The Hollow Spheres
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The Hollow Spheres

Honolulu, Hawaii, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2009 | SELF

Honolulu, Hawaii, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2009
Band Rock Pop


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Heels & Picks: Hollow Spheres Release New EP"

BY ERIN SMITH / Special to the Star-Advertiser

Honolulu rock/pop/blues band Hollow Spheres will release their new EP, “Wanderlust,” with a show Thursday at Downbeat Lounge.

After hearing the title, I wondered if the guys were having some island fever. According to singer/guitarist Sean Cleland, that’s definitely not the case.

Hollow Spheres
Featuring Hollow Spheres with special guests Tempest, Hi Riz and Men in Grey Suits

» Where: Downbeat Lounge, 42 N. Hotel St.
» When: 7:30 to 11:30 p.m. Thursday
» Cost: Free
» Info:

“No, not at all! We thought we should name the album after that track because it has associations with travel and Hawaii,” he said. “The title speaks more to the idea of someone who needs to be uprooted and traveling to feel at ‘home.’ And by the end, the character in the song has the insight that many people have while traveling far from where they started, that ‘home’ is wherever you are at the moment. ‘Home’ travels with you, in a sense.”

The album, available on their website for a donation — I suggest you donate a million dollars! — marks a new direction from the band’s previous release, 2010’s “Silence Speaks Louder.” The idea was to focus on the songwriting and tone down the rock just a little bit.

Cleland said they describe their sound as “a meeting of the minds between Pink Floyd and Steely Dan in their heyday, coupled with a healthy dose of dreamy rock songwriting – all brought to you from underneath a palm tree in Honolulu.”

Produced primarily by Cleland, the making of the album didn’t lead to any “boozy rock-n’-roll studio stories of note,” but he did relay a quirky, MacGyver-esque instrumentation moment in the recording process.

“We did have a good laugh when we tracked the hook guitar for ‘Out On A Limb’ with a capo on the 9th fret (effectively cutting the instrument’s neck in half) of a Fender Telecaster to get a super thin, bell-like, jangly sound.

“The Telecaster was basically a steel string ukulele at that point. We posted the photo online and people got a kick out of it.”

Fans of the band can look forward to the inclusion of “Hold Me Close, Keep Me Far Away” on the EP – Cleland said it’s an older song they chose to record because the fans were asking for it.

“(The song is) from 2010 or so, which we had never properly recorded but always played out live,” he said. “A lot of friends and fans who saw us back in the day used to say this was their favorite song that we played, so I’m glad we finally got it down on record!

“It’s a song about being afraid of losing yourself in another person, and the indecision that naturally creeps into your life if you continue to feel this way.”

Despite the prevalence of reggae and island music on Oahu, Cleland insisted the band doesn’t feel the pressure to write songs that cater to reggae fans.

“I don’t think we put too much emphasis on trying to have a certain sound when we’re writing. The rock/pop/jazz/blues/groove thing is what comes naturally to us.”

Members Shin Kato (bass), Danny Galura (guitars) and Jack Tawil all lent their talents and ideas to the arrangements of the songs in pre-production, with Cleland the primary songwriter. After a few changes in the lineup, founding members Kato and Cleland are excited about the current crew and sound.

So what can fans expect at Downbeat Lounge?

“Fans can expect an eclectic night full of great Honolulu bands! We’ll have CDs available for donation, as well as new ‘Wanderlust’ T-shirts for sale.”

Plus, Downbeat has vegan chicken wings, guys. Vegan chicken wings. Best non-meat ever.

I couldn’t let Cleland off the hook without asking one final, pivotal question. In the eternal words of Metric: “The Beatles or the Rolling Stones?”

“Oh god. Hardest question ever – and it truly is the ultimate question,” mused Cleland. “I can’t speak for the other guys in the ban, but if I had to choose I could never vote against the Beatles! They are the best band ever – they’re the source for me!

“And keep in mind, I’m a HUGE Stones fan, so that speaks to how much The Beatles will never get old for me!”
Erin Smith is a singer and guitarist who performs as a solo artist and with Maui-based Na Hoku Hanohano Award-nominated band The Throwdowns. Born in Canada, she moved to Hawaii in 2004 and now resides in Kailua. Contact her via e-mail or follow her on Twitter. - Honolulu Pulse (7/29/15)

"Review: Hollow Spheres ‘Wanderlust’"


For Honolulu-based fusion quartet the Hollow Spheres, their sound is anything but. Integrating melody-driven Pop with Singer/Songwriter sensibility is just a snippet of what they do best, and, on their latest release ‘Wanderlust,’ listeners are invited to experience the full spectrum of what the Hollow Spheres are capable of — and it’s nothing short of brilliant.

