Q and A with Jonathan Wolfe of The HollowedSeptember 26, 2012
The Hollowed is a talented band out of Los Angeles, CA that are starting to take the Twitter world by storm with their style of Post-Hardcore rock music. The band is made up of lead vocalist and guitarist Jonathan Wolfe, Bassist William Hathaway, Guitarist Jonathan Doster, and Drummer Javier Caudillo. At Barebones we got the privilege of speaking with the insightful and gifted vocalist Jonathan Wolfe about his band. Take a look below and gain a new perspective.
BS: How long have you guys been together?
JW: Well, we played our first show September 1st 2011 with A Static Lullaby and we recorded throughout the summer, so it’s safe to say we’ve been around for just a little over a year as “The Hollowed”
BS: How do you feel you best try to separate yourselves from a growingly crowded post-hardcore scene?
JW: I’ve noticed that every new band that comes out, tries to be heavier and even more technical than the last. As the months go by, a new group of kids tune their guitars down even lower and rely only on breakdowns and rhythms. I love a good heavy song, but I feel as if we’ve all forgotten what really stands out in music and that’s the melody. I stopped caring long ago about being “heavy”, I try to separate ourselves by writing extremely melodic music that stands on it’s own and then infuse it with catchy and obscure vocal melodies that will draw the listener more and more, so far it looks like it’s working! Haha
BS: What bands do you feel have influenced your music the most and why?
JW: I come from an older generation of post-hardcore, thus I draw my influences from then. Bands like Botch & Poison The Well taught me that open chugs aren’t the only key in being heavy. Where bands like Cave In and Saosin taught me how to tone it all down and be melodic. Other bands like Conditions, The Receiving End of Sirens, Lower Definition, As Cities Burn, Cursive, Life In Your Way, & Glassjaw.
BS: You recently released an EP correct? What was the creative process like for that record?
JW: That is correct! We just released an EP titled “So Far From Home” – I wrote this EP by myself about three years ago when I was living in Miami, FL. The writing process was simple, I’d sit down with a program called “Tabit” and I’d start writing all of my ideas down and from there I’d start creating the whole song. Tabit is a wonderful program because it allowed my entire imagination to shine through, though it uses “Midi” it let me write all of my drums, guitars, & other additional instruments without ever having to leave my bedroom. From there, after moving to California and forming a whole band, it was all written down already so it made learning it easier for the band. We went into the studio, recorded everything, made a few edits here and there and thus the EP was born!
BS: Was there an overall theme or message to this EP and if so what was it?
JW: Starting with the name of the EP “So Far From Home” it sort of alludes to an overall theme of “straying away”. Your home is a place where you feel at comfort and at ease, whether you find your home in a person, a state of mind, and a location. This EP is about being pulled away from it all and then fighting to find your way back. Think about those times in life where you think you’ve reached the lowest of lows and you feel completely vulnerable, bare, & unequipped for life. This is what this EP talks about, it lets the listener know that “hey, I’ve been there before, and I know you have too! And that’s okay!” I’d go into detail about each song, but I’ll leave that for the listener to sit down and figure out, nothing makes me happier than knowing a fan listened to the music, pulled up the lyrics and really looked for meaning within a song.
BS: What has the response been like to the EP?
JW: So far, so good! We just need to continue to push this EP and get more and new listeners! :] I’m trying to do some big things for our community through music, but first, I need to establish a large fan base to do so!
[trying to see if we can pull some more details on this for you all]
BS: Are there any plans for a full-length album in the near future?
JW: We’re actually going to continue to release EP’s every single year! Once we sign with a label, I definitely have some big plans for a full-length. It’s going to be one big piece of music that tells a story from beginning to end; I’m going to make it my most epic piece of work I’ve made! But for now, listeners will be experiencing EP’s with 5 to 6 six songs that will jump around the post-hardcore genre. Some heavier, metal songs and even some softer jazzier songs will be in the mix, it’ll surely grab the attention of many different listeners and maybe even get them into genres they never thought they’d get into!
BS: What was your most recent tour like? Do you have a favorite city to play in and why?
