Newcastle’s The Hollow have been steadily making a name for themselves after the release of their debut EP, and touring with the likes of Rise And Fall, Carpathian, Blkout and Homewrecker. The band’s bass player James and guitarist Shaun answered a few questions for us.
Start off by stating your name, what you play in The Hollow and your favourite alcoholic beverage?
James: James, bass, Manhattan.
Shaun: Shaun, guitar, imported beers that are actually imported, not brewed here by Fosters or whoever. Australian Heineken tastes like shit.
Can you tell us a bit about how the band formed?
James: Aaron and I wanted to start a new band that was a bit heavier, we knew our good friend Jesse was keen to sing in a band so Aaron wrote a few songs, we got together and jammed a couple of songs. After a few months Kyle joined on drums and Shaun joined as a second guitarist.
Shaun: as a bit of trivia, the demo was recorded in my living room, and the first hollow show was on my birthday, if I remember right?
Who would you say are the band’s main influences musically?
Shaun: We all listen to a lot of different music, but the current sound of our recorded work is probably more influenced by Entombed, Integrity, Converge, High on Fire, Ringworm, Rise & Fall (yes, we know), Neurosis, Cursed, Tragedy, a bunch of other heavier bands but they’re probably the most notable. A lot of the newer material we’ve been writing has a bit more of a diverse influence, outside the genres of metal and hardcore.
How would you describe the band’s sound to someone who has never heard the band before?
Shaun: Mash the above bands together into a ball, and then bounce it a few times. It might sound a bit like that.
James: The ball would have a somewhat Cleveland-esque sound to it, maybe if Integrity were an indie band.
Shaun: Some people might argue against that Cleveland claim, we probably need more Melnick solos. To be honest I don’t really like this question, because I don’t exactly know how to answer it without sounding like a wanker.
How did the band decide on the name “The Hollow”?
James: We originally came up with the name as a reference to “Hatful of Hollow” and Integrity’s song “Hollow”. We had to add THE to the start of Hollow because some nu-metal band emailed us saying they had a trademark or copyright on the band-name and that we had been inconveniencing them because they had been getting a large amount of phone calls from fans asking them if they were playing with Carpathian and Shipwreck in NSW. After changing the name to The Hollow we never heard from, or of them, again.
Shaun: I kind of wanted a new name after this happened, mostly because I hate stuffing “the” on the front of band names, but it really doesn’t matter that much in the end.
The band’s self-titled EP has been out for a while now. How well was the EP received?
James: As far as I know it has been received fairly well, we’ve sold a few copies and what I’ve heard from people who have heard has been pretty positive. I can’t actually say that I’ve seen any reviews or anything so I wouldn’t really know, haha.
Shaun: I’ve also heard there’s a pretty unfavourable review of it by Cade who was in Benchpress in his zine. Someone should send us a scan of it, I am genuinely interested in reading this.
Who did you record the EP with?
James: We recorded with Mat Taylor in Newcastle, then got the tracks mastered by Jack The Bear at Deluxe Mastering in Melbourne.
Shaun: This was recorded in his bedroom. Mats a genius and really came through with the goods for us. Jack was also awesome to work with.
Marty from Carpathian released the EP through his label, Dead Souls Records. How did this deal fall into place?
James: Marty got a copy of our demo and just got in contact with us through email and said he’d been listening to the demo, and was going to be starting up a small, independent label and that he was keen to release any upcoming release we were planning. It sort of went from there.
Before the EP was released, Marty said the EP would be released on vinyl as well as CD. Is the vinyl release still happening?
James: You’d have to ask him about that, haha.
Last December the band toured with Rise And Fall and Blkout. What was that tour like? Any interesting stories from the tour you’d like to share?
James: The tour was really fun and it was awesome to play with those two bands because they were really good guys and amazing to watch every night. I was definitely nervous about playing with Rise and Fall before the tour because their music had had a lot of influence on us, but they were really down to earth and cool to tour with. Some interesting stories would definitely include Biggie’s continued obsession with purchasing stick-mag available at the first servo we stop at and the quotes “IT’S DELICIOUS” and “IT HAS MELTED CARAMEL”.
