Friday, September 20, 2013

...prepare the ground, make way for the dead : Interview with HOLLOW LEG !!!

    If I say : "Texas riff masters" ? - you answer : "Wo Fat" - (don' t you ?) ... and if I say : "Florida sludge masters"? most of you gotta answer : "HOLLOW LEG" !!! 
    "Abysmal", their 2nd album which  came out in the heart of this summer - is one of those truly essential albums of the year that already got praise by a few relevant bloggers and podcasters but got in the meantime potencial to find a much wider impact... Indeed, this now quatuor heavy-weight represents here on Abysmal exactly what the normal underground metal addict should be looking for in those decadent 2010 years : extreeeeme heaviness with commanding vocals, blending ultimately bluesy Sabbathian groove and massive Sludge Metal (think about EHG and the early days of Neurosis) all with a venomous force. There's something visceral and relentless in this band that is really impressive - like in the neckbreakers title song or "Lord Annihilation" - but Abysmal also skilfully infuse additional atmospheres within their greasy murk : the sinister "8 dead..." and its hazy solo à la Acid King, the chiaroscuro and mystic of  "Pompeï" or the painful swamp of "Cry Havoc" ...
   Honestly, if you're a bit tired of all those dinosaurs from the first wave of Sludge - no offense to them, but ... Hollow Leg is the perfect remedy to keep your faith intact!!! Here's an interview with founding members Brent (guit) and Tim (drums), thanx dudes... all the best to you and the band, wishing to meet you on the old continent next year !

Hi Brent and Tim, thanx for taking the time to answer this interview… time is running so quickly man, do you remember anything special about the 1st one we had in November 2011 ?!!!
It doesn’t seem like that long ago at all and we appreciate your continued support.

-     Among other things,  I remember that we were speaking about the introduction of Scott on vocals and Tom on bass… can we now sum-up things like 2011 - time for adaptation of the new line-up, 2012 - time for composition and recording and 2013 - time for the explosion of “Abysmal” ? Did things turn out in time as expected ?
    Yes and no. We were playing a lot of shows during the writing process so it took a bit longer than expected. The recording process for ABYSMAL took close to a year to complete because we were tracking when we could between shows, re-working old songs, and writing new songs. Then we looked for a label, did mixing and mastering, art, and pressing, so it was almost exactly a year from when we began recording drums to when we had records in hand.

First thing that comes to mind when listening “Abysmal” is the sound, much more compact and heavier, it seems like everything has been done 10 times heavier, also maybe more moody, metallic and insidious than “instinct” too, which in fact was pretty well-named further being your first album and as a duo… how do you see the evolution of your sound on “Abysmal”?
Naturally the sound got bigger because we added 2 more players who have two very heavy and distinct sounds of their own, so the collective sound became heavier just by their addition. As far as the mood is concerned, we definitely set out to make a moodier, nastier, more blues-influenced record, and the lyrical thread had a lot to do with setting that mood from the onset of the writing process.

Being now a quartet, I guess you composed differently for this album , was it you who brought the riffs and then everybody took part in the arrangement of the songs or did anyone else compose too ?
Because this was our first effort as a 4 piece, we tried a bunch of different methods of writing, which also added to why it may have taken us a little longer to make this record. Brent usually bring in riffs or even entire song ideas and we all start there, but on ABYSMAL we were also working on our sound as a 4 piece, without completely losing the sound we had already. There are a few more collaborative efforts on this record as well, but most of the tracks were written differently, with the exception of a few that we (Tim and Brent) had already written back when we were still a duo. In general now, the riffs can come from either Tom or Brent, and then Tim and Scott contribute more on an arrangement level as well as writing the lyrics. Then vocal melodies are mostly Scott, but Tom and Brent help as well, so it really is now a collaborative effort, and nothing will see the light of day without passing through all of us.

-      What about the lyrics, were they shared between you and Scott ? did you write on different themes than previously?
-      Tim is really our conceptual and lyrical leader. Scott and Tim will work on ideas together, and just as Brent did with Tim’s lyrics in the beginning, but now Scott will take the lyrics Tim has written and alter them to make the desired sounds or melodies needed for songs.  As for themes on this album, the focus was far more personal than those on INSTINCT.

-     After a massive and angry bison on “instinct”, this time the cover of “Abysmal” consists in the head of an evilized hound or hyena (!)…  how did you come up with this idea ? Do you feel that wild animals like those can express far more things than any possible human?
There’s a lot of dog imagery throughout this record in the lyrics.  Dogs and wolves were decided as the animal symbol for the record as the lyrics were being written. The themes primarily deal with suffering and angst, and the dog became a metaphor for man and how he processes pain, love, hate, and death.  A lot of American Blues and English Doom helped.