The four track EP opens with its namesake, ‘Wanderlust.’ Scintillating acoustics converge with steady percussion and throwback vocal melodies — evoking a dreamy, psychedelic vibe. If Pink Floyd and Steely Dan were to break out the acoustics whilst knocking back Mai Tai’s underneath a palm tree, ‘Wanderlust’ would be the result.

‘Out On A Limb’ is considerably more up-tempo, providing a welcome change of pace. It’s much more Pop-centric, with an infectious, sing-along sentiment. It’s the kind of feel-good track that every album needs, and, in that regard, Hollow Spheres don’t disappoint.

‘Cold As Ice’ is as cool, calm, and collected as its title implies. As the resident Jazz number, its got a lounge swagger that really comes through. Whether you’re suited up and sipping on a Martini (shaken, not stirred), or lounging around at home with your loudspeaker, ‘Cold As Ice’ is the perfect combination of sleek and sexy to get your sonic juices flowing — with a sweeping solo to top it all off.

‘Hold Me Close, Keep Me Far Away’ is the ideal ballad-esque number to wind down the album. Shades of Jeff Buckley mingle with Cat Stevens and James Taylor, inducing a calm that brings ‘Wanderlust’ to a close (once more with a silky guitar solo).

‘Wanderlust’ is equal parts wonder and lust, showcasing the Hollow Spheres at their absolute best. It’s head and shoulders above anything they’ve ever done (and could easily go down as one of the best EP’s of the year). Hollow Spheres have found their stride on ‘Wanderlust’ — a stride thats broken into a full-on run — which is only fitting for such a breakthrough album. - Poet and Pariah: Malady, Music, and Mayhem (6/20/15)

"Not So Hollow Spheres"


The Hollow Spheres blend elements of alternative, britpop, and jazz to create a unique sonic profile that has resonated with local audiences since their inception in 2009. Having been on hiatus since 2011, 2014 has been a year of resurgence for the band. With a new lineup and a sense of renewed vigor in tow, we caught up with front-man Sean Cleland to get the lowdown on he and his fellow spheres.

Evan Morgan (EM): How did you come together as Hollow Spheres and what was your initial goal or mindset going into the project?

Sean Cleland (SC): Hollow Spheres started in 2009 and released a studio EP and a free live album in 2010. We played shows regularly in Chinatown and other venues around Honolulu. After taking a hiatus starting in 2011 to work on other projects, we recently started the band back up in 2014. We started rehearsing with the new lineup at the beginning of the year, and began playing shows again in March.

EM: How would you sum up and/or describe your sound?

SC: We’re an all-original band that blends together elements of classic rock, alternative rock, britpop, and jazz rock. Bands like The Beatles and Steely Dan come to mind, along with some heavier rock stuff.

EM: Listening to your EP Silence Speaks Louder, there is a distinct jazz/lounge feel to it, how have you been received locally in a scene that’s predominantly reggae-driven?

SC: Thank you for hearing that in our sound! Back when we released our first EP our songs were more jazzy, whereas nowadays our new material is leaning more on the rock side of things. As far as getting our name out there back in the day, we definitely created some buzz. I think people enjoy the reggae scene here in the islands, but are also open to hearing music that sits outside of that style. If the music grooves, rocks hard, and has catchy melodies and a lot of soul then we believe people will always be attracted. Any music that has these elements and presents them well will be timeless for us.

EM: How would you assess the local scene as a whole? What do you like most about it and what would you like to see change?

SC: We love the fact that everyone and every band seems to know each other in the scene. This creates great camaraderie at shows. Many of us play in multiple bands too, and enjoy being challenged musically in different areas of the Honolulu scene. There are so many great musicians out here. The downside to the scene being small though, is that there will always be an element of nepotism, and sometimes it can work in your favor, other times it will work against you.


EM: How has the changing line-up affected the band moving forward?

