ON BEAT: Hollow Head
The members of Hollow Head reunited just outside the Bell Tower after a summer hiatus for an effortless post-move-in jam session.
With Aidan Hearn on bass, and Jack Hodde and Jack Lare on guitar, the trio blends vocals, while Sam Keller keeps the beat on drums.
The band combines inspiration from the Beatles, Phish and Talking Heads to embody a signature live sound.
Borrowing musical elements from a plethora of genres — psychedelic rock, pop, funk, R&B and dance music — the emerging jam band is heading into this semester focused on perfecting its groove and building a foundation of fans.
Hollow Head hopes to strengthen its connection with its audience through a free flowing funkadelia style as it builds anticipation for a debut release.
The following interview has been edited for length and clarity.
How do you describe Hollow Head’s music?
Hollow Head: We started last semester pretty focused on a funky sound and really pushing that forward. There’s a lot of free-form and improvisation sort of stuff going on. It’s definitely a genre that takes a lot of influence from psychedelic music, from jam music and from electronic dance music, on the drums in particular.
What does the collaboration process look like?
Hearn: It usually starts if someone has a voice memo. Most of the time recently it’s been Hodde who will just be like, “Hey I've got this thing. Here it is. Tell me what you think about it.” Or we’ll just be rehearsing, and we’ll jam on something and be like, “That was kind of fire ... can we run that back?” It’s like a jam band approach to what modern music is like today.
Hodde: We’ll get together a lot of times and quite often not a single word is said and we’ll just kind of start playing a little melody, or picking up something and playing some chords, and everyone will jump in in time and just whatever happens, happens. Sometimes they turn into songs and sometimes they’re just played once and never again.
What is your prime creative environment? Playing live on a stage or recording in a studio?
Hodde: There’s a lot of strength in both. We’re trying to work on how to harness our live sound and put it into a studio setting in a way that represents Hollow Head, but in a way where it doesn’t take away from the spontaneity of what we do live but also doesn’t turn into an endless garble of parts. Our interplay as musicians just has so much to do. So, a lot of times, live is where we can be creative and write in real time.
There are a couple bands with the same name ... how do you compare or stand out from those bands?
Hearn: We’re just doing our own thing. We’re not trying to copy anybody else who just ironically has the same name. Lare thought of the name and we were like, “It’s kinda catchy.”
Hodde: The artists that are on streaming called “Hollow Head” have less than 1000 listens. So, I think if we can get a platform to sort of launch ourselves off, it won’t be long until we can build up a little bit more of a following and get our name out there a little more than some people that don’t have that many streams.
What will your debut release look like?
Lare: We played a couple of shows at the 404 Kitchen last semester, just to get our start playing out, and we recorded our whole second show. But the quality isn’t great, and we were planning on releasing that. And since then, we’ve been working on this new song called “Viper.” So, we’re kind of in a place where we don’t know what we want to put out first, but it’ll be A-side, B-side.
Keller: I feel like the old-fashioned A-side, B-side single is the release format we’re leaning towards.
How does Hollow Head push its boundaries and comfort zones?
Keller: I feel like the completion of this single, “Viper,” since it was born out of the studio world first instead of the live world, I think that’ll be a great opportunity to push our own boundaries and get into potentially uncomfortable situations where we have to get creative in other ways than what we’re used to.
Hodde: Sometimes overextending ourselves. We all have a lot of background within music, playing in bands and with other musicians, but this is kind of the first time that any of us have been this dedicated to a group. So, a lot of it is new to us. Everyday we’re getting a little bit out of our comfort zone by trying to figure out how to just navigate between Nashville and Belmont.
How do you influence each other?
Lare: We’re constantly throwing ideas at each other that the other people would not have thought of that come from inspirations the others don’t even know. So, we get a lot of different influence just from each other, really. Just watching Hoddie play guitar, or Aidan play bass or Sam play drums just makes me totally inspired to go make something new.
Hodde: There is a lot of challenge in trying to sort of blend your own style with other musicians’ interest and all that. So, we’re sharing each other bands we’ve never heard of, bands we wouldn’t normally listen to, and then having to take some of that influence from unfamiliar music and putting it into our music.
PHOTO: Hollow Head Photo courtesy of Hollow Head
This interview was conducted by Emma Halloran
Correction: Aidan Hearn, Jack Lare and Jack Hodde all take on the vocal role, not just Aidan Hearn.