Shaun: Driving from Adelaide to Melbourne overnight was totally fucked, I really hate that drive. I passed out on a table at Ding Dong while BLKOUT were playing due to lack of sleep and a lot of drinks. The Bald Faced Stag sound guy is still terrible and decided to turn the mics off on Rise & Falls amps while they were playing, which, if anyone is wondering, is why they didn’t sound as loud as they should’ve that night. We visited the big banana at Coffs, I was tired and pissy and pretty reluctant to go in but then I had an icecream which I managed to smear all over my face and walk around like a small tourist child. This made me happy. Our tour guy Daniel Gibson decided to have way too many pank dranks at thriller in Brisbane, which pretty much provided the nights entertainment of vomitory hilarity until Wim decided it was a good idea to try to get everyone to go to the strippers (who had closed their doors due to curfew at that time)
The band has been a bit quiet since that tour. What has the band been up to since then?
James: We’ve been jamming and writing pretty constantly.
Shaun: We’ve also managed to get banned from probably the most important venue left in Newcastle.
When can we expect to see a full-length release by the band?
James: Hopefully this year, we’ve got a bit of writing to go first.
Shaun: Definitely this year. Recording in winter.
What is the band’s songwriting process like? Do you all chip in or is someone the main writer?
Shaun: Aaron and Jesse wrote most of the material from the Demo and EP, I chipped in a little on the EP though with one whole song and bits and pieces for the others. James and I have been writing some of the newer material this time around, so I think the songs will be pretty varied in sound, and hopefully it doesn’t come across as genre confused.
You played with the mighty Converge the other night, what was that show like?
James: Pretty amazing. They were just as intense live as I built them up to be in my head, it was good to play with them and not kook it.
Shaun: Absolutely ridiculous. They are probably in my top 5 favourite bands ever, I never thought I would ever get to play with them.
What are your thoughts on the current Newcastle hardcore scene?
James: I haven’t been to a show in Newcastle for a while so I’m not really sure, haha. There are a few good young bands and Dropsaw’s new album will hopefully renew a lot of interest in hardcore in Newcastle and some more good bands will hopefully spring up.
Shaun: Pretty dead, I can’t really think of any younger guys with bands besides Violence. It’s a shame because there are a few kids around with their heads screwed on but no bands. Also doesn’t help that the community has essentially fallen apart, probably because of venues reluctance to hold shows anymore.
Who are some of the best new bands you have seen lately that we should be checking out?
James: Ghost Town (even though they’re not really new), Legions and The Weight.
Shaun: The Weight were ripping in Adelaide. Legions as well in Sydney. Jerk Store from Canberra were really fucking cool the other week in Canberra. They’re not that new but Marathon are really good. Haven’t really seen too many new bands lately which sucks.
What is the most memorable show the band has played and why?
James: I have hilarious memories of a certain show where the rest of the band was pretty wasted and I think Jesse hit a few people with the mic, fights broke out, Biggie poured beers onto his kit and Shaun soloed for the majority of the set. Not necessarily memorable for the right reasons, haha.
Shaun: I’d probably agree with what James said. Other than that, Converge, and probably the No Apologies last show.
If you could tour with any three bands, past or present, who would they be and why?
Shaun: Tom Waits, we wouldn’t exactly fit in but fuck it would rule. Would like to do an actual tour with Converge instead of just one show. Other than that, I dunno, Metallica?
What were your top 5 favourite releases of 2009?
Shaun: In no particular order and these are just off the top of my head, Glitter & Doom by Tom Waits, Girls by Girls, Axe to Fall by Converge, Our Circle is Vicious by Rise & Fall, Farm by Dinosaur Jr. There was a huge amount of great records from last year.
James: Obviously Rise and Fall and Converge’s albums. If The Sleeping Eye by Iron Age came out last year then that as well, though I can’t really remember. Sex Wizard’s album is probably one of my favourite Australian releases from last year. The Eternal by Sonic Youth too.
What are the band’s plans for the rest of 2010?
James: Write, record, play more shows and hopefully tour.
Shaun: Getting banned from more venues nation wide. Actually getting the album out in time for the end of the year.
Any last words or shout outs?