BY: MICHELLE PEREZ-VEGA
What, exactly, is Hollow Intent?
The band has been described by some in the music industry as “Active Hard Rock,” “Melodic Metal Rock,” and “Aggressive Alternative Rock.” Hollow Intent’s own bio states it’s a variance of its own breed of infectious, hard rock and metal, with a touch of groove, similar to late 90’s Rock/Metal.
The Wilmington, NC-based members, however, really prefer that you don’t try to define them. If you press them, however…
“Hollow Intent is in your face, non-stop heart pounding, mind-racing energy,” stated Guitarist Wesley Seven. “We put in what we want to hear, what we want to see, and what we want to experience at a show.”
“A punch here, a jab there?” wondered Bassist Shane Noren. “Maybe a lime and a coke? We just want our music to be heard!”
“Powerful, raw, aggressive, moving, high energy,” Drummer Mark Davis positively said. “Live is where it’s at. We are an ever-evolving rock ‘n roll roller coaster establishing its own tracks while paying respect to those who paved the way before us.”
“Very raw, emotional, aggressive, fierce, and energetic,” Vocalist/Guitarist Will Baker opined. “Just like pictures tell a story with the image, we want to tell a story with the sounds.”
Perhaps, as the Aerosmith song goes, it may be best to “let the music do the talking,” right?
MEETING OF THE MINDS
The nucleus Hollow Intent started as an idea in Baker’s mind, going through various lineups before solidifying the unit with Seven, Davis, and Noren by 2018.
“I met Wes when he was in another band and had known Mark for a while,” Baker said. “I met Shane while attempting to play drums for some other band. We all got together one time and it was sincerely magic.”
“We were able to bounce ideas off of each other, hash it out, record and produce our own material,” Davis put in. “The first show together, I knew we had something special.”
That “something special” is definitely an eclectic bunch. But it’s that eclectic bunch that emits the successfully smoldering core of everything Hollow Intent is.
The members of Hollow Intent have a wide range of influences that they bring to the band: Noren lists his as The Used, Nirvana, Refused, Michael Jackson, anything poppy or punk; while Davis cites Kiss, Black Sabbath, Ozzy, Slipknot, and Badlands. Seven finds it hard to choose from a list of many, but eventually rolls out Ace Frehley, Black Sabbath, and Alice Cooper. Baker, meanwhile, is a fan of Breaking Benjamin, Chevelle, Ra, Staind, and Story of the Year.
“The dynamics of Hollow Intent are truly unique,” Seven agreed. “We pooled our influences together and ran them through the sieve. We have the heart-to-heart vocals, the heavy riffs, the pounding drums, and ovulating bass that makes us have a voice as a band.”
The members range in age from 28-45 and self-describe themselves as a group of average “Joe’s.” They are your “everyday” people, from teachers to construction engineer inspectors in the daytime, to “rock stars” at night.
“We are the island of misfit toys,” Baker joked. “You can look at us and be like, ‘That’s an odd group. You have a caveman, a ginger, and two suburban dads.’ Then we get on stage and the typical reaction is, ‘WTF, where did that come from?!’ Don’t get me wrong,” he continued, “there are people who don’t like us, but that’s okay. We all have our tastes.”
BEHIND THE MUSIC
Via independently from Eye to Eye Records, Hollow Intent released its debut 7-track EP, Monster, to critical acclaim in 2018, spawning the hit single, “Burn.” The band eventually garnered nominations in 2019 for the Carolina Music Award’s “Best Rock Group” and “Best Rock Male” for Baker. Most recently, Hollow Intent has been chosen to play at the Blue Ridge Rock Festival this September in Appomattox, Va., alongside well-known acts such as Sevendust, Static-X, August Burns Red, and The Pretty Reckless, just to name a few.
In this time of COVID-19, where other shows have been postponed or cancelled, Hollow Intent has chosen to release singles rather than another album to keep its fans, or “Parasites” as they are known, happy. Since Monster, the band has released two more singles: “Superhero” in March 2020 and the just-released “Machine” in May 2020.
“We want to use our time wisely,” Davis noted, “recreating our EP in an unplugged fashion, writing heavier tunes, releasing something new every 2-3 months. Ultimately, we’re looking at making a ton of music over the next few months.”
As Seven described it, “Machine” is packed full of head banging material, monstrous riff work, heavy drums, and powerful bass. He said the writing process was developed with all of the band members in a room, with someone playing the first part while “just goofing on.”
“Our last two releases, “Superhero” and “Machine,” encompass different aspects of the rock spectrum,” Baker elaborated. “”Superhero” talks about using strengths as weaknesses. The song is a bit more on the ‘it’s a bop’ side, more radio friendly. “Machine” is about not conforming to the social mold, if you will. Avoiding the power-hungry side of life, rebelling. That one is a banger.”
Noren stated that Hollow Intent’s music encompasses everything, from love to death, a medicine to help others that want it. Davis said he views the band’s music as a positive message, being advocates and anthems of the estranged, disenfranchised, and outcasts of society, inspiring others to know that they are capable of whatever they put their mind to.
“We want people to know that even in their darkest moments, deepest thoughts, no matter what, we are here,” Seven sincerely said. “We sing about striving to self-excellence and positive vibes, while calling out the parasites that cause us these issues, thoughts, or feelings.”
“If we even impact just one person on this journey, that’s all that matters,” Baker added. “We can only hope to be a part of that healing process. We are here for you. Message us. Call us.”
WORKING HARD FOR THE MONEY
Like many independent bands, Hollow Intent relies on itself to keep the band out in the public eye. This involves constantly writing new music, staying present on social media, managing themselves, doing their own public relations…basically speaking, networking in the music industry is a 24-7 thing.
“We found that the best way for ANY band to compete and have sustainability is to: One, Have a story,” Baker said. “Be honest, personable, and involved. Two, Be creative. You only get so far doing the one thing everyone else is doing. Yeah, I get a lot of ‘You guys sound like what’s on the radio.’ Okay, it’s a fact that our music has some serious radio elements to it. But come to our show and experience what separates us from what’s on the radio.”
As previously noted, Hollow Intent’s most successful lineup has only been together since 2018, but in those two years alone, the band has come a long way, especially in building a fan base.
“We have some extremely passionate and ruthless fans,” Baker enthused. “We get just as excited seeing them time and again as we did when we first met them.”
And what do the members look for regarding longevity? To maintaining and increasing that fan base?
“Longevity is hard in this world and we are just getting started,” Davis added. “But, we plan to be doing our thing for a while. Creating positive relationships with various members of the music community and industry as a whole. Growing our fan base one handshake or fist bump at a time. We all have similar difficult backgrounds but do not let it identify who we are. We thrive on having our weaknesses make us stronger.”
And that elusive word…success. How do the members define it?
“Not everybody gets to do what we do and play for live crowds,” Noren stated. “That alone is success, in my opinion.”
“Success is a commonly misused word,” Baker countered. “Success is defined by your happiness. If you want to live at home, grow a garden and you’re happy, then you’re successful. Screw everyone who says otherwise. Me personally, I want to help people with the music.”
Which Hollow Intent continues to do, one fan at a time.