Maryland alternative rockers Hollowed Sky have honed a powerful, engaging rock sound that lures you in and has you hooked for even more.
The band proudly self-produces and records its own music and will be opening up for (Hed) p.e. – one of our favourite bands growing up – later this month. So it’s clear to see they have plenty going for them.
They sent us their latest track Baltimore, which is the first to come from their brand new EP Strings, which was released yesterday (29 February), and deals with the corruption and inept leadership in the city.
Baltimore begins slowly with drawn-out vocals over a little riff, then a cry of “‘Cause nobody cares about these streets,” then gradually builds up in intensity. “Calls of “Guns. Crime. Dimes.” build into a huge singalong chorus “‘Cause no one will let us grow Under this hell we know No one to teach their young Function of plans unknown,” which gives way to a big guitar solo.
And a second chorus is followed by a bigger, longer solo, which drops into almost spoken-sung vocals “Statistics will show you the numbers of loss, But that means nothing when it is one of your own, And it plays out like horrors you see on the screen Of a movie or something you would not believe, When you look at the screen all you do is just cry, At the hit that you take when it’s deep in your pride, Still you struggle to get up and get on your feet But you get up and go out, you get up and go.”
That gives way to another big chorus that feeds into heavy guitar flourishes and vocal cries. Spoken lyrics come in over laid-back guitars to bring the track to a calm ending. It’s pretty damn impressive, so check it out in the video below:
We had a chat with the band to find out more. Read on below…
GR: Who are Hollowed Sky? And where are you from? What’s the backstory, how did you get together?
HS: “Hollowed Sky is Stephen Berchielli on guitar, Charles Rupertus on bass, Joe Bradshaw on drums, and Jay Orem on vocals. We formed in November 2016 as all of us were looking for a new music project after others had fizzled out.
“Our members do have a long history of playing together in different combinations in various previous projects, but this was the first time the four of us had joined forces together. We present ourselves as primarily an Annapolis based band because it’s geographically central to where we all live and rehearse, but Jay (lyrics/vocals) resides in the city of Baltimore.”
GR: You’re about to release Baltimore. What should people be expecting from the song?
HS: “Baltimore was the last song to come together for the new EP, and it was born out of an extended jam session. Basically all of the riffs were written during a single jam, and then we went back through and arranged the parts in the weeks that followed. The lyrics came last, and are inspired by Jay’s time living in the city, and dealing with inept and corrupt leadership.
“With many of the songs on our first EP we were truly just getting started with writing, and hadn’t fully defined our sound yet. We feel that we have truly defined our sound with the new EP, and this song is a big part of that.”
GR: How would you describe your sound to people that haven’t listened to you yet?
HS: “That’s always hard, and sometimes we have to rely on what listeners tell us. We hear people mention bands like Tool and Incubus, but we are really trying to do our own thing.”
GR: What influences you to write music? Any key themes or topics that you write about?
HS: “Lyrically, the new EP covers a lot of ground, including themes of addiction, cancer, being driven to the point of insanity, and inner city struggles. As far as the music itself, most of our songs originate from a starting point of one or two riffs that we jam on, and if we like where things are headed, we just expand on them until we are happy.
“We record a lot of our band practices, and sometimes to come up with arrangements we will import the files into our recording software and organize the parts digitally to give us an idea of what works and what doesn’t.”
GR: Which bands/musicians are/have been your strongest musical influences?
HS: “In no particular order: Tool, Radiohead, The Antlers, The National, Faith No More, Nirvana, Elbow, Queens of the Stone Age, Led Zeppelin, Soundgarden, Ministry, Alice In Chains, Pink Floyd, Incubus, Baroness, 311, Sublime, Mae, The Juliana Theory, Pantera, Weezer, etc…”
GR: What have you got coming up in 2020?
HS: “We’re most excited about releasing our new album on Leap Day, 2.29.2020! Other than that, our goals are to play more shows this year, and just try and gain some new listeners and fans out in the digital streaming world and continue to grow our fan base. We also have a show lined up on 21 March opening for (Hed) p.e., which we are very excited about!”
GR: Anything else you’d like people to know about you/your music?
HS: “We self-record and produce all of our music and artwork, and that DIY spirit is something that is very important to us, and that we are proud of.”