SC: Our initial lineup was a trio (guitar, bass, drums). Our current lineup is a quartet (two guitars, bass, drums) and includes me (vocals & guitar), Shin Kato (bass & vocals), Danny Galura (guitar & vocals) and Jack Tawil (drums). It is the best line-up yet. We have become such a tight unit musically in such a short amount of time. With the current line-up, we’ve only started playing shows starting in March, and we already have about two hours worth of original material (a mixture of old and new songs). In regards to the past, it’s tough to deal with lineup changes, but it was necessary for the band to take a break back in 2011, as we all had different music and “life” projects to deal with. We are now all at a point where we can make music as a band again. Past members include Mike Nakamoto, Aaron Loeser, Jesse Town and Will Inohara.

EM: Discuss your approach to songwriting and how that translated into Hollow Spheres’ upcoming EP?

SC: Our upcoming EP will have 4 songs on it, all of which we are playing regularly at shows. We want to give listeners a sense of our style, while also showcasing our breadth as a band. So out of our sets we have chosen a pop song, a soul song, an intricate rock number and a funkier tune. Two of the tunes are older songs (which we used to play back in 2010), and two are new.

EM: Lastly, what’s up next for the band and where would you like to see yourselves in the future?

SC: Beyond our new EP, we are gearing up to shoot a music video using one of the tracks off of the album. We also have new merchandise for sale (t-shirts & stickers) to go along with our older recordings. Looking forward, we want to make a splash with our music video, which will allow us to finish a new full-length album later on in the year (or early next year). We definitely have enough material to do so already. We’re going to tour the west coast early next year and have tentative plans to tour Japan soon thereafter.

Catch Hollow Spheres at Mercury Bar on August 28, and be sure to like them on Facebook to stay current on all things Hollow Spheres. - INhonolulu Magazine (8/18/14)

"Scene+Heard: ‘Alternative HI’ Set For Release"

BY SABRINA VELAZQUEZ / Special to the Star-Advertiser

Last summer, producer/engineer Shawn Livingston Moseley approached his friend and local band manager/promoter, Brandon Apeles, with a straightforward idea — create a musical compilation of bands from Hawaii’s alternative music scene.

After countless hours of meetings, prep work, recording, mixing, and mastering, the project, aptly called “Alternative HI” is set for release tomorrow, March 20, with distribution via Mountain Apple Company. (Pre-order the album on iTunes; follow the project on Facebook.)

As Apeles and Moseley started the project they developed the following criteria for the album:

» All the material had to be original.
» Aside from solo artists with guest musicians, all bands had to remain together and actively perform in the local scene.
» The songs selected for the album would be done by the producers.
» There would be a rigorous pre-production schedule with the bands and their material to assure they were up to an international level of quality in line with top artists in the alternative genre.
» Although singles would be fully produced, recorded, mixed and mastered at the expense of ‘Aumakua Records, participating artists would retain the rights to the master recordings.

As a result, the compilation features 18 songs by 18 local alternative bands, hand-picked by Apeles and Moseley. Artists include Sing The Body, Disaster Kit, The Intire Project, Erika Elona, Kelli Heath, Johnny Helm, Rabbit & The Propers, Hollow Spheres, Prevail, Manra, Owaila, Sex Puppet, Kevin Jones, After Ever After, Mano Kane, Saving Cadence and Mike Love.

I was also asked to participate in this project and feel lucky to have been a part of the album. Not only did it give a chance for me to have an original song recorded, but I got to meet so many new artists. It brought us all closer together to form a more bonded music community. And as someone who has had the opportunity to work with both Moseley and Apeles, it seems fitting that they would put this project together, not just because of their love for Hawaii’s music scene, but also for their talents and efforts done thus far.

In the studio, Moseley brings a level of expertise, positivity and artistry to his process that encourages each artist to give their best performance. Originally from Hawaii, Moseley, a child piano prodigy/composer, moved to the mainland to pursue his musical career. He then shifted his focus to producer/engineer, having worked with such artists as Elliot Smith, Metallica and Dave Matthews. After moving back to Hawaii in 2006, he opened Soul Sound Studios in 2008. Since then, he has produced and engineered over 30 records, with multiple Na Hoku nominations and awards. He’s the real deal.

