Interview: Connor Hallisey - Our Hollow, Our Home
Our Hollow, Our Home played at the 229 Venue on March 24th - we headed down to catch the show and sat down with frontman Connor Hallisey to ask him a few questions about the new album, the upcoming tour and what the future has in store.
WTHB: So first of all thanks for your time – let’s get straight into it really, Hartsick came out at the beginning of the month; It seems like the reception of it has been pretty insane, right?
C: Yeah it’s been crazy, absolutely crazy – we were not anticipating it at all. Our last release before this was Redefine back in 2015 which we sat on for about two years-
WTHB: Was it really that long? What was the reasoning behind that?
C: Well the main reason was looking at booking agents at the time and labels to distribute it on the widest platform possible – as far as metalcore goes it’s probably one of the most accessible, to a wider demographic in terms of genre in metal like, we wanted it to be received as highly as we could. We’d done the rounds, played a few shows and had sort of realised that maybe a label wasn’t exactly what we needed as a band at that point in time so - we put Redefine out as ourselves, and decided to just play and tour and you know, work on the sound that we’d sort of started already. Hartsick is really the pinnacle of that; the sound we started with Redefine kind of moved and developed-
WTHB: You’re reading my mind *laughs* that was going to be a part of my next question!
WTHB: Because yeah, how –does- Hartsick differ from Redefine in your eyes?
C: Well like I said it pretty much takes what we started with Redefine, the melodies in the choruses plus the heaviness in the breakdowns and verses, and sort of pushes it further and moulds it more into our own sound; I know metalcore is a very oversaturated genre but I do feel that we have our own place in it with our own sound.
WTHB: I was going to say because sure, a great many bands in the scene can begin to sound one and the same-
C: Yeah it’s very easy to!
WTHB: -but there’s something I’ve found personally with Our Hollow; there’s just something different, I don’t think I could tell exactly what it is-
C: Yeah to be honest with you I don’t even think we could put our fingers on it but like we took that sound and ran with it.
WTHB : Well yeah, understandably so because it’s obviously working! In terms of songwriting, what do you think the band’s influences have been; bands you were listening to around the time you were writing the album, your process?
C: I mean it’s a weird one really – we imagine we operate slightly differently to a lot of different bands so Toby (Guitars+Cleans) writes pretty much everything, I write a lot of my own lyrics but from a musical perspective it’s basically all Toby. I mean, usually what’ll happen is he’ll start off a track or a riff and put it to us being like “What do you think guys?” – we all put our input in and it all really goes back and forth a bit like that.
WTHB: Is it a case of you’re all pretty close to each other so you can have writing sessions and just drop in on one another or…?
C: Well I’m from Bournemouth so I’m about an hour and a half away from the rest of the guys so it’s a little bit more difficult for me to be around as much but yeah we’re always communicating, always chatting – we’re a pretty close group of friends and yeah when we were writing Hartsick sometimes it was a case of “Dude I’ve got this riff, come over we need to record this now” and especially with lyrics: Toby and I will bounce ideas off each other so we’ll sit down and probably sesh out a song lyrically in one sitting, we’ll come to the table with a load of ideas and have a general sort of theme that we’ll have for that track and just go “yeah we’re writing THIS today and go ahead and knock it out”.
WTHB: That’s pretty sweet really! I remember reading another article around of your track-by-track of the entire album, I found it really interesting to hear like the stories behind each song and some of the themes running through it – what’s the stand out track for you on this record?
C: Uhhhh that’s such a difficult question because there’s such a lot of variety on the album, I feel anyway. I think for me the stand out track is Web Weaver; again I can’t really put my finger on it - lyrically it means a lot to Toby and me and we’ve had a lot of feedback from that track that we weren’t really expecting, it’s awesome to see people relating to it.
WTHB: Sort of moving on from your stand-out track on the record – if you had to tell someone like “Go and listen to this band”, what track would you suggest to them that really epitomises Our Hollow, Our Home?