I guess it’s needless to ask how you came in contact with Last Anthem Records as they previously released Junior Bruce’s 1st album but could you please tell us everything people got to know about the vinyl release of “Abysmal” by this label from Virginia (also home of Druglord) ? Even if you were maybe expecting a collaboration with a more established name, are you satisfied with their work for the new album?
Well, actually, Junior Bruce’s first record “The Headless King” was released on A389 records out of Maryland, and the label actually recommended we contact Last Anthem for the Hollow Leg release.  Both records, however, are being distributed by both labels. Last Anthem has been great in helping us get our record out in time for the release date, which coincided with a small tour. We had some bumps in the road as far as finishing our part of the process in time for Last Anthem to release it in time, so they did a great job of making sure we got those records in time for tour.

-     Spontaneously, can you tell me what’s the longest song from H.L. (both albums confounded )? and what’s the longest song title ?
Without looking, either “the Return” or “warbeast” from the first record are the longest song(s) As for song title? 8 Dead (In a mobile Home) but we always just call it 8 Dead.

I was thinking that the length of your songs is always approximately comprised between 4:00 and 5:50, it seems like almost mechanical… even your song titles are all pretty short and concise for the most part … is there any logic followed on this ?
We’ll typically start with longer song structure and funnel it down to where it makes most sense and isn’t too ridiculous. We all like the more traditional/classic rock format for songs. If a song ends up longer in the end, it’s just because nothing needed to go and worked. No real logic at work, but we tend to like the short song titles and short album titles.

How about recent live performances ? which songs from “Instinct” are you still playing ? Does Scott sing on all of them ?
Scott is our lead singer and he’s singing everything, new and old, with Brent backing him up on some songs.  We have three songs from the first record still in our live arsenal: Warbeast, Caretaker, and Shattered.  Scott actually did record vocals on Warbeast from the first recording.

Shroud Eater is one of the bands you actually played the most with, what’s your fave song from them ? did you ever jam on stage with the ladies and Felipe ?
Shroud Eater are some of our closest friends as well as being one of our favorite bands to play with live. We’ve never jammed on stage together- maybe just some very enthusiastic cheering and singing along from the front of the crowd.  For us, the song “Tempest” is one of our favorite Shroud Eater songs- an absolute classic for them and something they should always have in the live set.  They are a force live and very, very good friends.

What about this split-EP with WAR INJUN ?  do you think this could bring you new fans usually more focused on Doom than Sludge ? when is it released ?
We are hard at work on the split with War Injun. Songs are being recorded, art is done, and we’ve been talking about a Nov/Dec release.  With every release we hope to gain new fans, no matter what their genre preferences are, and with every release also we want to explore our sound. From day one, we write the music we want to hear, and we are always glad when it is appreciated.

I know you played with them and Beelzefuzz last february in Maryland , how was this special gig in that cultish land of US Doom ?
     It was cool. It was our first time playing with War    Injun and we obviously cultivated a      relationship with them. Beelzefuzz were awesome! That was our first gig with them as         well and we hope to catch up to both of those bands as well as Ichabod from Boston. One o  of our good friends and another of our favorites to play with is Clamfight who we will         play with again this year on tour up the coast in November.

You were supposed to play together again with War Injun + Leather Nun Amerika  and Doomdogs during their summer tour, unfortunately this didn’t happen … is there anything else in the works with W.I. for future live considerations ?       
We haven’t planned anything yet, but certainly something we (both bands) look to do, especially after releasing a split together.

Do you guys have a mascot or a special object that you always bring on with you on stage?
Usually just a couple of tall cans of beer.  And our bass player.

I’ve read that you’re already making demos of new songs, don’t you ever feel the need to have a break in terms of composition ? do you need to feel in a special mood and/or be in a special context to get fresh ideas or can it happen anywhere at anytime ?
No break. If and when the inspiration strikes, we need to harness it and create.

Do you think it’s still possible to make H.L. sound even heavier on the new songs to come?
-     HA! Yes, it’s possible.  Hollow Leg will always be heavy- it’s just the sound we enjoy as people and as a band, but the type of heavy will shift around as we continue to grow as a band and as songwriters. When Hollow Leg write and play, bringing the heavy is always top priority.

 What are the plans for the 3 last months of 2013 ? Is there any new other merch available?
We are selling the new record ABYSMAL and a new shirt design courtesy of the very talented Jean Saiz(Shroud Eater) which coincides with the ABYSMAL release, but the War Injun split is currently in the works and new merch will definitely come along with that release as well, we’re also looking to get INSTINCT repressed, possibly on vinyl as well. A few shows in the Southeastern USA this fall, but 2014 will certainly be more touring.  European fans have been super supportive and we’d love to get over there. As for recording for another full length, definitely stay tuned.

Thanx guys, all the best to you and the band…
Cheers! Thanks to you as well.

No comments:

Post a Comment