As the manager of numerous artists from Sing The Body to Erika Elona, Johnny Helm and the Intire Project, Apeles is deeply rooted in Hawaii’s dynamic alternative music landscape. He was key in choosing the bands that would deliver the best snapshot of the current scene, as well as offer promotional support for the project. With these two guys on board, I was just like the rest of the bands involved and jumped at the chance to join in. It was all about doing something different for the love of the music and the love of Hawaii.

I caught up with Apeles and Moseley this week to talk about the album and what it feels like to see this dream project come together.

Sabrina Velazquez: This project was a labor of love for you and Shawn to put this compilation together. Talk a little about that and how did you choose the bands for this project?

Brandon Apeles: It’s something I have always wanted to do and when I got the call from Moseley who brought up the idea to me I thought it was a dream. I never imagined it would actually happen and forget about how big it has become.

Brandon Apeles, Courtesy photo
Brandon Apeles. (Courtesy photo)

I basically had full creative control in picking each band and the song they would do. Certain ones I left up to the bands but I knew songs like “Overrated Town” and “Penniless” I just had to have. I picked band that I have always been a fan of and some new I discovered from going to live shows. Some bands declined and some just couldn’t get (things) together in time. I feel it all worked out for the best with the 18 that finally made the cut.

SV: The bands on the project come from different levels of experience and sound. How was it to work with 18 different bands at these various levels? And as a producer, what was the main goal/sound you tried to reach with each band?

Shawn Livingston Moseley: When I go to a family party, I’m always the uncle that hangs out with the keiki after I say hello to their folks, disappearing the formal scene to hit the slides and play. Children, like musicians, are one of the purest sources of inspiration, no matter how much they do or do not know. As a producer, I like teaching that it is not “I” but “we” (who) will make music better, make things right.

This record has built an ‘ohana of artist that is unlike anything I have ever seen in the music industry to date, and any goal I might have had in the early days of starting this album has been absorbed by the art of all those involved and is so much more than I could have ever dreamed.

Moseley (left) with bassist Max Benoit, Courtesy photo
Moseley (left) with bassist Max Benoit. (Courtesy photo)

SV: Is there a theme to the project at all or some sort of cohesiveness that you can comment on?

SLM: At first the only theme was to bring the underground music scene together and illustrate through a compilation how deeply rich the alternative music scene here is. Having extensively traveled and produced records throughout the world I learned that no matter what the genre of music, you can trace the cultural influence imbedded in the songs based on where the songwriters and artist are from, and where they were most inspired to write them.

In Hawaii, love songs are deeply poetic, allowing the listener to access their meaning’s on so many levels that often takes a lifetime and then some to fully understand, even for the songwriter. This record is clearly about love and its poetry and I would be a fool if I tried to define how and why that love is conveyed, but I can honestly say that I cannot deny its presence in every song on the album. Don’t get me wrong though, it’s not a collection of slow dances because sometimes love hurts.

SV: What does it feel like to now have the compilation picked-up by Mountain Apple and be released this month?

BA: Still doesn’t feel real. We had a little meeting/get together a couple weeks ago and it was surreal. So much positive energy in one room. Got me emotional. I am forever in debt to Moseley and all the bands that participated.

The fact that Jon De Mello and the Mountain Apple team are so into the project overwhelms me. I think this is something that can out Hawaii music out there to the masses.

SLM: Three things come to mind — a dam about to break, a bee buzzing on a fertile flower (and) a waterfall that has formed and falling gracefully over the rocks below.

SV: Any release show/shows to tell fans?

BA: We are in the planning stages for a huge “Alternative HI” concert. In the meantime the bands are still doing their regular shows around town. “Alternative HI” artists also will be performing at a few BAMP shows coming up as special guests for The Shins, Jimmy Cliff, Meiko, Justin Nozuka, Switchfoot and more.

SV: What do you hope listeners take away with them after hearing the album?

BA: I hope they can feel all the love, pain & emotion that were put into every track. Not only are the artists talented but they gave everything they had to this. I think its time for Hawaii to recognize the alternative scene.

This project is a dream come true and something I have worked at for a very long time. Thank you again to Shawn Livingston Moseley for making it a reality. I do this all for the love of the music and as a tribute to my mother who always believed in me and my music career and my only sadness it that she did not live long enough to see it finally come true.
Sabrina Velazquez is a 2011 Na Hoku Hanohano Award-nominated singer/songwriter and self-proclaimed “music nerd” who was born and raised in Honolulu. Now based in Portland, Oregon, Velazquez posts every Monday on The Pulse. - Honolulu Pulse (3/19/12)

"Scene+Heard: Talking band dynamics"

BY SABRINA VELAZQUEZ / Special to the Star-Advertiser

I have wanted to write about lead singer/guitarist Sean Cleland for a while now. Mainly because his band, the Hollow Spheres, have a unique sound that fuses jazz and rock that I wish more people would hear. They remind me a little of Hawaii legends Kalapana meets the German funk/indie band The Whitest Boy Alive.

