1) How did you all meet and decide to create a band?
Well, Jonathan and I have known each other the longest. We went to college in Greeley together MANY moons ago where we studied musical theater (I know, I know). It wasn't until well after college that we started making music together. The Hollow started about four years ago and it was just a passion project of mine. I didn't have a band at the time, so the VERY first EP was performed by me. The band was just a thought until I wanted to start playing these songs live. Jonathan has been in since the first show and Jason joined the band a year ago after his last project (The Epilogues) broke up.
2) How was the name "The Hollow" decided? Does it have any special meaning?
I appreciate you asking this question. The original name of the band was “Into The Hollow” from one of our favorite Queens of the Stone Age tunes, but since the name change it’s evolved into something that’s so much more. The Hollow really does invoke a sense of darkness. It’s meant to get people to start thinking about the things that make us feel uncomfortable from the societal norm. Death is inevitable, so instead of being afraid of it, we should embrace it and use it as motivation to do exactly what we want to do every day we're alive.
3) What 3 people inspire you most?
I'm incredibly inspired by Dave Grohl (because duh), Trent Reznor (his creativity to constantly push the envelope for live production is ASTOUNDING), and die-hard music lovers (without them, we'd be doing this for nothing).
4) Your newest single "Sleep Talkin'" came out a few months ago, anything you'd like to share about it?
At its core, Sleep Talkin' is about communication and how important it is in successful relationships. Musically, the song was our biggest challenge, as it was our first attempt at writing a "radio-friendly" song. The reception has been incredible. It was the first song that we put a music video to as well, which was a completely therapeutic process.
5) What song do you enjoy performing most? What venue is the most fun to play at?
I think my favorite song we perform live is either Flame to Fuse or our cover of Royal Blood's "I Only Lie When I Love You". Both songs have an energy that's completely contagious. So far, Bluebird has been my favorite venue we've performed out. I've seen some of my most favorite bands on that stage, and to think that we have shared that stage with some amazing talent is truly humbling.
6) Do you plan on releasing any new music in 2018?
We WILL be releasing new music! We've been working on our EP titled Contact for the last several months, and we're very excited to release it in mid 2018. Contact will feature songs that we've played live, including a cover of "Pure Imagination" from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. Our version includes our manager Angela Whaley playing the harp and the the band singing three-part harmonies. We're very excited to share this with everyone.
7)Would you rather play a bigger festival like May Play or a smaller show such as you and just a few other bands?
Playing a festival is always such a blast. Not only do you get to meet and see new bands and make new friends, but also you're playing in front of people that you'd never really have the opportunity to play in front of otherwise. The energy is always palpable at festivals too. Looking forward to playing as many as we can in the years to come.
8) If you could describe The Hollow’s sound in 3 words, what would they be?
Alternative Art Rock
9) The lyrics in your songs are all well thought out, does this just come to you or does it take time?
I appreciate you noticing the lyrics! The lyrics take THE MOST TIME in the songwriting process for me. The music is always new and exciting when you have all of the members contributing, but I've written a majority of the lyrics and it ALWAYS takes the most time. I just want to make sure that I get it right. Lots of listening to other artists' work is inspirational, and also reading poetry inspires me. I'll run the lyrics by the team after I've written them and get their two cents. They usually provide insight that tightens up the screws a little bit.
10) Thank you so so much! Anything you'd like to add?
I admire your tenacity and your dedication to the music scene, Katie. The reason the music scene is the way it is can be HUGELY attributed to you and your friends that support local music with the intensity that you do. I look forward to seeing what happens with this project and look forward to playing music for you for years to come. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!
1) When and how did you all meet?
Brennan, Sean, and Nick met each other in High School and all of them were involved in various bands and film projects together. Everyone went to college for a few years, but Sean and Brennan reconnected in 2013 and started working on a new project that would eventually become AMZY. Nick joined the band in the Summer of 2014 to play bass, but we still didn’t have a drummer. We then decided to put out a sketchy post on craigslist to see what was out there. Wes, who was looking for a good time, answered the post and became the one-and-only “Wes, the drummer.”
2) What is your favorite song you have produced?
