreal whose music you are really enjoying at the moment?

RYAN:  Locally I’ve been digging on the latest stuff from Montreal’s First You Get The Sugar, and Sam Roberts Band.

JUSTIN:  Also we have some very talented friends the Empty Yellers who have been producing some great music, and so many more artists as well. There is some great talent here in Montreal!

JTM:  Where are your favorite venues to play?  In Montreal?  Other provinces?

RYAN:  I personally have a great time playing intimate places like Casa Del Popolo here in Montreal, The Silver Dollar in Toronto, and The Embassy Hotel in London Ontario but it burnt down to the ground.

JUSTIN: One of the beautiful things about Montreal is that there is music all over the place, from the beautiful big venues like Le National, and Corona to the small bars that host music, like Grumpy’s and L’escalier – there are lots of great places for music here in Montreal!

JTM:  Are there any plans for a tour or any upcoming shows?

RYAN:  Very excited to be launching our debut self-titled EP Friday January 29th 2016 at O Patro Vys. We’re pleased to have the charismatic Joshua Carey of local Mtl band Po Lazarus opening the night with an acoustic set, and the multi-talented Daniel Oniszeczko doing live analogue projections throughout our show..

JTM:  What do you want your fans to know the most?

RYAN:  That we are genuinely dedicated to providing happiness and pleasure through music to the best of our ability and that they’re one of our biggest inspirations to keep at it.

ERIC: For sure. It’s really the people coming out to the shows that make it all worth it.

JTM:  For other aspiring artists, what advice would you give them?

RYAN: Don’t do it… Just kidding. Be inspired in as many ways as possible but always be you. Find what makes you unique and run with that as far and fearlessly as you can. Oh, and try not to use auto-tune.

JTM:  Lastly, where is your favorite place in Montreal?  If you had to bring a first time visitor, where would you bring them?

RYAN: I always like going to Mount Royal and walking around the trails, it’s beautiful Montreal history. Although I guess that’s not everyone’s bag. I suppose it would depend on the visitor. Dominion Square Tavern at 1243 Rue Metcalfe, Loic at 5001 Rue Notre-Dame St. W or Ludger at 4001 Rue Notre-Dame St. W are all nice spots for the cocktail loving visitor.

ALEX: There’s a killer record/book store in NDG called “Encore“. They have a huge selection of great CDs and LPs, I discovered a lot of great music by shopping there and buying random albums.

If you’re in the Montreal area on the 29th of January, stop by their EP Launch!  Here’s all the info- it’s bound to be an amazing night!

The Holds - EP Launch (2)

To see more or to contact The Holds, visit:


I want to thank The Holds and Tim for being part of Joanna the Montrealer; it was an absolute pleasure.


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  1. Reblogged this on Carlin Was Right and commented:
    I helped out my old friend from Joanna the Montreal on reviewing Montreal blues rock band The Hold’s self titled EP. Check out the EP and make sure to check out her blog!

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