Don’t ask me how this works, but with the Hollow Spheres it does.

I first met Sean in early 2010, just before he put his band together. At the time, he was working on recording his own solo music. A skilled guitarist with a light-melodic voice, I became a fan of his solo demos. Thus, when THS (The Hollow Spheres) got together and I saw their performance, I hadn’t expected the sound that I heard. Instead of an acoustic/folk indie-style, Cleland showcases his electric guitar playing, and his voice isn’t held back but lingers with long tones over a quick drumbeat. I was an instant fan of the style they had created and what it would add to the growing Hawaii music scene.

Last week, I heard drummer Mike Nakamoto was leaving the band to focus on his teaching career. This isn’t the first time the band has gone through line-up changes, with keyboard player changes and bass player changes taking place in the past. It got me thinking about band dynamics. Keeping a band together can be tough; coordinating schedules, band chemistry; it all has to be there to work.

As a solo singer/songwriter, I often try different variations of bands when I perform live. Each player adds a unique vibe and sound that can either work or not. Having experience on both sides, I wanted to get Sean’s view on how THS’s music has evolved and what their new band line-up might sound like.

Sabrina Velazquez: Give a little history about your music and what was the impetus to start a band?

Sean Cleland: I moved to Hawaii in 2009, and started recording right away. Since I didn’t know many musicians at the time, I was writing in a more intimate, acoustic folk style. The Hollow Spheres started about 6 months after this. I knew that I definitely wanted to play in a full-band setting again, like I had in the past (where I could focus not only on songwriting/singing, but also my guitar playing). After I met Shin (original bassist) and Mike (drummer), I remembered that the electric trio format was something that I enjoyed too.

SV: I am always interested in how musicians from out-of-state adapt to the Hawaii music scene. In your opinion, how is the music scene in Hawaii different from California?

SC: The music scene in Hawaii seems much more tight-knit than in California, in the sense that musicians and promoters seem to work with each other across genre-lines. When I was in college in California, I was playing in funk/jazz groups (while doing folk stuff on the side as well). Funk/jazz groups are actually a pretty common phenomenon there, but definitely a specific genre unto itself. There’s some of that here, but the sheer amount of groups in California creates less of a “family” atmosphere.

SV: The Hollow Spheres have a unique sound. I saw a description of it on your band website as “blue-eyed soul filtered through the spirit of pop songwriting and the raw energy of the classic guitar trio format.” That being said, I’m interested as to what influences this style?

SC: We have so many different influences, which I think show up in our songs, but as of late we’ve been really digging into the soul aspects of our playing in addition to the pop/rock elements.

For me, it feels like I’ve come back full circle from where I started. My first instrument was guitar, and I began by playing electric blues and classic rock. Motown and old soul and rock & roll records were always being played around the house. Later on, I explored jazz, funk, folk, indie, pop, etc. but I’m finding that soul and blues is just in my bones. And I’m finally starting to be okay with that musically.

We all definitely overlap on the soul/jazz aspects, but I know each member brings certain influences to the table. For instance, I know Aaron has a place in his heart for both bossa nova and ska, while Mike definitely brought his love for hip-hop to the group.

The Hollow Spheres - Live
Live at Jazz Minds. (Courtesy Sean Cleland)
SV: How is working with a band diff than as a solo artist? Do you write all the songs for THS?

SC: Working with a band is very different than working on your own as a solo artist. A band is great because everyone acts as a sort of “quality control” on everyone else’s ideas. This is great because it keeps you from being near-sighted both compositionally and musically. I do bring in a lot of the ideas for THS, but we tend to arrange and then “re-compose” ideas together as a band.

SV: The Hollow Spheres have changed its line-up a couple times now. How has that changed the band’s sound? Talk about band dynamics a bit. What do you look for in a band member?