JW: It was fun! None of the other guys had ever been on tour, so it was a fun first experience for them all and a learning experience for us all as a team! On that tour, we had the most fun in Tyler, Texas! It was a huge festival; we met a lot of awesome fans and musicians. It made me extremely happy and excited to see so many kids still involved in their music scene, I at times wish that same sense of community existed in the city I currently live in.
BS: Have there been any interesting moments on any of your tours that you would like to share?
JW: Haha, on this last tour we had a show in Fayetteville, AR cancel on us as we were unloading all of our gear to play. Fast-forward to us travelling up and down the whole college town street just singing to strangers, meeting new fans and making friends. We turned a negative into a positive and ended up not only having tons of fun, but we made the most money that night than any other date on that tour.
[That sounds great, that would have been fun to see.]
BS: If you had the opportunity to tour with any band, who would it be and why?
JW: I’ll answer this question in two parts.
I’d love to have the opportunity to do a tour with The Word Alive, Sleeping with Sirens, Eyes Set to Kill, & For All Those Sleeping because they’re all dear friends of mine and I’d love nothing more than to have the opportunity to just spend a month on the road with a huge family of established friends.
But it’d also be a dream of mine to bring back bands like Botch, Poison The Well, Hopesfall, & Beloved and do a tour with them.
BS: You guys actually found me through Twitter, do you think Twitter has helped you in gaining a lot of fans?
JW: Twitter has definitely helped us out significantly, but it’s interesting, we nearly have 20k followers on Twitter but only 3.5k likes on Facebook, it’d be amazing if we could combine both social networking platforms!
[Go like their Facebook page and follow on twitter, stay informed. www.facebook.com/thehollowedla]
BS: I have seen a lot of positive feedback on Twitter from fans; do you think the social medias are making it easier for bands and fans to become more united? What does it feel like to hear this type of feedback?
JW: I have a love/hate relationship with social media, it has definitely made it easier for bands and fans to become united, but at the same time it’s sort of destroyed the “illusion” that so many kids loved having of their favorite musicians. Back when there was no MySpace, Twitter, or Facebook, your only opportunity of ever meeting these people was by going to their show and hoping to even catch a glimpse, nowadays if a girl is hot enough, she can just send a message to whatever band dude she fancies and the rest is history.
Basically, what I’m trying to say is that I love social media because it allows me to talk to fans, personally answer their questions and tell them how much I appreciate them for listening to the music that I’ve written. I just hate the fact that there are so many other people out there that use it for the wrong reasons; it makes us genuine musicians look bad, really bad. 🙁
BS: Do you have any advice for fellow newer bands out there? Maybe some advice you were given that has helped you?
JW: Sure! One of the most important things I tell people, is to never put their time into music unless they’re giving it their all. Music is an interesting career choice that has no guarantees, even if you work your ass off, there is no guarantee that you’ll make it, sadly this is an industry that relies on the “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know” principle and although there have been some amazing talents that have been discovered throughout the years, it’s not always guaranteed. So I tell every musician out there who wants to be in a band, get ready to work your ass off, not see any results and continue to work through it, because eventually something will happen, just don’t expect things to be handed to you, Rome wasn’t built in a day.
BS: Anything you would like to tell your fans out there or people that aren’t familiar with your music yet?
JW: Yes! To those of you reading this, please talk to us more often! We love answering questions and having small talk whenever possible! It’s hard for a handful of people to balance conversing with thousands of fans, but as long as they understand that we try to make as much time for them as possible whilst managing our personal lives and work then everything should be copasetic! :]
Also, we’re not your typical band and we like to experiment around with music, so I hope we can keep all of our fans around and even though you might not like one CD, I promise you might like the next, just give it all a chance, we won’t let you down! :] Much love!
The Hollowed are rightfully going places. These are one of the bands that I am unsure why no one has signed them yet. I think it is just a matter of time until these guys are putting out full lengths for us to hear. Until then we can live on a new EP every year. Take a look below at the great video for their single “I Was Once A Sinking Ship.” Enjoy.