Holding Onto Sound is a four-piece band that was forged during the fiery summers and freezing winters of the Las Vegas Valley. Though they’ve been together now for nearly eight years, 2012 will see them play — for the first time — the main stage of their hometown’s annual punk rock festival, Punk Rock Bowling. HOTS will go on Saturday night to showcase their intense, explosive, and somewhat unusual mix of musical styles to hometown fans and visiting out-of-town punks alike. What follows is a conversation with lead singer and guitarist Bennett Mains to pick his brain regarding the scene in Vegas and what it’s like to score a slot on one of the biggest stages of the year.
Read the interview here.
For those not in the know, how many years has Holding Onto Sound been together, and during that time, approximately how many shows have you played?
We’ve been together about eight years now, and we’ve played around 400 shows — maybe more. We played our 300th show about a year and a half ago to celebrate with friends, but it was really just an excuse to have a big show with good bands. We figured we’d played around 300 shows, but we really don’t have any solid figures.
Many people automatically think of Celine Dion, Liza Minnelli, and Wayne Newton when you bring up music in Las Vegas. However, once you get away from the Strip, you can find a lot more than you’d initially expect. What can you tell us about the underground/DIY scene in Vegas?
Well, I don’t know about Celine and Liza, but I catch my boy Wayne (or “Dub Nasty,” as his friends call him) around all the time. He’s not too big a HOTS fan — he comes for the young tail, kind of a creep. He’s good people though.
Really, we have a strong DIY scene in Vegas. It’s not strictly punk either. We play hip-hop shows a lot — one of our favorite bands to play with is The Rusty Maples, who are pretty mellow. There are some great punk bands though: The Quitters, Nothing With Numbers, Battle Born, and The Core, just to name a few. We really have a strong scene. Bands don’t fight for the light here; we support each other no matter the genre. Even outside the music scene, we support the art scene, as well as local foundations, such as Nevada Homeless Alliance.
Outside of Vegas, where do you especially love to play? Where have fans embraced you the most?
San Antonio is our home away from home. They treat us so great there, and it was one of the first places we ever went where the people were singing along to every word. After you’ve been away from home for awhile, not playing the greatest shows, something like that can really give you the boost you need to keep going. Also, we love Kingman, Arizona. Small town with great people. They always take care of us.
This past December 31st, you played the New Year’s Heave show with NOFX at the House of Blues in Las Vegas. Now you’re playing the main stage at Punk Rock Bowling 2012. Until this year, you’ve only played PRB after-parties — how did you guys score such amazing gigs?
Kent, NOFX’s tour manager, asked us to open for NOFX a couple years ago out of the blue. It was amazing. And then he hit us up for the New Year’s show about a year in advance, so we were looking forward to that all of 2011. We then met Shawn and Mark Stern at the New Year’s Eve show, and they asked us to play Punk Rock Bowling. All three of those dudes have really done a lot for us, and we really appreciate it. To be playing with bands that I’ve been listening to for close to 15 years is absolutely awesome.
Tell us a little bit about the digital EPs you’re working on in 2012. Are you planning to release a new full-length in the near future?
Yeah, we have plans to get something out in the next couple of months. The EPs are going to be sort of “concept-ish.” Titled The Animal & The Hidden Hand, Vol. 1-3, it is a story of man verses man. At the end of the day, all of a man’s authority or power is absolutely meaningless. We’re just very intelligent animals whose hubris has gotten the best of us. Somewhere in there is the theme of the album. You can listen to all our albums for free at our website, and they will be available for download soon, if they’re not by the time you read this.