SC: Yeah, we’ve definitely gone through a few member changes. We had a keyboardist (Jesse Town) for a few months late last year. Aaron Loeser is the third bassist that has came on board (Shin Kato and Will Inohara were the other two). As of recently, Mike Nakamoto (our longtime drummer) will be leaving. In a trio, it’s difficult to retain the same musical texture when even one-third of the band is not there. So we’re on the hunt for a new drummer. We are talking with a few great players now, but we are taking a little two-week break before we’ll start getting back into it.

Line-up changes definitely change the band’s sound, as each new member brings his musical background and style to the current overall band sound. The best band member seems to be someone who not only has musical chops and an artistic sensibility, but someone who you can get along with (and more importantly, trust). Aaron came on board about four months ago. Along with Mike, this has been the best lineup we’ve had by far. Some of this has to do with Aaron and Mike’s musicality, but I think most of it is due to the fact that we get along. No band drama = a happy band.

Plus, having a group where everyone wants to get to the same place is essential so that your overall musical/business goals are collectively aligned.

SV: Musically, how has 2011 been for the band and what are your plans for the rest of the year.

SC: 2011 has been great for the band. We’ve had the best lineup so far, played at a number of great new venues, and solidified our musical niche. As for the rest of the year, we have a lot planned for our fans. We are entertaining the idea of putting together a 4- or 5-piece version of THS as we come out of this break. We are also looking forward to recording a full-length by the end of 2011.

(In the meantime, you can check out their 2010 EP release, “Silence Speaks Louder.”

SV: Are you still recording/producing albums? Working with anyone new or just solely Hollow Spheres?

SC: I have been so involved with developing a live show and accumulating tons of material (both original and covers) that I haven’t recorded much recently other than scratch tracks for new tunes. I am not officially in any other group right now, but I’ll be playing some upcoming shows with Erika Elona and Bran Apeles’ new group (Erika Elona & The Best Dudes Ever).

SV: Describe yourself in one word.

SC: Hopeful. - Honolulu Pulse (8/1/11)

"Indie Rock, Local Style"

"Smooth, polished, ethereal rock with a melancholy tone."
-Josh 86

"Tight, groovy, haunting vibe, kind of reminds me of jazz-rock."
-Miss Catwings - Honolulu Star Advertiser (9/10/10)

"Underground Scene Unearthed"

"A group of earnest art-rockers who play regularly at Fresh Cafe and NextDoor indie nights."
-Elizabeth Kieszkowski - Honolulu Star Advertiser (9/24/10)

"The Hollow Spheres"


I first got wind of The Hollow Spheres from a Facebook link. Right. I know. From THAT site? Well, hey, bands network their music through the most casual and convenient forms these days. But as far as their music, I was mainly drawn to Sphere’s intricate sound. Dark, robust, yet eclectic. Hearing compositions ranging from 70’s psychedelic rock, to indie bands like A Band Apart and Toe. THS also steps on the boundaries of fusion and groove jazz ala John Scofield. All of these influences are evident but they still manage to harbor that DIY appeal. In my opinion, The Hollow Spheres is one of the more interesting and well-rehearsed bands I have come across in recent years. I caught them on a Wednesday night, not too long before their set at Nextdoor’s Broadcast on Hotel Street.

Okay guys, your names, where you’re from and what instrument do you play?

Cleland: Sean Cleland, originally from Santa Rosa, California. Vocals and guitar

Nakamoto: Mike Nakamoto. Play drums. Born and raised here in Hawaii.

Kato: Shin Kato. Bass. From Japan.

How did you guys get your band name? What is a hollow sphere?

Cleland: It came from a poem or thing that I wrote a while back. It was an idea like, you’re an empty vessel. Like, you’re going around life taking all of your experiences, you know what I mean? You are a cavern, fill yourself up with everything. With new ideas, with new music or new experiences. It just was a cool little thing that I thought would be fitting for a band name.

How would The Hollow Spheres categorize their genre of music?

Kato: Rock but kind of acid jazz. Kind of all mixed.

Cleland: Yeah, it’s a bit of a mix

I mean, compared to the darker sounding indie tracks on your “Silence Speaks Louder” demo, I noticed the stuff Spheres was playing during the sound check had a completely different feel.

