Sydney melodic hardcore upstarts Hollow Heart released their current EP, ‘Solitude’, at the tail-end of 2015 and are looking to carry the work ethic and purpose into the New Year. Having just completed a run of east coast shows, the band chatted with Killyourstereo.com about their experiences on the road, influential records and plans for the next 12 months.
Thanks for chatting with us today.
Thanks for the interview, Kane. Glad we can be a part of it.
As an easy starting point, how did the recent interstate shows go?
The interstate shows [were] absolutely amazing. With us still being quite a young band, it’s been a great experience to hit the road and play around the country to crowds who have probably never heard of us before. Even the Newcastle and Coffs Harbour shows were amazing, as we still have not had the chance to play outside Sydney.
Talking about it being “a great experience”, I read, via a Facebook post, you slept overnight in the Dandenong Ranges National Park when in Melbourne. Overnight driving, sleeping in vans and roughing it on the road can be an interesting initiation for younger bands when touring. What insights did you gather from being on the road?
I will say there was absolutely no sleep had that night (laughs). It’s tough being stuck in a van with all of us, roughing it out like we have. But at the same time, I look at all other successful bands of our genre and see that they had to go through the exact same thing that we have on this tour. Northlane had Franklin the Van on their first few tours and would travel hundreds of kilometres just for a one off show to crowds much smaller than what they play to now, and there are plenty of other bands I can name that have had similar experiences in their early stages. So, I see what we have gone through on this tour as simply an essential initiation into what it’s like to be a young, touring band. We definitely know for next time that a bit more prior planning, sorting accommodation and better organisation skills could make life just a little easier on the road, so we aim to learn from our mistakes next time we hit the road.
Now that you’re performing more, how are you finding balancing band commitments with work and/or study obligations?
Despite our other life commitments, we feel that the band is our collective passion. We’ve had past members have to leave and part ways due to other commitments, and we understand that life gets in the way sometimes. But I can safely say that all of us put this band first in most situations. Of course, work and/or study are important aspects of our lives in the long term, but if our hearts were elsewhere I don’t think we would have ever committed to being a band, let alone, taking time out of work and studying to go on tour. So we find a way to juggle our work/studies with the band, and it hasn’t been a problem so far.
‘Solitude’ was simultaneously an outlet to raise awareness for mental illness. How therapeutic was the writing process?
For myself, as the vocalist, it was incredibly therapeutic. I wrote these lyrics in some of the darkest times in my life, with the concept of ‘Solitude’ being about my life experiences with depression and anxiety. To be able to let it all out in the form of music just helps me feel those emotions and understand that I have moved on and I am a better person because of it. And I think we all relate to that as a band, and it just adds to our on stage energy when we play live. What is even more rewarding is seeing audiences and listeners reacting positively to the music, as it shows what we have created has influenced others listening to it as well.
Previously, you also posted a picture of a fan that had decided to get a tattoo with part of the lyrics to ‘Namesake’ on their arm. What have been some notable experiences you’ve had with fans, which have had an impact on you?
There were actually twins who got the same lyrics from Namesake tattooed on their arms, and I had the opportunity to catch up with them at Unify [the other week]. I got to see the tattoos up close and have a chat with them [to find out] what those lyrics meant [to each], and I got to give them an insight into what those lyrics mean to me. That was definitely one of the best fan experiences I’ve had, and it is an honour that I have been able to help them somewhat through their struggles with depression, which is essentially what ‘Solitude’ is all about. We also had someone break into tears at our EP Launch Show last November, saying that they truly connected with the meaning of the lyrics, which again is amazing to hear and I am only glad I have helped them in some way.
For a band still in its infancy like Hollow Heart, what would you like to see improved to help younger bands get a foot in the door nowadays?
We want to see more venues either be created or come back to life in the scene right around Australia. I used to be able to go to a show every weekend at a local youth centre in Sydney when I was in my teens. Nowadays, those venues will not even put shows on and all other venues have been closing down, not only in Sydney but all over the country. We have plenty of bands and we have plenty of people that support the music. But if there is no venue for the bands and the supporters to do their thing, then there are no shows, and eventually it will die out. Simple.
As well as this, bands starting out will just give up because there is no platform for them to make it anywhere. We in Hollow Heart have been working with our booking agency, Zed Vegas Bookings, to bring back AA venues in Sydney and I know a few other people who are contributing to this vision. By actively working with councils and youth centres, we have already been able to bring back Penrith PCYC and start having some shows in Yass, ACT over the next few months, which is exciting to see.
What were some influential albums that got the ball rolling in terms of making you want to pick up an instrument and start a band?
That’s a tough one! For us individually, there are so many influences that got us into music. I think in terms of getting this band up and running, some notable albums include:
The Difference Between Hell and Home, by Counterparts
Dear G-d, by Being as an Ocean
Lost Forever // Lost Together, by Architects
Earthwalker, by In Hearts Wake
Those four bands/albums are definitely the major influences in the sound and creation of Hollow Heart.
What’s the aim for 2016? Is the priority to play as many shows as possible or get back in the studio?
Both, really. The next few months have some pretty exciting shows to be announced and we’re packed with shows. And now that we’re back home, we’re already into the writing phase of our next release. Nothing solid yet, but some pretty cool ideas coming along. We’re keen to keep playing live everywhere and anywhere we can, and release some new music that will shake things up a bit.
Thanks again for the interview. Appreciate your time.
Thank you. It’s been our pleasure.