Hollow Earth: „I hope the lyrics will at least serve as some measure of substance along the way”
Hi! What`s up? What about the today weather in Michigan?
Hello. I’m currently in the midst of trying to tie up some loose ends regarding tour dates and of course, finally getting to these questions that I’ve neglected for quite some time now! Today’s weather in Michigan was rather pleasant. In fact, it’s been a pretty mild winter thus far.
How did the band form?
Let’s see, first off I’m Steve and I sing for the band. In 2010 I was fortunate enough to fill-in on bass for Shai Hulud for a handful of tours. That’s when I met Mike Moynihan, who was singing for Shai Hulud at the time and now plays guitar for Hollow Earth. We became buds pretty quickly. On my last tour with Hulud, in November of 2010, a young man by the name of Aaron Goodrich filled in on drums. The three of us bonded pretty hard on that tour and even joked about starting a band. Geography was not in our favor as Mike was living in Florida, Aaron was living in NYC and I was living/still live in Michigan. Ten months later through a strange turn of events, Aaron moved from New York to Michigan for the sole purpose of starting a touring band with me. When Mike heard about it, he wanted in and by the time he relocated to Michigan it was literally almost a year to the date that the three of us bonded on that Hulud tour. Weird, wild stuff. From there we recruited Jake Hicks on bass, Dave Giandiletti on the other guitar, and Hollow Earth was born. Since then Aaron has left the band, moved back to NYC and we now have another fellow Michigan native on drums, Jake Duhaime, which has been working out very well.
I found your 2 songs on some blogspot and it crushed me! It’s hardcore/metal on a very high level! How has it been received by the fans and media? Why only 2 songs? Are they representative of what’s to come?
First off, thank you, that’s very kind of you! Everything with this band thus far has happened very fast. We practiced 2-3 times a week throughout November and December of 2011 which resulted in a seemless collection of six songs. Feeling confident in the material we decided to self-finance a trip to Getaway Group in Massachusets with Jay Maas. To our surprise he was able to accomadate us much sooner than we had expected. By January 12th, we had a completed six-song EP in our hands. Our plan of attack was to shop the EP around to labels, in hopes of obtaining a tangible copy, preferably on vinyl! That’s where the 2 songs come into play… We wanted people to know we exist so we posted those two songs as a teaser of sorts while we worked on finding a home for all 6 tracks. The EP was written as a linear concept both musically and lyrically from start to finish. So taking a song like “There Will Come Soft Rains” out of context was a bit weird for us at first, but to answer your questions, yes, the 2 songs are very representative of the rest of the record and so far both songs have been received very well. We’ve had a slew of interesting reviews… Some with really, really nice things to say, some with not so nice things, and some that are quite comical regardless of the nature of the review! The EP is called “We Are Not Humanity” and came out on Panic Records, April 24th, 2012. The album is available for purchase on LP (one sided), CD or mp3 from www.panicrecords.net
Do you think you got the production you were looking for?
Absolutely! This was my second time working with Jay Maas and aside from having a track record that speaks for itself, he is a lot of fun to work with and a master of his craft. I’m by no means an expert when it comes to production, but I’m fairly certain that if you chronologically listen to a handful of records that Jay has done, you can hear a progressive improvement. He makes a solid effort to try new things and keep it interesting, as opposed to finding a formula that works and sticking with it. There’s really nothing worse (from a producation standpoint) than hearing multiple records by different bands that all sound the same. And even if I’m wrong, and the Maasman is guilty of this, he’ll make up for it in witty wise-cracks throughout the entire session… That much, is a guarantee!
Besides Hollow Earth, are you currently in other bands?
Yes, as a matter of fact I play guitar in a band called Great Reversals (who also recorded with Jay Maas) and I sing for a band called Tharsis They. Jake Hicks (bass) plays guitar for a band called End Trails. Jake Duhaime also plays drums in a band called From Hell. All of the aforementioned bands are actively based out of Michigan and can be found fairly easily on the internet. Should anyone be interested in more info, feel free to shoot us an e-mail at email@example.com
How big of a role do the lyrics play for the band, and music?
The lyrical content of our songs will always be at the forefront of what we do. I’ve learned a lot about life and myself through writing lyrics (for bands both past and present) and it’s certainly not something I take very lightly (for better or for worse). And though I have no idea what the specific lyrical future holds for Hollow Earth, I feel confident in saying it will be certainly be something we put a lot of thought and effort into.
Let’s do an analysis of the lyrics. They are based on the disappointment of the world. What do you think whether the direction in which humanity can chose to turn back?