Cleland: Well, I think it’s hard. That’s one thing I’m hesitant about. It’s good to have a consistent sound. But we come from so many different backgrounds, so we like all kinds of music. We all listen to hip-hop. We all listen to jazz. We all listen to rock. It’s kind of “where do we draw the line”? In time I think all the sounds will become “one” kind of sound but at this point, it’s a little separate. But to keep it short: we have R n’B influences. Soul influences. Funk and atmospheric rock as well.

Also from hearing your sound check, you three sound like trained musicians. Do any of you have any type of schooling? What’s your background in music?

Kato: I have been playing bass for about 20 years. I went to music school for 3 years in Japan and played with a bunch of bands there. I think I learned more from bands than in school. I moved to Seattle and then down to Southern California and played in a musical theatre group and popular funk band, while also writing & playing in my own jazz/rock band that was active for 10 years.

Nakamoto: I actually got started on drums as an accident. Well, not really an accident but my first band had too many guitarists so they told me that I should play drums [all laugh]. Ever since then, I couldn’t stop playing. It’s been about 8 years now. I took some private lessons here and there with a private instructor here in Hawaii. But other than that, I have no real formal training.

Cleland: I started out in Santa Rosa. You know, found an old guitar in the closet and it was my dad’s old guitar. Started pickin’ it up, did the whole blues rock thing in the beginning and then played in a bunch of bands in high school and college while taking private lessons. I took some music classes in college and played in an original funk/fusion group around Orange County & LA. Did some solo recordings there too. I started teaching guitar when I was living in San Diego, and now am teaching private lessons here out of my project studio.

Who writes all of your music?

Cleland: It’s starting to become more of a democratic effort. In the beginning, it was mostly me writing the stuff but nowadays it’s more democratic and we’re leaning more in that direction now. So the songs all have skeletons and we’re trying to build up the flesh around it.

On the subject of your “Silence Speaks Louder” EP, how long did it take you to record? Where did you do it and who did it?

Cleland: Well, we’ve only been around, I mean, even, you know, just as a band, for three months at this point, so…

That’s it?!

Cleland: [while smiling] Three months. I’ve only known Shin since December and Mike only since, maybe the beginning of January, right? [Nakamoto nods] But yeah, didn’t start thinking about the EP, maybe until about three weeks or a month into it? [looking at band mates] I would say, what do you guys think? It took about a month (to record)?

Nakamoto: The EP took a month and a half.

Cleland: It was initially going to be a demo. After listening to it, though, we thought it sounded decent enough to be an EP. We tracked all vocals, guitars, and bass at my project studio at home. We recorded the drums at Highway Recording Studio, and brought the 'naked' tracks back to the project studio so that I could mix.

For your song “Cloud Burst” (my personal favorite track on the demo), what is that song about? Who is the child in the lyrics?

Cleland: The child is everyone that’s ever felt exhausted with all the input that day to day life throws at you, and feeling unable to create anything lasting in the face of it. But it’s really about having the strength or foresight to know that the “cloud will burst”, you know, all things will pass in time. Talking about how life “comes in parts, it comes unconstructed” is a reminder that what we want doesn’t come already built. I mean the architecture isn’t there, there’s no blueprint, and no one can tell you how to construct the life you want. There’s so much trial-and-error involved that we have to know that the tough times are necessary.

Where do you see The Hollow Spheres in the future? Is your band looking to get signed? How far do you want to take your band?

Nakamoto: As far as it will go, I guess.

Kato: [in the background] Yeah.

Cleland: No boundaries. Sky’s the limit!

Any thoughts on your Nextdoor “Broadcast” set tonight, guys? Excited?

Cleland: Oh, I can’t wait because we mostly have new songs. That’s what’s going to be so fun about tonight. We’re playing, I think, only three or four or of our older ones and the other half are new. We’re cranking out songs like crazy recently. That’s been our whole goal in the recent months.

Nakamoto: Pretty excited!

Kato: Yeah, can’t wait!

Watching the set shortly after the interview and photo shoot, they did not disappoint. The Hollow Spheres sounded even more dynamic live, and as like singer Sean Cleland mentioned, they brandished a lot new songs that aren’t on their demo. “Oil in Water” is a new THS tune to look out for. The only thing that left me hanging was they had to cut out “Cloud Burst” (Ahh! My favorite song!) due to time constraints. Is this another incentive go watch their band again, just to hear this song? Whatever the reason, I’ll be at the next Hollow Sphere show anyway. And just in time as they landed a spot at playing at King’s Pub in Waikiki every other Friday, starting April 30th and also have a show at 39 on Hotel, for the May 18th Kaleidoscope.