C: *clicks toungue* ummm again I couldn’t narrow it down to one song if I’m honest but a good general gist for us would be Karmadillo because you’ve got the real intensity of the chorus, it’s so catchy and gets stuck in your head for days like, the breakdowns are heavy so sure, if you were completely new to the band I’d probably pick that one.
WTHB: Sweet! So the tour’s kicking off tonight in London-
C: Yeah – stoked to be here!
WTHB: -and you’re finishing with the hometown show in Southampton – is there any particular reason you put the hometown show last as opposed to first?
C: Not really it’s more just how the tour kind of fell, we wanted Southampton at the end specifically since it’s our hometown and we always leave it on such a high and we really wanted to guarantee that we’d end on that high because we’re still a relatively new band and people are only just hearing about us. It’s only been about two years since we’ve had material that we can actually go out and tour with and we know 100% that Southampton is going to be great – when we’ve played Joiners before we’ve had rubber dingys, inflatable palm trees – the lot, it’s going to be nice and sweaty, we’ve never sold it out before so it’s really a cool feeling.
WTHB: Speaking of venues, tonight you’re playing small and they’re only going to get larger – can you see Our Hollow playing say, arenas? Festivals are different I mean-
C: Yeah I mean that’s always the goal-
WTHB: *Gestures* “Our Hollow, Our Home at Wembley”
C: Mate yeah we’d love to – to do something like A Day To Remember and Asking Alexandria have done recently by pushing the modern metal subgenres into the accessibility of arenas; we just love playing shows and yeah we just want to tour tour tour tour tour!
WTHB: Speaking of tour, you’ve got the EU tour after this leg of UK shows, right?
C: Yeah we do – super excited for that!
WTHB: What countries are you particularly looking forward to visiting?
C: Me, I’m really looking forward to seeing Germany – we’ve never played in Germany before and we’ve had people hounding us for ages to come and play for them, that’s one of the other weird things about Our Hollow because we’ve got these little pools of fanbase all over the place, so like – I was speaking to a guy from Alaska of all places, a small town where the number of dogs outnumber the people – it’s crazy to think that our little band from the south of England have reached these people in these far away places, it’s awesome but yeah I’m really just looking forward to seeing new places; looking forward to seeing France again!
WTHB: We’ve already spoken a little bit about writing process – are you the kind of band that writes on tour?
C: Yeah a little bit it’s weird; we’ll go through spats of creativity and since we’re all together it’s easy to throw ideas to each other, but sometimes we can be really antisocial haha.
WTHB: So if you’re writing on tour, any chance of us all hearing something new in the dates to come? *Smirks*
C: Ooooo, there’s something in the works. I know it’s all hot off the tails of Hartsick but yeah, keep your eyes peeled on the socials – something coming soon.
WTHB: Hmm interesting…! Last couple of questions – Our Hollow, Our Home have been added to the bill for Karnage, (that’s Keele University’s Rock Appreciation Society’s end of year festival), when you heard you were going to be playing a University show is there anything you reckon you’d do differently on account of it being a uni’ show or would you just you know, go Our Hollow, Our Home; Our Hollow, Our Home; Our Hollow, Our Home and play it straight?
C: I guess we’ll just do what we always do, there’s no reason for us to do anything differently; we just bring our own special brand to it and hope people dig it. Like, we’ve played at shows that we don’t exactly fit on the bill but we just go with the flow and at the end of the day we just write our music and play the shows we play. I mean, one festival we played a festival called Common People last year in Southampton where the main headline act was Craig David.
C: So we were the only metal band on the stage but we went on and did our thing, like we said, “We get that this might not be your thing but if you want to dance and maybe bounce your head that’d be sick” and yeah – that was one of the most fun shows we had last year.
WTHB: Excellent stuff. Thank you for your time. It’s been a pleasure.
Interview created by Rhys Haberfield.