Metal Call-Out first introduced our readers to Hollow in early March when Mat stumbled upon them opening for Orphaned Land at Foufounes Électrique in Montreal. Since then, we have had the privilege of speaking to the band on several occasions, featuring them on the site and sampling some of their music -- all of which eventually led to them inviting Mat, by virtue of him living in the area, to hang out with them backstage before they opened for Tyr.
Meeting with the band gave Mat the opportunity to sit down and discuss with Hollow everything from their origins and playing live to their hopes and plans for the future. I think it’s more than fair to assume that the future holds great things for Hollow and we wish them all the best. Be prepared, because Hollow will hold a regular spot on the site as we follow them on their journey. After the jump you can see the full interview with the band as well as pictures from their performance; above you can hear an exclusive track from the band titled ‘Sunriser’. -JDS
I had this interview with Hollow about 2 hours before their show began on May 2nd, 2010 at the Foufounes Électriques. Mott, Snow and Armaros were the ones who answered most of the questions. Each answer comes from the band, unless specified.
Where does the name Hollow come from?
Hollow: It fits with our music, as it is deep, dramatic and somewhat lugubrious. You know, nothingness creates these deep and reserved feelings that we portray through the epic music we play.
How did you guys from?
Hollow: Everything started when I (Snow) decided to make a power metal band with a long term friend. It was 5 years ago, and things went pretty bad at some point when one of the founding members was found dead after being lost for one month. Since that time I (Snow) am the only founding member with Ophelie who has been in the band for almost as long, surviving through most of the line up changes haha! Our style has evolved to a blackened death metal with each member adding his/her own touch to the band to form what it is now.
(On a side note, the drummer that I (Mat) saw on the last show left the band and they hired one for this show, Tommy McKinnon the present drummer for Augury. But, Alexief Delbes, who used to play in Soul of Darkness and Paroxysm is their new official drummer.)
Which bands influenced you the most?
Hollow: Dimmu Borgir, Iced Earth, Behemoth, etc. Just to name a few. Our songs have a diversified structure, so there’s a lot of influences from other bands/type of music. The point we are trying to make is, if it fits then we’re going to put it in the song.
The first time I saw you live, you told us that you would be releasing an album in May, how is it going? Is it ready?
Hollow: Well things have not went pretty well, especially with the drummer, who left recently. We did not sign with any label yet, so we will release an EP someday in 2010 and we hope to find a label soon because we have a complete CD already written.
What makes your band unique? Why would we listen to your band instead of another?
Hollow: Our band can reach a lot of metal fan and even non-Metal fans. Because we take inspiration from a lot of bands, death and black metaller can find their genre but because of the massive presence of the keyboard, any music-lover can find their niche. Each instrument is as important as the other one and each one of them brings their own style: we have thrash solos, melodic guitars, technical bass work and groovy drums.
With which band do you like playing with the most? And why?
Hollow: We would have to say Blackguard. We are friends and we have a lot of fun playing with them. We did a show with them where we only had a drum machine and the crowd still went totally crazy. The promoter found us so good that he eventually became our manager: Guillaume Lessard!
Do you have any funny story or anecdote to tell?
Hollow: We had a drinking contest with Battle Soul after the show with Suidakra and Orphaned Land. Battle Soul are Ontarian with Irish roots. (Side note to readers, there’s a big rivalry between Ontario and Quebec as who can drink more). So Battle Soul we arrogant and told us that we would get beaten easily but at the end of the evening, we had to bring back their guitarist because he was too drunk. Another funny story comes from the band Suidakra, they were drinking together and at the end of the night when the bar were closing ( at 3 am) they had to pull Marcus, the bassist, out of the bar. He could not understand that the bar was closing. In Germany bar never closes…
What’s your favourite album of 2009? 2010 up to date?
Hollow: For 2009, there were so many great albums but here’s the one we enjoyed the most : -Behemoth “Evangelion” -Diablo swing orchestra “Sing-Along Songs for the Damned & Delirious” - Megadeth “Endgame”and –Hypocrisy “A taste of Extreme Divinity” . For 2010 the albums are : -Finntroll “Nifelvind” and Temnozor Урочища Снов (Haunted Dreamscapes).
Is it difficult to form a band in Quebec?
Hollow: Yeah it’s very difficult, there are so many good musicians and every 2nd guy has a band. The competition is pretty hard. But the hardest thing is to find a good drummer, as they are pretty rare in Quebec or already taken!
Would you have any recommendations for a band starting in Quebec?
Hollow: Like the old expressions says, keep your friends close and your enemies closer. You got to be careful with who you are dealing with. Second advice, keep an eye on your competition. If you know what they are doing, maybe you can do better. You have to know people, music is a business and contacts are a must. You have to make compromises, it will never happen that everybody will be happy about something, you have to deal with that. Finally always drink water and take your vitamins :P.
Describe your process of writing the songs.
Hollow: We have a metaphor to describe how it works. Snow makes the skeletons of the song, then each member add the muscles around the skeleton. Adding their own touch to the songs. Mott is the “finisher” of the band, he puts the skin around the body so it looks nice and sound good. Armaros (the bassist) has is own way of writing down his parts. He likes to write them down in the night where it’s pretty calm and there’s nothing to disturbed him. Each member write their stuff on their side and then we all mixes it together.
What direction do you see your band taking in the future?
Hollow: We want to continue writing the music we like and to do an album. We want to be a family/friends that works in the same direction for the same goal. We don’t want to be just a bunch of people working together.
Who’s writing the songs? What are the main themes/subject?
Hollow: Snow is the main song writer. The goal is to tell a story about anything, it is just a way to escape reality. Usually Mott writes down the lyrics over Snow’s concept of songs. There’s nothing really specific about the themes/subject, we just take what comes to our minds and would be a good idea for a song. For example there’s a song called 'Landscape'.
Which was your favourite place to play? And why?
Hollow: We would have to say the Foufounes Électriques because we are well treated and the shows are always awesome over there. We have to give praise to Extensive Enterprise (http://www.eemontreal.com/) who makes really nice shows and gives a chance to a lot of unknown band to play.
A word to conclude this interview?
Hollow: Ta mère. J ( It’s a French word to say your mother)
This interview was really amazing, Theses guys are pretty funny and I had a good time talking with them. I wish the best of luck to them and a nice career. I must thank them for letting me go inside their ‘bubble’ of preparation before the show. It showed me a different view of shows.
*Where noted, photos courtesy of Frederic Seguin*