The whole “We Don’t Walk...We Dance” EP was unforgettable because we recorded it in the span of a couple days in a house in the Rocky Mountains. If we had to pick a song, we’d go with Feet On the Ground because it pulled a lot of diverse elements together and set it all to an energy that felt different, but right. The song started out as a pretty much a synth line, some humming, and a verse, but it became a testament of just how far we can explore the AMZY soundscape. Furthermore, there were a lot of events unfolding in 2014 (and continue to occur to this day) that involved the powerful vs the powerless and we wanted to create a battle cry for those fighting against the various forms of oppression.
3) How did you come up with "AMZY" do the letter stand for something?
When we were in High School we would stay up late almost every night experimenting musically in a shed in the backyard of Sean’s parents house. 90% of this experimentation was more or less “noise” and Sean’s mother always had to come out and tell us to shut up. Being the kids that we still are, we never stopped after her warning and only slightly turned down the volume to try and get away with more music. After years of this game she had pretty much given up on trying to get us to stay quiet, but we made her a deal that if she let us continue being noisy we will name a band after her. Her name is Amzie! We understand that we probably come off as “Momma’s boys,” but AMZY helps us remember the fun and excitement we had making music and how the people around us truly shape who we become. We always ask people what they think AMZY stands for because everybody has their own idea. On one occasion we asked fans what they think AMZY stands for and they gave us our alter egos “Andrew, Michael, Zachary, and Yusef.” So that works too.
4) You somewhat recently released an EP "Worlds Of Our Own", anything you'd like to share about it?
We love the power that songs have in taking snapshots of scenarios, experiences, and emotions we’re going through when we first start listening. It doesn’t matter how much time has passed since we last heard the song, but when we play it again it’s like that entire former world comes rushing back to the forefront of our minds. We kept this concept in mind and tried to write songs that we’d want to connect with at certain points in our lives. When we laid out everything we recorded we realized we have made an entire emotional arc of a story about a relationship. Beginning with the initial excitement from getting to know a person, falling in love, finding personal growth, experiencing betrayal and finally overcoming from the loss and heartbreak. Our track “Favorite Song” features trumpet lines from Wes Watkins of The Other Black and formerly of Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats.
5) What has been your favorite performance you have done so far?
We played the First Bank Center for 93.3s Not So Silent Night which was our first foray into what it feels like to be one of the big acts, but as musicians AND fans we’ve always enjoyed the more intimate concert settings like the Bluebird or the Gothic. With that being said, our first sold out show at the Bluebird theatre is something we will never forget. Growing up in Colorado, we’ve seen some amazing bands play that stage and it feels like a dream come true to get the opportunity to do the same. A lot of intimate music moments happen in that old theater and it will always be part of the AMZY journey.
6) What/who inspires you the most?
A lot of the inspiration for the sound comes from the music we listened to when we were young and the evolution of the genres we love. The goal is to then try to bridge these different styles together. For example, Sean has an influence from a variety of rock formats like roots rock, Blues, classic, folk, and indie with a slice of electro-rock. On the other side, Brennan likes electronic, synth-pop, and modern alternative. We look at these elements and then start building! However, we try to refrain from putting ourselves in a box because we never truly know where the song could take us. Holding a broad pool of influences and styles gives us more to experiment with and ultimately strengthens the emotion of the song. Half the time we don’t know what that emotion is until we are halfway through the formation of the song so we just go with it and see how many variations we can make before selecting the best version based on what it instills in us. With that being said, what never fails to inspire us is going to see a band perform live. The energy and connection to the audience are a great reminder of what we’re working toward and who we do this for.
7) Why do you always correlate your outfits on stage?
We believe in two things when it comes to music. The first one is: Writing undeniable music! That meaning, writing great songs that are undeniably great no matter who’s listing.The second is: Putting on an unforgettable live show! The suits not only help us stick out on stage but they play a part in getting our heads right before a show. They're our uniforms, when we step into them we become a band of brothers who stand together to fight the imaginary battles in our heads.The battles with insecurities and self doubt that comes with trying to be your true self. We stand side by side and sometimes back to back to put on the best performance we can; each and every time we play. Also who doesn’t look good in a suit?