The concept that our record (We Are Not Humanity) embodies is something I’ve been sitting on for nearly 3 years, and seeing it come to fruition was very exciting for me. All six songs are based on the writings of Daniel Quinn, particularly “Ishmael” and “The Story of B.” The record begins by clinging to the intrinsic notion that human beings magically inherited the Earth and are free to do with it as we please. By the end of the record we realize that it wasn’t always this way, that human beings once belonged to a community of life along with every other living creature on Earth. Whether or not it’s too late for the human race to alter its course is something I waffle on. More often than not I find myself rooting for some type of devastating apocalyptic ending. For it is far easier to turn a blind eye and mindlessly contribute to the problem than to implore myself to find effective and practical ways of contributing to the solution. At the end of the day, I don’t have a sound answer to your question. At one time I truly believed writing thought provoking lyrics and simply being outspoken could incite some sort of small scale revolution, even if only within the punk/hardcore subculture. These days I’m a bit more skeptical. To truly enact change I think you need to move beyond the limits of a subculture, which (again for better of for worse) is something I’m not quite ready to do in my life. As cheesy as it sounds, I hope the experience of playing music and traveling will be a stepping stone of sorts so that when the time comes I might find myself working towards greater change in the world… But as for now I’m selfishly enjoying the privilege of being able to pour my time and energy into this band. And so long as I am doing so, I hope the lyrics will at least serve as some measure of substance along the way.
What made humanity become a parasitic plague on the world and at what time did this happen in your opinion?
This is a great question. As I mentioned, the lyrical concepts were inspired by the writings of Daniel Quinn. In the novel “Ishmael” he goes to great lengths to answer this very question. I’m not sure how much I can offer in the way of WHY humanity has become a “parasitic plague” for that is rather complicated. But as far as WHEN, I agree with Quinn in saying that it began over ten thousand years ago at the dawn of the agricultural revolution.
Do you think people with each succeeding generation will improve the world or destroy it even more?
Ultimately my faith in mankind is generally pretty low, particularly on a grand scale. I would like to think that eventually push will come to shove and we’ll have no choice other than to take the necessary measures to mend our relationship with the earth and in my opinion, the sooner the better. For with each succeeding generation technology is only going to lead us further and further from being able to sustain ourselves should something catastrophic unfold.
How big a role in stupefying the society has a strong promotion of consumerism by media, concerns etc.?
Its role is undeniable. Mass media consumption can be just as helpful as it can be harmful. Unfortunately, in our culture it seems that the latter prevails. It’s really easy to just point a finger at the major networks and corporations controlling these mediums but it really boils down to the individual. For the most part, we have the ability and the means to subject ourselves to alternative media outlets and whether or not we choose to do so is completely in our control. For those of us who are priveleged enough to have a wealth of resources at our disposal (particularly Internet access), there’s really no excuse not to educate ourselves on political and social issues. However, most of our society is taught to accept things as they are without question from a very young and impressionable age which often results in a certain type of cradle to grave mentality, which gives mass media a virtually insurmountable advantage. It is for that very reason I’m thankful I was exposed to punk and hardcore, which urged me to start asking questions.
Do you solely find inspiration within the hardcore genre, or do you appreciate music like punk and crust as well?
We definitely draw inspiration outside the boundaries of the hardcore genre. Bands like Mastodon, Russian Circles, Propagandhi, and apparently Emperor and Behemoth (according to Mike) could be considered influences. If any of that qualifies as punk and/or crust I’m not really sure, you be the judge. We’ve been compiling a short mental list of records that all 5 of us equally enjoy in the van: Ghost “Opus Epoymous” – Foxy Shazam “Welcome to the Church of Rock and Roll” – Yuck “Self-Titled” – Propagandhi “Supporting Caste” and anything from Queen’s catalogue. I’m not sure how relevant that is in regards to our direct influence or inspiration on our music per say, but it’s what we’re collectively listening to!
You wrote that you like eating food in places we don’t live:) Could you tell something about your culinary discoveries?:)
Ha! That’s funny that you picked that out. Mike (guitar) and I are both vegan, and between our travels in Shai Hulud and now with Hollow Earth we’ve really become fond of spending ridiculous amounts of money at vegan restaurants wherever we go! Michigan isn’t the most vegan-friendly state, nor is Florida for that matter, so it’s quite exciting to see what other cities have to offer. However, we’ve quickly learned that we can’t keep breaking our budget night after night, so we started bringing a rice cooker on tour and have resorted to good ol’ rice and beans most nights, or the occasional Thai-curry experiment here and there! It’s fun. Most people are pretty baffled when they see a steaming pot near the merch table!
What next do you have planned for the band?
We are currently 5 days into a month long trek out to the west coast and back. We’re playing Rain Fest, which is extremely exciting for us! After that we have a short Midwest run with our friends in Like Wolves, then we do a couple weeks in the Northeast with Reign Supreme immediately followed by a handful of shows with This is Hell in July. Our hope is to tour as much as possible. We’ve done a healthy amount of touring thus far in the States and we’ve been having a blast, so we hope to keep it up. Our record just came out recently, so we plan to continue to support it as much as possible. It’d be nice to hit Canada and hopefully Europe as well in the near future… However, we’re also getting anxious to write some new material, which would mean taking a break from the road. So, at this point who knows? We shall see.
Anything you’d like to add to conclude this interview?
Well first and foremost, MY APOLOGIES for taking so long to complete this interview! I’m dealing with a terrible combination of being a procrastinator, a perfectionist, and the always busy “band dad!” I can’t thank you enough for taking an interest in our band, it’s quite flattering! Cheers.