Great Escape 2018 Interview: Hollow Coves

By on Tuesday, 5th June 2018 at 11:00 am

As mentioned in a few of my roundups from The Great Escape 2018, nearly all the afternoon showcases I attended were rammed. This included Sound Australia’s takeover of both the downstairs main room and the upstairs Studio Bar spaces at Komedia on Gardner Street. Like a dolt, I forgot, again, that we had to enter through the back entrance of the building to get to the live performances.

In case you haven’t been able to enjoy a past Sound Gallery event at SXSW, The Great Escape or at another event, let me explain to you the general premise. The acts who perform are generally on the lighter, more acoustic side of things than hard rock or electronic. Attendance was high at both stages of Sound Gallery by the time I arrived, but I was lucky enough to be present for most of Hollow Coves’ set upstairs, sneaking around people and making it to second row from down the front. What I’ve branded as their style of music, ‘ethereal rock’, easily mesmerised the assembled crowd, the duo’s harmonies sounding gorgeous, even angelic. Hailing from Brisbane and The Gold Coast, the sea is important to them, so it’s not surprising they’ve written a gorgeous number called ‘Coastline’, which you can enjoy in an acoustic form below.

We hear stories all the time from artists who say they’ve been writing music all their lives and music is the only profession they’d ever consider. The reality is that so many musicians you may not have heard about had other successful careers before luck or happenstance intervened. Ryan Henderson and Matt Carins’ previous professions were both quite far off from music: Henderson was a civil engineer and Carins was a carpenter. So how did two guys from very different professional spheres meet in the first place? “It was a mutual friend [who introduced us]”, Henderson explains. “I’d been playing music at home and recording a few things. Matt had been doing the same in a similar genre. A friend of mine showed me his music, and I didn’t know anyone in the local area that I live who was doing that sort of music, so I started chatting with him. We got together and had a jam, and it just worked. We wrote some songs, and it just went from there!”

Hollow Coves Thursday The Great Escape 2018
Hollow Coves performing at Sound Gallery, Komedia Studio Bar, 17th May 2018

“We had no expectations, really”, Carins interjects. “We were just doing it for [our own] enjoyment. Put it on SoundCloud.” He claps his hands and grins. “And then went travelling!” I ask him where they’ve been travelling and which places they’ve loved the most. To my surprise, he says, “we’ve actually done more travel overseas [than in Australia]. We’ve only really done the East Coast of Australia. We’re going back at the end of July to start a tour in August, so we’ll be seeing more of Australia then.” During their set, the pair mentioned they would be going to Plymouth, about 350 kilometres east of Brighton on the south coast of England, to record. “We’re going to aim for an album, but sometimes things don’t work out in the studio. It’s definitely going to be an EP or an album”, says Carins. “We’re going to do 10 new tracks.”

I have to ask, why Plymouth of all places? In all my 12 visits to the UK, I’ve still not made it anywhere in the West side of the Britain, including Wales. It sounds like from Henderson that their management are pretty great and open to their ideas. “Our manager said to us, ‘who are your influences, what are some albums that you like the production on?’ We sent him a bunch of albums, and they came back to us with, ‘we’ve been talking to a few of the producers of the albums you mentioned, and this guy in England is interested in working with you. He actually came to Australia and we got to meet him over there. He was such a nice guy, and he plays drums and bass. Before we even mentioned that we don’t play drums and bass, he said, ‘I love playing on the records I produce’, so it was the perfect fit, really.” The producer in question is Chris Bond, Ben Howard’s producer and former bandmate; they’re both big fans of Howard’s work (“Ben Howard’s earlier stuff”, Carins clarifies). “We recorded our latest song ‘Ran Away’ with him late last year, and it went really, really well. We’re super excited.”

It’s still really early days for Hollow Coves. But judging from the rapturous reception they received at their first performance at The Great Escape 2018, the future looks as bright for Henderson and Carins, just as the sunlight gleams and smiles upon on the Northeast of Australia. I wish them the best.

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There Goes The Fear is where we tell you about the latest music, gigs, and tours we love and think you should too.

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