8) What song do you think fans enjoy most live?
Oooh, that’s a tough question… probably our cover of “Feeling Good” by Nina Simone because the maniacal bridge of styles and feeling it has. Everyone seem to be more drawn in after that one.
9) What is it like being one of the bigger bands in the local music scene?
It’s humbling that you would ask this! We would say we are the same size as all the killer bands we started out with in the Denver scene. We’ve been fortunate enough to have great fans who love to see us play live so that helps us get bigger venues that give us more room to play around in. But we still feel the same. We still feel like we are down in the trench-grinding with our fellow musicians. Maybe that might change or maybe it won’t but we are grateful for the music community here in Denver and the amazing fans that support local music.
10) Thanks for doing this:) Anything to add?
You can find our music on most digital retailers like iTunes, Beats, Spotify, and Soundcloud. We’d highly recommend following us on Facebook and Instagram (or any other social media outlet) and stay in the loop for more shows, music, and videos! Also don’t forget to go out and see live music!
Make sure to follow them on Social Media!
AMZY // @amzymusis
Brennan Johnson // @johnsonianb
Wes Barton // @the.wb
Sean Grant // @seantellagrant
Nick Billings // @nbillings
Would you introduce yourselves, and tell me how you met?
We all met way back in highschool. We played in different musical endeavors over the years. None were really that serious. Modern Suspects as a band was formed in 2014, and we decided that we wanted to do something we could be passionate and committed to. We really wanted to take the band as far as we possibly could.
How did you come up with the name “Modern Suspects”?
It was a variation of someone suggesting”The suspects” as a band name. We all liked the mischievous ring it had. The name refers to people (particularly young people or millennials) who are suspected of being a certain negative way. We don’t think that you can use a broad brush to paint or make assumptions about such a large group of people, so it’s something we take issue with and want to change!
What is your favorite song you have produced?
Our favorite song is usually the newest one we have completed. Our song ideas always go through the ringer before we actually go to the length to record them professionally. Our newest song is called “Drift”, but we also have another track in the works that you can look forw early next year.
Who inspires you most?
Jon Foreman of Switchfoot is a huge inspiration to us. He carries himself so well in the public eye. He’s a very loving and energetic presence to be around, and people really respect him and latch on to him. He inspires us to try and reunite rather than to try and create walls and divide people.
What is your favorite song and venue to play?
We love playing The Bluebird Theater in Denver! Our song “Demons In The Night” is always a blast to play live because of its energy.
Are your families and friends supportive?
As of this year, the three of us are married now. Our wives have been extremely supportive of the band, and they often challenge us to be better. We do sometimes have other family members come to shows, though the music might be a little rowdy for their tastes. It’s always great to have a friend coming back to a show that watched you play back in 2013.
“Demons In The Night” is a very upbeat song, but has very emotional lyrics. Is this what you aimed for?
We’re glad that the emotion comes through. The lyrics do have a lot of imagery that suggests the struggle that it is to overcome adversity and not surrender to whatever your personal demons are. We think it’s a pretty universal theme that anyone can identify with! Life is all about overcoming things that are holding you back.
Do you plan on collaborating with any other local artists soon?
Collaborating with Optycnerd was one of our favorite recent experiences. We’re planning on writing and doing a song with a great artist named IOLITE in the next few months. She’s amazingly talented.
Are you releasing a new song, EP. or album soon?
We’re actually releasing our second EP titled “II” at our Halloween show/party at Denver’s Lost Lake Lounge on October 27th! The EP includes our four most recent singles and our previously unreleased song “DRift.” It also features “Demons In The Night:, which will have a music video released soon, and “Terrified” - our collaboration with the guys from Optycnerd.
Anything you’d like to add, and thank you!
Thanks for spreading the Modern Suspects love!
Make sure to check them out on Instagram, and stream their music on Spotify and Youtube!
Modern Suspects // @modernsuspects
Garrett Myers // @heyimgarrett
Bart Williams // @modernbart
Tyler Frees // @moderntyler
These are interviews coming directly from the band members themselves! Make sure to search their tags under every inter view to check out their social media!