Listed are sites to access The Hollow Spheres online.You can also download their “Silence Speaks Louder” EP free if you sign up for the band’s mailing list on

For booking contact: - 808 Scene Zine (5/5/10)


"Wanderlust" EP (2015)

"Silence Speaks Louder" EP (2010)



Imagine a meeting of the minds between Pink Floyd and Steely Dan in their heyday, coupled with a healthy dose of dreamy rock songwriting - all brought to you from underneath a palm tree in Honolulu.  This will bring you close to describing The Hollow Spheres' latest release: "Wanderlust" (ASCAP).

The Hollow Spheres have an infectious stylistic blend of american/britpop nostalgia and pop-nuanced rock.  Following the recent success of their album launch, "Wanderlust", the buzz is building for the Honolulu-based group.  Comparisons of their unique sound to that of iconic Hawaiian bands like Kalapana and Country Comfort are already swirling.  They also take a cue (in both their delivery and songwriting approach) from bands like Radiohead, Wilco, Phish, the Grateful Dead, Led Zeppelin, and the Beatles.  They most recently opened for national Americana/rock act Houndmouth at The Republik in Honolulu.  The band has also performed at Aloha Stadium, Pakele Live, Hawaii News Now, KHON, KITV, and The Perry & Price Show as part of a publicity push for their 2015 EP release "Wanderlust".  In June of 2016, The Hollow Spheres were selected as one of four local finalists for the Hard Rock Rising 2016 International competition.  They are featured regularly on Star 101.9 FM and have also been included on the Mountain Apple Company/Soul Sounds internationally distributed release "Alternative HI".

The band consists of Sean Cleland (lead vocals/guitar), Shin Kato (bass, backing vocals), Danny Galura (guitar, backing vocals), and Jack Tawil (drums).  Fans new and old can now find the talented foursome playing all over town from clubs to coffee houses, and from festivals to fundraisers.


A band full of transplants from the West Coast: Sean, Shin, Danny, and Jack all now call Honolulu, Hawai'i their home.  The band started in 2009 when singer/guitarist/songwriter Sean Cleland (who was born in Honolulu, raised in northern California, lived for many years in southern California, then returned to Honolulu in 2009) met bassist Shin Kato (they had both recently arrived in Hawai'i from California, though by separate routes) and began playing and writing songs fueled by an interest in rock, jazz, blues, and interesting song structures.  After the release of their debut EP "Silence Speaks Louder", as well as countless shows and multiple band lineup changes later, The Hollow Spheres found themselves included on Mountain Apple Records' "Alternative HI" compilation album.  After a brief hiatus, the band reformed as a four-piece group with the addition of guitarist Danny Galura and drummer Jack Tawil.  They haven't looked back since.

In speaking to INhonolulu Magazine, Sean says "I think people enjoy the island reggae scene here in Hawai'i, but are also open to hearing music that sits outside of that style.  If the music grooves, rocks hard, and has catchy melodies and a lot of soul then we believe people will always be attracted to it.  Any music that has these elements and presents them well will be timeless for us."

Their latest release, "Wanderlust", blends together elements of current and classic rock, pop, and soul, along with hints of both jazz and art rock.  The group says, "We want to give listeners a sense of our style, while also showcasing our breadth as a band.  So for this release we have chosen a pop song, a soul song, an intricate rock number, and a funkier tune."  Combining melodic songs with tight grooves, they present a truly unique version of the aging rock formula.

The Hollow Spheres have played (or currently play) at Honolulu venues such as: The Republik (most recently opening for national americana/rock act Houndmouth), Downbeat Lounge, Star 101.9 FM, KTUH 90.3FM, Hawaii News Now - Sunrise Show, Perry & Price Show, Aloha Stadium, Pakele Live (The Willows Restaurant), Honolulu State Art Museum, KITV Morning Show, KHON Morning Show, Hard Rock Cafe, The Plaza Club, Hallowbaloo Music & Arts Festival, The Honolulu Museum of Art, ThirtyNineHotel, Bar 35, Jazz Minds Art & Cafe, Next Door, Station Bar, Apartm3nt, Mercury Bar, Vice Nightclub, Hawaiian Brian's, Anna O'Brien's, among others.

Band Members