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Oregon Musician: Astoria’s Holiday Friends

Astoria band Holiday Friends go melancholy


written by Ben Salmon

Since 2008, the Astoria band Holiday Friends has specialized in exuberant pop-rock music, stuffing songs with vibrant synths, driving rhythms and earworm melodies. That’s still true on the band’s new album, Night Terrors. But this time, the songs have a harder edge, with more noise and melancholy in the mix.

Singer/guitarist Scott Fagerland said Astoria’s persistently overcast skies may play a part in that tonal shift. But there’s more to it than just the weather.

“By the time we were finished writing Night Terrors, we were mostly in our late 20s, and with that simply came more life experience, particularly real challenges and hurdles … in our day-to-day lives,” he said. “As a writer for the majority of the lyrics, I wanted to be transparent with my struggles.”

Translation: The members of Holiday Friends aren’t getting any younger, and the dream they once had of making it big has given way to a more realistic view of success.

“We’ve learned how difficult (breaking through) can be,” Fagerland said, “but we’ve never given up on the idea of reaching a much wider audience.”

Having self-recorded Night Terrors in its own new studio, Holiday Friends is better equipped to reach more people than ever before. If it takes adding a bit of grit and gloom to the band’s pop sheen to do so, all the better.

“I like songs with some weight to them,” Fagerland said. “I find that I can listen to them more.”

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