Interview: My Hollow
***All answers by Angelo Giammattolo, Drummer***
What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today?
(Answer by Angelo - Drummer)
I got into music at a very young age. My mom listened to “oldies” from the 50’s and 60’s and my dad was always into classic rock. My older brother was into modern rock and my friends were into hip hop so there was constantly a variety of music to listen to and choose from. It helped that my father is/was a drummer so instruments were handy around the house and encouraged to make some noise and rock out! If it weren’t for music, my life would be so drastically different, I’m not even sure what I would consider doing to fill that gap in passion and time!?.... Maybe a chef hahahaha
What do you like to do when you are not playing music and how does that influence your creativity?
(Answer by Angelo - Drummer)
When I’m not playing music, my creativity is being peaked in several different activities and hobbies. I collect and play video games, I collect and ride BMX bikes and muscle cars, I play competitive soccer and “table soccer” and I make designs, clothing, and covers for work. I believe everything you do, you can extract skills and qualities from each thing and apply them to the other in some form or fashion. A lot of my hobbies require hand-eye and foot-eye coordination along with focus and endurance which directly applies to drums and most instruments.
How long has your band been around?
The band has been around since 2010ish. It was formed by drummer Angelo, guitarist Greg and former bassist, Gabe. We then found the singer Graham and kept moving forward from there... Ok, maybe a few steps back at times due to member swaps but that’s a whole other story all together.
Where are you based out of and how did that influence your music?
We say we’re based out of Toronto for general location purposes and that’s where the scene is but really, we’re from all over Ontario. We have members who live in Oshawa, Barrie, Bolton, Vaughan, Oakville, and Toronto. We practice in Bolton and it’s an average of an hour drive each way for us. From growing up in different areas, we all have unique tastes and influences that we bring to our music and we have learned to develop our style around that.
How did you come up with the name of your band and what does it mean to you?
We came up with our name in a few different scenarios combined. After toying with several names, we didn’t even decide on one before playing our 1st show and the promoter called us “the Greg G band” because that’s our guitarist's name who booked the show!! “My Hollow” was a name that was sticking, especially after we kept saying “Mahalo” which means “Thank you” in Hawaiian. A great friend of the band, who has since passed, used to come to our practices and draw. He came up with our original logo which consisted of every letter of “My Hollow” in it. It was a sphere with upper and lower release points representing the “hollow” inside of us all. The name and logo took new heights and meanings as it evolved over the years from there with the artistic brilliance of our singer's wife, Jenn White, who has been doing all of our album and merchandise art ever since.
Tell me about your most memorable shows.
We have had many memorable shows in the past. Every time we play with a band that we have been listening to for years is always monumental and unforgettable for us, but 2 shows that stick out in the memory is playing the “Wacken metal battle finals Canada” at the Opera House in Toronto in which we were extremely close to winning and playing in Germany!! The other show that remains in our heads was when we put on a fundraiser show called “Peyton’s
Journey” for a little girl who had Cystic Fibrosis. We played in her hometown, London Ontario and the show was fantastic!! We had some amazing bands play with us that night and had several raffles and fun, fundraising activities. The show had a different atmosphere than most because we were all gathered for a good cause and the love and respect flowing that evening is a memory we will not forget.
What is your favorite venue to play at, and do you have any places you want to play that you have not already?
Our favourite venue to play is without a doubt, “the Rockpile” in Etobicoke, Ontario. We have played there over 25 times and always look forward to playing there. We know the promoter, the sound guy, door and bar staff, and everyone is friendly and welcoming. We call it our “Home court”. We have played most venues and non-venues in Toronto but there are a few venues around the city that have eluded us and we would love to play “the Phoenix”, “Horseshoe tavern” and a few others.
If you could play any show with any lineup, who would be on the ticket?
If we could play any show with any lineup, we would love to play with Soilwork and Unearth again. We also enjoy having other local bands on the bill because it attracts a tighter community. With all the pandemic happening and things opening back up, the real answer now is, we would simply love to play any show with any lineup!! Playing live is the best thing in the world and we are dying to get back out there, especially after releasing all the new music we have been working on.
What is some advice that you would give to someone who is just getting into playing in a band and some advice that you would give to your younger self?
Some advice we would give to someone getting into a band is probably the most important thing... PICK THE RIGHT PEOPLE!! Being in a band is like being in a relationship, only with multiple partners. There are countless ideas and decisions to make that eventually draw a fork in the road. A band needs to be able to communicate and problem-solve together. They need to be on the same page and have similar tastes and goals. That’s been one of our biggest strengths over the years, is the fact that we all have roles in the band and we trust each other’s ideas and motives.
It would be difficult to give advice to our younger selves because ultimately it’s the experience of being in a band and going through the thick and thin that comes with it. I suppose the best thing to say to the younger generation is, to pay attention to every detail from writing music to playing live shows and everything in between. Going through the experiences may be inevitable but learning from each one, for better or worse, is crucial to growing not only in a band, but in life.
If you could go back in time and give yourselves advice, what would it be?
See above answer.
Of your songs which one means the most to you and why?
I think each member has a song that means the most to them and the singer Graham, has stories in his lyrics which give each track a special place in his heart but I think overall as a band, the song “Fighting the Monsters” means a lot because it was written around the fantasy of what our guitarist's kids think we’re doing when we go play a show. When the kids see daddy the next day wearing a metal shirt he got from the show, they think that’s the monster that daddy slayed!
Which songs are your favorite to play and which get requested the most?
Our favorite songs to play and possibly most band's problem is, always the newest songs. They are the freshest and funniest tracks to play and normally are complemented with new skills we have learned in between. Furthermore, we have a new lead guitarist and keyboardist who have added to our style in big ways so everything new is improved, therefore much more fun to play.
What is the creative process for the band, and what inspires you to write your music?
The creative process for the band has evolved into, our guitarist Greg, puts together most of a track at “My Hollow Studios East” filled with ideas for drums, keys, harmonies, etc... then presented to the band at “My Hollow Studios North” where they get to dissect and add individual flavours. Our singer Graham typically likes to wait until the song is complete before he gets writing his melodies because the track goes through changes from timing, tempos, and whatever other ideas we decide to throw in.
What kinds of messages do you like to get across in your music?
The lyrics to our music aren’t as influential messages as it is storytelling. Some songs are about survival, war, trips to the sun, fighting mystical monsters, etc... We attempt to stay away from politics and current news as it gets old quickly and we simply do not turn tracks around that fast.
Do you ever have disagreements in your band, and how do you get past them?
The band goes through disagreements as any band or teammates would. The major strength of our group is that we have been together for so long and have gone through many hardships over the years, not just disagreements in the jam room, but life hurdles to overcome and still maintain the passion and priority for the band. We have been able to find roles for ourselves over the years and get to use our own discretion in those aspects. It takes respect for each other, common courtesy, and communication which we value very much.
What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that is coming up?
The pandemic has been a blessing for us in ways because it gave us a chance to finish recording our latest album “Fighting the Monsters”, make music videos, photoshoots, promos, save money, and plan for when the time comes, which it has now, to get back out and play shows and enjoy this awesome scene and passion we have. Our future contains more new music, videos, and trying to produce quality content we can be proud of.
Puppet Music Video – Vultures - https://metalinjection.net/video/my-hollow-allows-the-puppets-to-take-over-in-new-single-vultures
Cartoon Music Video – Fighting the Monsters - https://bravewords.com/news/exclusive-my-hollow-premieres-fighting-the-monsters-video-feat-soilworks-bjorn-strid