by Richie Frieman
Our next stop on the PEV SXSW tour is with NYC’s The Hollows and a mantra we can really get behind. The 6-piece roots-rock band (Justin Aaronson, Jeffrey Kurtze, Daniel Kwiatkowski, Rob Morrison, David Paarlberg, Erik Saxvik) plays under the motto, “Together Together,” a phrase that they say means “If you come to one of our live shows, it’s completely inclusive and you’re a part of our family. Everyone at these shows are strangers and it’s encouraging to see everyone having a great time, and enjoying us and enjoying each other. And that’s what we want to promote with our music. It’s a great experience for everyone to share.” We couldn’t describe the purpose of music better ourselves, and this group of multi-instrumentalists (including players on mandolins, banjos, guitars, accordions, horns, harmonicas and more) is bringing great attention to a fantastic roots rock scene in New York City.
PEV: So great to meet you! Saw you guys play last night – it was so good. Thanks for hanging out with us. To get started – what was the first concert you ever attended?
The Hollows (TH): The first concert I ever saw was Billy Joel – I’m from North Carolina and I saw him in South Carolina – I think I drove two hours to see him. He had this teleprompter on his piano because he couldn’t remember any of the words to his songs. It was a little bit of a letdown. But, he sounded pretty good.
My first concert was U2 at Giants Stadium on the PopMart Tour.
I must have been 14 or 15 – it was either Ben Folds Five or The Who – I can’t remember which one.
The first concert I remember attending was in my church basement. For whatever reason, it was Billy Ray Cyrus. He was in town and he did a show for the elementary school. I think I was 10? It was awesome.
I saw Janet Jackson on her Janet World Tour…it blew my mind. Really made me feel some feelings, if you know what I mean.
I think mine might have been Rusted Root at SummerFest in Milwaukee.
PEV: So you guys saw some really cool artists…any dream collaborations you all have right now? Who would you want to play with?
TH: I think we would all have an interest working with Tom Waits. That would be an incredible, whacky experience. Any of our influences would be amazing to work with, but additionally there are some great folk bands in New York City that I think are very inspiring.
PEV: How many years have you guys been together?
TH: We’ve been together for about four years.
PEV: How has your music developed over that time?
TH: The heart of it is pretty much the same. For a while, we didn’t have a drummer. Justin has been a member of the group for the last year and a half, and that’s really changed us and helped us get bigger sonically. We’re still a folk band; we’re just a really loud folk band. We’re interested in finding sounds that amplify that folk feeling.
We were definitely a little more folky, a little more acoustic when we first started. But no one has yelled “Judas!” from the audience yet [laughing]. So, so far, so good.
PEV: Your current home base is New York City – how has it been playing on that huge scene?
TH: It’s awesome. We’ve gone from shows where there have been 5 to 10 people to bigger shows where there are 400 people if we’re lucky. It’s weird, but we think of playing in New York as being in a small pond – it’s hard to get out, it’s hard to get out on the road. So we’re trying to cast out the net a little wider, inviting more people to join the party.
TH: We have a live album out right now called Neverending Show – its 16 live tracks from over the course of the past year. A lot of rockin’ tunes.
PEV: Is there a favorite song off the record that you would want a new fan to check out?
TH: We have a handful of songs on the live album that we haven’t recorded in the studio yet, so that’s exciting for us. Fans will be able to get a taste of something new, and in a live setting. We think our fans will really get into that. There are two new tunes that are previously unrecorded, a couple of cover tunes.
PEV: So what can fans expect from a live show?
TH: Sweat. Expect to sweat. We like to think that our music will make people move and get some boots stompin’. Some square dancing, some hand clapping. Over-the-top toasts to life, death, religion.
PEV: So, what’s next for guys?
TH: We’re in the midst of a fundraiser right now for the next studio album. It’s going on right now – it’s called the Together Together Tour. That’s on PledgeMusic.com – you can also find it on our web site, thehollowsonline.com. The encouragement we’ve gotten from our friends, our family, our fan base has been amazing. We wouldn’t be here without them so this is to thank them for that, but we still need help to get more exposure. A stronger radio campaign, national press, the money to be able to tour. The minimum pledge is $10, but if you do that you’ll get the download of our live album, Neverending Show. And we’re giving away some other things like dedicated shows; someone requested we do a Bone Thugs-N-Harmony cover video so we’ll do that. It’s a fun, interactive way to talk to the fan base.
We’re trying to spread a message – something we’ve been trying to do for the last four years. Our motto is “Together Together” which means that if you come to one of our live shows, it’s completely inclusive and you’re a part of our family. Everyone at these shows are strangers and it’s encouraging to see everyone having a great time, and enjoying us and enjoying each other. And that’s what we want to promote with our music. It’s a great experience for everyone to share.
PEV: I can’t thank you guys enough for joining us – thank you!
TH: It was great – thank you!
(This article originally appeared here.)