About Me

Interview with Hollow

A tower can mean so many things but also music and growth. That was what Andreas Stoltz, the composer responsible for this amazing album explained to Metal Imperium. 
“Tower” was released on the 26th November 2021, via Rockshots Records and it has a very positive vibe.
Andreas also told the story behind this project and the contribution of drummer Stalder Zantos.
Let your inner tower guide you!

M.I. - Hi there, guys. How are you? Thanks for this interview. For those that don’t know you and your work, could you please, tell a bit of your story and what kind of music you play?

Hollow is a pretty old band. We started in the 90’s, recorded an album that later on got the attention of Nuclear Blast and was released by them. We released another album on Nuclear Blast the year after, but kind of disbanded pretty soon after that. I got tinnitus after a show in Oslo, Norway, and had to give up music for about ten years. But now it’s all working better, and I try to take good care of my ears. The music is Heavy Metal with some Power Metal and perhaps some progressive elements, too. 

M.I. - Your new album is called “Tower” and was released on the 26 November 2021, via Rockshots Records. It follows 2019's Between Eternities of Darkness, which marked the band's return after a 20-year hiatus. Care to tell us what happened during the hiatus?

As I mentioned Hollow ceased to exist as a band in the late 90’s. When I started over with music I joined a covers band, wrote music, played guitar (on the albums) and sang in Binary Creed and released two albums with them. When I left Binary Creed I had a lot of material. So, I released those songs as Hollow. 

M.I. - Whereas “Between Eternities Of Darkness” was a dark and tragic tale, “Tower” is a tale of transformation and emphasises the possibility of change and of growth, but also each person's responsibility to make the better choice. How personal are these two albums for you and was the lyric process for each of them different? Was it difficult?

I haven’t been in any situation resembling the story on BEOD, but I’m very concerned about the well-being of young people and people who are exposed by the conditions of their lives. A lot of people are vulnerable, and this vulnerability sometimes takes them to bad places. “Tower” on the other hand, has a lot to do with what I’ve been exploring in the last couple of years. I recently went vegan, as a way of minimising animal suffering and also to do what I can to help the planet. Perhaps this has to do with my interest in meditation, mindfulness and the bits about trying to lead a good, kind and grateful life. On “Tower”, I set out to describe a person’s transformation for a better life, for herself/himself and for others. That’s why we’re here, I think. 

M.I. - Since this is a concept album with the ambition of conveying a story, one must hear from the first track until the last one, to capture the essence of it. The story is mainly about ourselves, since we’re trapped in our “tower”. Is there an inner feeling that each song represents? How did you decide the feeling for each track?

Most of my music tends to be melancholic. There’s an inherent sadness in this existence. Every meeting has an unavoidable separation attached to it. In some songs there’s also frustration and passion. I hesitate to use the word “angry” although there are also more aggressive passages here and there. I don’t want to label the songs in order not to influence the interpretation of others.    

M.I. - The music also symbolises the album as a whole. It blends progressive metal/rock, power, melodic death and thrash elements. The best Hollow album yet. What elements did you add to it, that you think were missing in the previous album? How did you relate the music to the forms of the lyrics’ structures?

Thank you! I’m very glad that you like it. One difference is the songs themselves. I wrote shorter songs on this album and wanted to keep it under 40 minutes. Many of my favorite albums are short. I’ve worked more together with Stalder (drums) on this one, and his suggestions and ideas have contributed greatly to structures, omissions and sometimes also melodies in most of the songs. 

M.I. - It sounds like the beginning of the 2000’s, with contemporary choruses. What bands from that era influenced you to make such an amazing sound, especially the guitars?

I listen a lot to Melodic Death Metal, and I really like Bleed From Within. There’s always a lot going on in the guitars compartment there, and I guess you can hear that occasionally. I like guitar parts that contribute to the songs, not only as backing up the vocals, and I can mention Sean Blosl and Lenny Rutledge of Sanctuary as great sources of inspiration from back then.    

M.I. - Drummer Stalder Zantos, who also appeared on “Between Eternities Of Darkness”, is a strong element on this record. How is it working with him? Are there any guests on the record?

There are many fantastic drum parts on “Tower”, and I sometimes find myself listening mainly to the drums. Stalder has great musical intelligence and always has the best of each song in mind. If the drums need to be more laid back to promote certain aspects of the guitars or the vocals, that’s what he does. We didn’t agree on everything on “Tower”, but compromises are one of the good things about working together. There are no guest musicians on “Tower”, I’m afraid. 

M.I. - Which song was more difficult to write, produce and mix? And the easiest? And for you, which one is your favorite?

“Sunrise” was tricky. I put some effort into the chorus and had to re-do it a couple of times. The mixing was done by Massimilian Flak and we had a very rewarding dialogue during the mixing process. One of my favorites is “A Home Forgotten”. There’s a strong emotional quality to that song. 

M.I. - What bands/singers influenced you for this record and your daily life?

Bleed From Within, again. But I have to mention Crimson Glory, Lethal, Queensrÿche, Sanctuary and Nevermore as well. There are plenty of amazing bands to listen to! 

M.I. - It’s a bit early, but are there any plans for a tour next year? When, dates and countries? Maybe Portugal?

Nothing is decided yet. We’ll have to see how Tower is received and what interest there might be for a Hollow show. 

M.I. - Thanks so much for this interview. Any final words for the fans, Metal Imperium and Portugal?

To any new and old fans: Thank you for your support! I’m amazed that some of you have hung around since the Nuclear Blast days. It would be wonderful to be able to deliver some of Hollow’s songs to you from a stage someday. To be able to touch someone’s heart with my music is what this is all about. Take care!

For Portuguese version, click here
Listen Hollow on Spotify

Questions by Raquel Miranda