Hollow Bones are a metalcore and post-hardcore outfit froom New York. Their new album, ‘Lionheart’ is set to release this Friday after weeks of teasers, music videos, and other generous coverage from Fresno Media. We got together with frontman, Patrick Anthony, to get the scoop on the new album, local favorites, touring experiences, genre labels, women in heavy music, and more.
Transcending Obscurity (FlightOfIcarus): ‘Lionheart’ has been over a year in the making. Could you tell us a bit about the writing and recording process?
Hollow Bones (Patrick Anthony): Well, the whole thing started off very slowly. We began taking a new approach after we released our first EP (under the band name Edenborn), and I think it took a little bit before we oriented ourselves in the direction we wanted to go, so the writing process was slow. That gave us the opportunity to really take time to get things exactly how we wanted them, though, so I think it was a good thing that it took so long. Recording was really fun, though. We only went into the studio when we had songs ready, and working with Randy (Pasquarella) is always a good experience. The dude is really professional, and really good at what he does.
TO: Who came up with the title and where did the idea come from?
HB: Well, originally I (Patrick) wanted to name the album ‘Ironheart’, but we ultimately decided that name seemed to have negative connotation, and did not convey the right message for the album. ‘Lionheart’ is more appropriate, because it speaks to the endurance that we believe humanity has as a species. Whether it be personal, or cultural perseverance, we think that humanity has great potential.
TO: Your lyrics come off as pretty personal, which I think is important to really hitting the mark in this genre. So many recycled tropes get passed around on big name releases. Where do you get your inspiration and what drives you to put yourself out there?
HB: My lyrical inspiration is largely based on personal experience, and my observations at the state of the world around me. I truly feel that as a species, we are letting ourselves descend a really slippery slope. That is what Lionheart; Sonder/Execution, and A Murder of Crows are about. Then there are songs like The November Diaries, Altruistic Lung and Wolfcrone that are about my own personal struggles and experiences. As far as what drives me, to put myself out there, it really is a matter of catharsis. It is the only productive way that I have found for me to process my emotions, and it has really helped me move forward in a lot of ways.
TO: Which is your favorite song?
HB: Definitely Wolfcrone. I think that song hits really hard and has a lot of energy. The end of that song is really important to me.
TO: In my own review I compared Hollow Bones to groups like Underoath and A Day To Remember. These are both bands who balance a strong dose of pop sensibility with metal. Is it a conscious decision or a fluid process? Is there ever a time where it’s like, “Wait, this song isn’t heavy enough,” or “We need a more catchy chorus”?
HB: Firstly, I just want to say thank you for comparing us to Underoath, haha. But this is a really cool question, because at first it started off as a conscious decision, but it became very fluid. When we wrote Drytooth, we were very conscious with the implementation of Sharon’s vocals to make the song stand out. After that, though, it came very natural. If anything, I would have liked her voice to be more present on the album, but we are currently writing more material, and there will definitely be more clean singing!
TO: Who do you consider to be the bands that most inspired you to make this music?
HB: For me personally, I would say Misery Signals. Hands down, that band (the album ‘Of Malice and the Magnum Heart’ in particular) would probably be the biggest influence musically between the lot of us. But besides just that one, there are definitely a large range of influences including Underoath, Parkway Drive, Oceano, and even some old school metal like Pantera, Black Sabbath, etc. Influences are hard to nail down, just because we all love such a diverse array of music. Also Counterparts…we all love that band.
TO: What are your thoughts on people who scoff at metalcore and post-hardcore as more of a trendy fad? I feel like more people have started to embrace the genre openly over time (there’s still a lot of closet fans as well), but there is definitely still a generalized stigma in the metal community.
HB: You are totally right. It is definitely stigmatized, and it is a shame. I am a firm believer of ‘like what you like’ …labels and sub-genres really only serve to divide music fans, and that sucks, because we are all in it to enjoy the music. I don’t think scoffing at ANY genre is really cool. I listen to Taylor Swift, and Lights. Who cares what genre it is? There is good music in every genre.
TO: As long as we’re on the topic of prejudice in music, women still get a bad deal in the genre as well. We have eyesores like “hottest women in metal” articles floating around like their talent is somehow secondary to looks. Sharon is a huge talent and a big part of what makes your sound work, how did she come to be in the band and what is her perspective on the current atmosphere of women in music?
HB: Sharon is a tough cookie, and really doesn’t take anyone’s shit when it comes to the topic of women in music. It sucks that there is such a negative feedback loop of women in heavy music, and I know for certain that she aims to make a statement about not buying into that nonsense. We are all equal. Doesn’t matter your sexual orientation, your gender, your race, your religion etc.. We are all human, and we are all listening to music because we want to heal, or find release.
TO: Alright, enough serious stuff. Tell us about being a band in New York. I imagine you have connections with some other great groups in the area? Favorite venue?
HB: Being a NY band is awesome, but it is tough. There is a LOT of really great talent out here. As far as the best venue, I would say the most fun place to play to a huge crowd would be The Chance Theatre, but playing to a smaller group, a place like Coco 66 (I think they closed down), The Bug Jar in Rochester, or The Trash Bar in Brooklyn. Those places are so awesome.
TO: You’ve also shared the stage with some big names: Periphery, Whitechapel, Born of Osiris, and After the Burial (my personal favorite) to name a few. Who has been your favorite band to play with so far?
HB: Well, it has definitely been awesome just to be able to say we shared the stage with bands like that, and bands like Emmure and Whitechapel. Those bands are legendary. However, for me, my favorite band to have played with was It Dies Today. We played their 10 year anniversary tour for the album ‘The Caitiff Choir’ …they remain one of my favorite heavy bands, and to share the stage with one of my biggest musical influences was huge. After we played our set, the guitarist approached me and said “you guys are a breath of fresh air” and I think I probably died a little on the inside, haha.
TO: What has been the best moment playing live?
HB: Definitely the first time we realized that people in the crowd were singing the lyrics to Drytooth back at us. That blew our minds, and it still does any time we see someone singing our songs with us.
TO: I get a lot of interesting and unique stuff from Fresno Media in my inbox. What’s it been like working with them?
HB: Hands down, the best decision we have made as a band. They are great. They work really hard, they are professional, and they are excellent at communicating and staying on top of their work. To boot, they are incredibly friendly. It has been an excellent experience.
TO: The big question: you can shout out any underground metal group (any subgenre) that you feel doesn’t get enough attention. Who is it going to be?
HB: OHH. This is a tough one, because we have a lot of really talented friends doing really cool stuff, so we are going to cheat a little here. First and foremost, we want to shout out I Dreamt the Sea. They are a Long Island band, and they are SO good, and SO passionate. You are truly doing yourself a disservice by not listening to them immediately after reading this interview. Also, Give Up the Goods from LI. They are so tight, and so heavy. As far as bands from near us, check out Tribute, and Sabretooth. Those bands are young blood, but they are making good moves, and they are writing some really cool heavy music.
Thanks so much for taking the time to do this. Any last words on the album or band?
Not a problem, thank you for asking us these awesome questions! Definitely keep your eyes peeled. We just shot a music video for one of our songs, and that will be coming soon. We have our CD release on June 11th, in Poughkeepsie NY at My Place Pizza, and we are looking to do a short tour with Tribute in October!