Hollow Earth: «Although we are three,we act like one»
The band released From the Beginning to the End, their first album
During the promotion of their first album, From the Beginning to the End, Hollow Earth contacted us to present us their work.You can entirely download the album from their web or listen the songs one by one on streaming. As simple as that!
The music of Hollow Earth is a mixture of industrial metal, electronic and sounds we usually identify with dance music. Do you aproove the descrition? How would you define your proposal?
Mike: It's a good definition. The truth is it's difficult to stick to a particular style or combination of many when it comes to define our music, which I suppose happens to many bands. Depending of the song de could say it has more of this or more of that, but we really like experimenting and play with styles and arrangements.
Pol: Very roughly, our main objective is to mix the electronic music, or dance music as you said, along with raw elements of pure metal, rock or hardcore creating a fusion which goles from Industrial to Techno Rock depending on how we have approached the song. That gives us freedom when it comes to composing as we can play with different styles.
Which piece puts every member of the band in this puzzle?
Mike: Bufff! It's hard to say, because although we are three, we act like one assuming the functions together. We only act separately when we play, each one his instrument. But taking the decisions, composing the lyrics, the music, electing the sound and everything else we do together. It is true that depending of each song the percentage of involvement changes we always participate together.
In which bands did you play before?
Mike: Before being part of this project i played guitar with More Than Seven Words and drummer in Tekrujo & The Krujen. For a while I only did sound production till Redshadow (Javi), Pol and I, formed Hollow Earth. I am also drummer in a band of classic rock and pop versions, The Opends and in the metal band Dramaticide.
Pol: This is my first time as lead singer, before I was the drummer of Six Coins Coins, playing with Redshadow and later with another band called Sheepfold Sling where I met Mike, since he recorded, mixed and mastered our first EP called Four Walls, where he also did a great job as a producer. I'd like to add that Javi (Redshadow), is the guitar of the nu metal famous band Evangelion.
One of the things I like about your music is that the songs, despite being quite long, are interesting from the first listen. To what extent you intend to investigate, play, innovate or repeat formulas already known? Is the composition spontaneous or do you work a lot each song?
Mike: Our intention is to experiment the music inside us, for that we'll probably always have to play and explore. We don't care to "innovate" or "repeat a formula". There are no rules in this, there is no "right" or "wrong". When we write a song, I think we are like the majority of the musicians, there is a previous intention of making a song a certain way and sometimes is very spontaneously, although the music is alive so the song evolves unexpectedly. You could reach that main idea or reach an unexpected point... Or you can't get nowhere and have to "park" the song for a while. Actually you can compose a song from ten minutes to more than a year, depending of how inspired you are.
Pol: To be honest, we created the band experimenting. The three of us played, mostly, rock, metal, punk and a little electronic (Mike was more experienced with his electronic proposal, Digital Me). Personally, I was always fascinated by bands like The Prodigy, Celldweller or Pendulum like Redshadow and Mike, so we decided to get together to see "what would come out of it". Gradually, we discovered our sound and what we could do, never stopping taking risks and experimenting with new tools like Pro Tools, Ableton Live or Reason, so that repeating and abusing the same formula would be out of the question, something basic when trying to be in a constant evolution. Like this, the composition may arise in several ways. Any of the three can work from home, using the tools mentioned above to compose an electronic base that we later show everybody. There are songs that we start from zero in Mike's studio from a guitar riff or a melody. As you can see we don't follow a strict system, we rather play with the synergy each can offer.
Visitors can download the album from your web site. Is that increasing the number of your followers? What is your relation with the public online? What reception did your music have outside our country (Spain)?
Pol: Internet helped us broadcast our music. It's true that with Spotify and other streaming services like Bandcamp, the public can listen to you without buying your work, but we wanted our first album to be like a presentation card available for those who wanted to hear us. Our main objective was that as many people as possible could have access to this album whenever and wherever they wanted and we're very happy with the result. The downloads are increasing as well as the visits to our site from all over the world which become followers of the social networks we use. We try to be as active as possible without overloading and we also try to have feedback with the public, responding to their comments on Facebook, Twitter or YouTube. The album had very good reviews on national music media and webzines, and the foreign audience had very positive first impressions.
Why did you separate the album in two parts From the Beginning and To the End? I thought a lot before asking, I promise, hehe.
Pol: [Laughing] It just happened. When we decided it was time to record, we realised during pre-production that we had very dark thematic and instrumentation and others the opposite. We worked the light and darkness concept thinking it was great for the album. We collaborated with Irene Alcón for the design, simply reflecting both sides of that concept, which we think she did perfectly. We didn't see any inconvenient in separating it, as it was for the free download and the concept of duality was great for the album.
What do you do when you have to replicate live the studio sound? Do you use recorded tracks or skip them?
Mike: Simple, suppressing what each one of us plays on the album, leaving the synth and the additional drum machine. We shoot that live and each plays his instrument. Sometimes a voice arrangement overlaps and we have to leave it on the synths, but these are just small details.
Which gear, instruments, amplifiers, software do you use to record?
Mike: We used it all experimenting and finding our own sound. For this album we recorded twice the drums: one natural which we didn't use in the end; and another with acoustic cymbals and snare and some more digital toms, kick bass and pads, which we did use for the album. Something like that happened with the guitar, we recorded it with a tube amp (Triple Rectifier by Mesa Boogie) and the recorded line, using one or another in every riff. As software, we used Pro Tools as base, which is if not the most powerful, a referent for professional music production, very versatile in the future. Almost all of the synths, drums and bass guitar we do with Reason, which is great and blends perfectly with Pro Tools. The good thing is that is very easy to go from the demo to the album, changing it for better quality sound.
Where did you film 'Hell'? Who has the idea of using the venetian masks?
Pol: 'Hell' was entirely filmed in Villalba, north of Madrid. I'd like to thank the great work of Martin Facci, who made the video inspite of the limited resources. 'Hell' tells the story of a transformation, of an obscure ritual of secret societies and of a band, all in the style of Dante Alighieri's La Divina Comedia. We wanted to show in our video different personalities and demons and found in the venetian masks the perfect resource. I got the idea from Eyes Wide Shut, the famous scene where Tom Cruise crushes a masonic ceremony.
What are your projects for the near future?
Pol: We could tell you that this year we'll release the second video clip, although I'm not allowed to say for which song was chosen. I could give you almost an exclusive, we're re-editing From the Beginning to the End to include amongst other a complete remastering of the album. And at last we'll like to launch our second album next year which is in pre-production and has not a release date yet.
Thank you very much and good luck ;-)
Pol + Mike: Thank you for the opportunity of talking about our work.
There's more in http://www.hollowearthofficial.com