The Hollow Sound
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The Hollow Sound

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"The Hollow Sound"

Members of the rock group The Hollow Sound didn't know what to expect when they decided to start up an indie band together back in 2005.

They started with gigs at American Legion halls in Rehoboth and Seekonk, but after only a few short years in the Boston and Providence music scenes, the twenty-somethings got their first taste of the big time late last month when they performed with the Vans Warped Tour at the Comcast Center in Mansfield.

The band - lead singer Maddie Herec of Rehoboth, guitarists Justin Poirier of Norfolk and Evan Brock of Plainville, bass player Bill King of Wrentham, and drummer Adam Gruss of New Jersey - earned the spot by entering an online battle of the bands sponsored by Ernie Ball Inc. a few months ago.

They saw the contest more as a way to promote themselves rather than something they had a chance of winning.

"We join so many online contests because it's a great way to get your name out there," Poirier said. "We had actually kind of forgotten about it. We weren't expecting to actually win." The Hollow Sound performs July 23 at the Warped Tour in Mansfield. But The Hollow Sound's indie and classic rock fusion won over the online community, giving them enough votes to land in the top 20 for Boston-area bands entered in the Ernie Ball contest. Later, a panel of industry professionals awarded them one of the four open spots at this year's Warped Tour.

It wasn't the main stage, but band members said playing for throngs of people as they entered the Comcast Center was an "awesome" experience.

"It's cool because there were so many people we got to play for," Poirier said, "even if they weren't necessarily there to see us."

Band members say the name The Hollow Sound reflects their musical writing style, which often starts with nothing more than a few chords or lyrics, essentially a "hollow sound."

Their influences include diverse artists such as the Smashing Pumpkins, Radiohead, Queen and Pat Benetar.

The Warped Tour's appeal to younger fans presented a new opportunity for The Hollow Sound, which is used to playing 21-plus venues in Boston and Providence.

"It's an all-ages show. We don't get to play that kind of stuff in Boston usually, but we'd really like the chance to play some more shows for the younger fans," Herec said, estimating the average age of the band's fans to be about 18.

And for four of the five band members, the chance to play at the Comcast Center - where they had grown up watching their favorite bands play - gave the experience a home-town feel.

"We ran into people all day that we knew and came to see us who we didn't even know were coming," Poirier said.

The band, minus drummer Gruss, met through high school friends. Poirier, Brock and King all went to King Phillip Regional, while Herec found the fellow musicians through friends at Dighton-Rehoboth High. Gruss, who met Herec at Berklee School of Music in Boston, joined the band after their former drummer, Jeep Poirier, went on to pursue other opportunities in the fall of last year. After performing at the Warped Tour, group members spent the day handing out free teasers of their coming seven-song EP, which they expect to release in October. Herec said the band has already gotten positive feedback on their MySpace page and at their most recent show with the band As Tall As Lions.

"It's been great," Herec said. "Putting out an EP (rather than a full album) is a little more worthwhile for us because of the way we promote things on the Internet. It's good to put songs out at a faster rate. And our (July 25) show at Harper's Ferry in Boston was packed, partly because of the Warper Tour, I think."

Ernie Ball's Battle of the Bands was not the first online contest The Hollow Sound has done well in. In the past year, the band was a top-5 finalist for two MTVU contests. (MTVU is a MTV-owned station that plays music videos from often unsigned bands popular in the college circuit).

Currently, Hollow Sound members continue to balance jobs and school while trying to promote their music in Boston.

Herec, who was very active in the Dighton-Rehoboth High School music department, transferred from Brandeis to Berklee after deciding that, despite her classical vocal training, she had no desire to be an opera singer. She still goes to school full-time at Berklee, along with Gruss, but plans to graduate this winter. Herec also works as an intern for The Soundtrack Group and Aircraft Music Library in Boston.

Poirier is a graduate student at Emerson, majoring in visual media arts, while Brock attends the Pratt Institute and King just finished his senior year at Roger Williams.

"It's a lot of work, but it's a lot of fun - and we'll all be graduating soon," Herec said.

As for the direction of the band, The Hollow Sound plans to keep playing together and working hard toward their main goal of landing a successful EP this October, but there is no mapped-out route in Herec's eyes.

"We're basically going to work as hard as we can while balancing our respective careers and schools in the next six months to take the band as far as possible," Herec said. "I think everyone in the band has different talents and aspirations down the road, but right now this band is our passion and we're going to work hard to showcase our music because it's a lot of fun, and we're really proud of it."

