- 19 Oct 23
Holly Humberstone chats to Molly Cantwell about her stellar offering Paint My Bedroom Black, working with Bombay Bicycle Club, and the pop-punk revival.
Twenty-three-year-old Holly Humberstone is on the cusp of greatness with the arrival of her debut, Paint My Bedroom Black. Meeting Hot Press backstage at Electric Picnic ahead of her Rankin’s Wood slot, the singer seems unperturbed by the level of buzz around her.
”I think the three singles I’ve released so far are a good example of what’s to come, but I also think there’ll be some surprises for sure,” she says of the album. “I didn’t really set myself too many boundaries. I just went in and did what I felt like on the day, and the music that came out of it was a reflection of how I was feeling. I’m not sure how coherent it’ll all be as one project!
”After I’d finished the album, I realised that there were kind of two halves to it. One half is songs where I was being my extroverted self, expressing my innermost feelings to the world. The other half was wanting to shut the world out, withdraw into myself, and write about stuff that’s really close to me. I released ‘Antichrist’ and ‘Room Service’ first, as I feel like those two are perfect opposites - they represent both sides of the album.
”I wrote ‘Superbloodmoon’ with the amazing artist, d4vd. We were both in London and I wanted to write with him. He has a lovely voice and I adore how he crafts his lyrics, so I ended up really loving the song and wanted it to come out.”
That leads us on to the singer’s most recent unlikely collaboration – ‘Diving’ with Bombay Bicycle Club.
”I did a bit of writing with Jack (Steadman) from Bombay Bicycle Club previously, so I already knew him and was a big fan,” says Humberstone. “They were working on their new album, and Jack reached out to ask if I wanted to be on ‘Diving’. He sent me the song and I loved it so much. It’s such a mellow banger. I feel really lucky to be a part of it - the song was already so beautiful without me. I wish I could say that I wrote it with him, but it was all them; it’s such an amazing track.”
As is clear from her music, the singer is a big pop-punk lover at heart. With the genre making a huge resurgence - the Paramore revival, boygenius touring, MUNA playing Electric Picnic – I’m curious if this makes Holly’s baby-punk heart happy?
”It really does!” she laughs. “I mean, it’s my favourite type of music and especially the way females are running the show at the moment. There’s so much to be inspired by right now - I love all this music, I grew up listening to Avril Lavigne and Paramore. What defines the genre for me are the really gritty, personal and intense lyrics these bands are writing. I love to see people not refining their songs so much, and writing and playing however they want.”
When it comes to her own music, Humberstone tries to steer away from labels.
”I feel like putting yourself into a box just creates boundaries,” the singer explains. “I don’t go into the studio and say, ‘I need to fit into this slot today’. I just write about what I feel like at the time, and use whatever sound comes out that fits with the lyrics.
"I feel like there’s such variation in the album – there’s dance-y tracks, there are some more keys-heavy songs, and stripped back ones. I try not to think about it all too much, I just do what I feel and make sure the lyrics are really personal and true. I feel like that’ll hold it together enough.”
Stream Paint My Bedroom Black on Spotify below.