Since the official start of their project 14 years ago, local band The Hollow still aim to give their 100 percent when recording and performing. For Unsigned Band Week, they talk changing their band name, their favorite shows and looking towards the future.
Where are you all from?
All four members are from the Morris/Somerset County Area. James Vilade (singer) and Kevin Barry (drums) are from Bernardsville, Brian Wilson (guitar) is from Mendham, and Jim Goodwin (bass) is from Gladstone.
How long have you been a band and how did you get started?
James and Brian actually started the project in 2003 as an acoustic duo in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. We were under a different name then and moved back to NJ after a year at the beach, and turned the project into a full band. We used to be called The Meathooks and our first CD was recorded under that name actually. The Meathooks had a little less hard rock feel at the time with a little more jam-band-type element to it. You can find the CD on iTunes still.
How would you describe your music to someone who has never heard you before?
The music has a hard/modern rock feel with a serious groove to it. It’s a super full-sounding power trio with the fourth member just singing. A great compliment we get a lot after a show is, “I can’t believe all that music and that sound just came from 3 guys.”
We also have our ‘90s and early ‘00s roots, so we still play guitar solos in a lot of the songs and tend to jam them out live with some improve.
What was your latest release of music and can you talk about that a bit?
Our latest release is for a new single called “Killing Time.” This was released on Aug. 8, 2017 and we shot a video for it. It’s now available anywhere digital music is sold. With the way the music industry is now, especially in the hard rock world, we decided to put out a single as opposed to a full album for the first time. We just thought it made more sense and it would resonate better with our fans and friends, and potentially get more eyes and ears on it. The response has been amazing so far and it’s only been three days. Great sales and hits on the single and video so far, which is exciting.
What is your writing and recording process like?
We’ve always been a band since day one that has written the music first and then written the lyrics to the music. All 25 of our songs that are released were done this way. Since the band is basically a power trio with a singer, Brian would usually come in with a riff, or sometimes a finished song with all parts, and we’d jam it. From there, James would create the lyrics and we’d then typically play around with the arrangement to make the song make the most sense. We usually play the arrangement live and see how it goes over and then end up switching it around a few times before recording.
We’ve recorded everything we’ve done locally with our bud (and ex bass player) Steve from smb-recordings.com. We really prefer to record with someone who’s inside our circle and that has played with us for like a decade. It takes a lot of pressure off the whole process and he really knows what we’re trying to accomplish in the final product unlike a stranger would. We’re really happy with the recording on the new single and we achieved the sound we were striving for 100 percent.
What are current projects you are working on?
All four guys in the band play in a few different projects, so there’s always stuff happening on the side: whether it be writing new music, studio work, or playing full band or acoustic cover gigs all over the local NJ scene.
Is there any significance behind your band name?
The band name is actually a play on a place called “The Hollow” near where we all grew up as kids in the ‘80s that our parents didn’t want us to go it. It’s a lot different 25 years later, but we wanted a name that had some sort of meaning or inside joke between the band as opposed to just picking two words that are meaningless out of a dictionary.
What is your favorite memory as a band?
I think some of our national opening slots at venues like Starland Ballroom, State Theatre, and Sherman Theater are up there in the ranks. One that really sticks out was we entered the Hard Rock Calling contest which was a global contest to go and play main stage at the Hard Rock Calling Festival in London with acts like Bon Jovi. We actually won the entire northeast region out of hundreds of bands and took first in all of the rounds in NYC, but unfortunately ended up placing second globally so we never got the trip to London [laughs].
Either way, we got a ton of press, met a ton of huge industry people and played some amazing shows in front of lots of important and influential people. It was a great experience and taking second out of a few thousand bands was noteworthy to us for sure!
What are your goals for the future as a band?
I think at our age and for how long we’ve been doing this our goals and expectations are pretty realistic these days. We understand the current music industry and how much it’s changed, especially in our style of music. Our goals are really to make great music that we all dig and to get it out to as many people as we can and hopefully they dig it too. If that helps build our fan-base the big shows will start coming more frequently and that will continue to open more doors and help us climb the ladder.
What are your plans for the rest of 2017? 2018?
We plan to play quality shows over quantity, and to release another single or two in the coming six months. “Killing Time” came out three days ago so we’re riding this wave for a bit.
Where can readers find your music?
Our music is for sale on our site thehollowband.com/store, iTunes, Amazon Music, Spotify, Groove Music and basically anywhere where digital music is sold.
The Hollow are playing Polo’s Bar and Grill in Netcong, NJ on Sept. 29. For more information, visit thehollowband.com.