JENNIFER ROACH is a student at Boston College who is interning at The Sun Chronicle this summer. You can reach her at roachjc@bc.edu. - The Sun Chronicle


"The Hollow Sound"

"Boston-based group The Hollow Sound started the afternoon off with a sound that is a cross between Blake Babies and That Dog, the band played precise up-tempo songs getting the crowd dancing. Starting out strong..." - Northeast Performer


"The Hollow Sound"

"Hard-hitting guitars and drums present a canvas for the female vocalist who sports a deep and multi-faceted voice." - The Space


"The Hollow Sound"

"Emotional indie-rock with charmed punk energy" - CMJ Magazine


Discography

"The Life & Times of..." Coming Fall 2008
"This Is Just The Beginning" Sept 2006 Free Internet EP
"Demo 2005" August 2005 Self-Released
"Ready, If You Are" EP January 2005 Self-Released

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Bio

The Hollow Sound has been together since 2005 in the constant process of writing, recording and performing live throughout New England and up and down the East Coast.

The band played the Vans Warped Tour July 23rd at the Comcast Center in Mansfield, MA with The Audition (Victory), Charlotte Sometimes (Geffen/Interscope), Forever the Sickest Kids (Universal/Motown) and Protest the Hero (Vagrant). The band earned a featured spot on the Ernie Ball Stage after winning an Ernie Ball sponsored contest.

Currently, The Hollow Sound is writing and recording a seven-song EP, which will be released in Fall 2008. Producers on the album include ex-Hot Rod Circuit (Vagrant) drummer Mike Poorman (Paulson, Piebald, The Receiving End Of Sirens, Tsunami Bomb) and ex-Hidden In Plain View (Drive-Thru) guitarist Rob Freeman (Armor For Sleep, Cobra Starship, Hit the Lights). The recordings will be mastered by Gavin Lurssen, a two-time Grammy winner whose credits include Elvis Costello, Copeland, Lovedrug and soundtracks such as O Brother, Where Art Thou? and Superbad.

In 2006 and 2007 The Hollow Sound played CMJ Music Marathon in New York City. They played both independent and label-sponsored (Epitaph/Hopeless) showcases, sharing the stage with The Matches (Epitaph), Kaddisfly (Hopeless), Royden (Hopeless), and The Hint.

The Hollow Sound has also shared the stage with Rookie of the Year (111 Records/East West), As Tall As Lions (Triple Crown/East West), Lemuria (Asian Man), Desoto Jones (Deep Elm), The Great Northern (Eenie Meanie) and Bad Flirt (SST/Universal), among others. They have played numerous colleges and universities, performed live on-air at radio stations and at nearly every major club in Boston, including The Middle East, The Paradise Rock Club, and Berklee College of Music’s Café 939.

The band’s members include founders Justin Poirier (guitar/vocals), Evan Brock (guitar/vocals), Bill King (bass), and classically trained front-woman Maddie Herec (vocals/keys). Drummer Jeep Poirier played with the group until Fall 2007. Adam Gruss took over drums when Jeep left to pursue other opportunities.

The band has also worked with producers Jay Maas, a member of November 5, 1955 (Metal Blade) and Defeater (Top Shelf), mastering engineer Nick Zampiello (Against Me!, Isis, Dropkick Murphys), producer Grahm Bacher and mastering engineer Nathan Rightnour.

The band’s sponsors include Laguna Guitars and Basses (www.playlaguna.com), Glaceau Vitamin Water (www.vitaminwater.com), Threadless clothing company (www.threadless.com), Dean Markley strings (www.deanmarkley.com) and George L. cables (www.georgels.com).

Over the past year the Hollow Sound has ranked in the Top 5 as finalists in two MTVU contests. They were also asked by MTVU to perform at the Orlando date of their tour in support of the video game Rock Band.

The band continues to play both at home and in their favorite cities and locales, as well as write, record, and promote their work. Articles in Northeast Performer magazine, The Sun Chronicle, Rehoboth Reporter, the CMJ Marathon guidebook and University of Tampa’s Minaret have all garnered praise on this hard-working and ever-progressing independent rock band. Constantly pushing themselves to become better writers and performers, the band is poised on a wealth of opportunities, and ready to take advantage of them.