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The Midnight Hollow

The Midnight Hollow

Interviewed by
Courtney Sanders
Wednesday 7th August, 2013 9:11AM

The Midnight Hollow started in San Francisco as the solo project of songwriter Spencer Draeger. The other two members fell into place soon after Draeger re-located to Brooklyn and the trio have been solidly playing live and recording their expansive electronic-infused rock for the past couple of years. UnderTheRadar caught up with Draeger to discuss the movements of the band to-date, and to chat about the single we are premiering, 'Everything's Uh Peach'.

How did The Midnight Hollow start?

Some bands are formed in bedrooms off demos and ideas that may not come to fruition till there's a show booked. Usually it's the live aspect that officially makes demos into songs and songs to the cohesive element of a band. As for The Midnight Hollow, this was the case. I moved to Brooklyn from San Francisco with an EP and a bunch of optimism that I could get something together. And a lot of optimism/ignorance/awkwardness later I finally met Andrew (Segreti) and Trevor (Murphy). But we just jammed on the demos for about six months and really tried to figure out what we're going to be, not by how I wrote the songs, but really how we played and recreated it all live.

When you started out did you have an idea of how you wanted to sound or was the development of your sound more organic than that?

Honestly, the more you think about things the more contrived they get. I had been in projects in the past and worked with other artists and producers and realized once you seek out identity or a certain sound it's a fine line between losing integrity and authentically showing what you feel. By default of the name, peopled viewed the band as something dark and brooding but we never really wanted to be that deliberately, though we sway that way sometimes in some of our songs. Organic things breathe, and we all can be ambivalent and moody as people and I think melodically and rhythmically our music portrays this kind of human behavior. We can't be depicted by one emotion or at one moment but it is crazy how homogenous things can get when you go looking for it. So there was no plan and it wasn't really till after a year of writing and recording could I see what the band resembled. You have to take a step back. But the fun part is always changing, once again change is growth and another organic element of The Midnight Hollow. We aren't the concept band following any sort of guideline or niche.

For people who haven't heard The Midnight Hollow's music, how would you describe your sound?

Psychedelic Groove? I guess right now this group of songs is massive. I don't know it's incredibly difficult for band's to describe themselves, let alone sell it to someone without hearing it for themselves. I always think something sounds like this then we get compared to a bunch of bands I never even thought about or heard of. Not to dodge the question, but what are genres? Like what's indie or rock even mean these days? They sound banal and blasé when you say them out loud while they don't really define anything either. And once you throw a few bands in the mix that are "similar" it's a bit of a pigeonhole trap or like you're just ripping some other group off. It may not be the answer to describe our sound but that's kind of the beauty in interpretation-- we all have ears that decode music differently so just listen.

Tell me about major inspirations or influences that underpin The Midnight Hollow's work.

Living in a box with a bunch of different kind of people.

You guys are based in Brooklyn and there seems to be a really strong indie music community there. Tell me a little bit about the community you fit into: is there a particular sound? What other bands that exist within your community do you admire?

It's a little conflicted but still amazing. The scene IS strong, there are a ton of extremely unique bands that would probably give you a longer answer of "describing what their sound is like to people that haven't heard the band" than me. You get comfortable being self indulgent and that's what we need more of in my eyes or ears. Musicians are everywhere but artists are a different breed. Brooklyn is filled with artists, and that being said people let loose on being unique rather than trying to write the perfect song. Which may not be for everyone. However, I have also found there are just a ton of people that are trying to get their name out there off watering down the bands in "the scene." It's lame but not unexpected. But I think what really makes a scene is the other group of people, such as yourself, who like to write about shows and new artists. That's the difference in BK, there are just so many outputs for new music and people to capture it and more importantly whose passion is to capture it. I don't want to speak on behalf of Brooklyn on what sound is coming out because there are frankly more people in bands than have jobs haha. I admire many and most my friends are in bands, I really dig ERAAS who are working on their next record. Also, our friends in Caveman are super buds and helped us find the studio where we tracked drums, the Rumpus Room. See Through is another band we've played with and hang with, I think they'll be pretty huge soon now that their playing out all the time. We'll see what happens.

What are you guys working on at the moment?

I'm always working on the next album even though this one is just starting to get out there. This is our first press towards it actually! This record took forever to finish that we just want to get it off our chests so we could play to an audience that knew the music and move on to the next batch of songs. At the moment we're working on getting it out there and hopefully we'll be playing on the road soon.

We're premiering your single 'Everything's Uh Peach'. Tell me a little bit about writing and recording that one.

Well I wrote it just after I moved to New York into a tiny apartment, as they all are. And at the time I didn't have a studio yet or anything but I shipped all my gear from San Francisco which filled the entire bedroom and I was a bit frustrated and cramped. I'd sleep with my legs on a keyboard case on a twin blow up mattress with an amp as my night stand. The vocals on the first chorus are really soft and chill because I felt shy singing to all my neighbors in the building with the walls being paper thin but it fit the vibe of the song. We all live in these ridiculous closets that cost a fortune, yet it's stereotyped to be the center of art, industry and possibility when no artist could feasibly afford it. I'd get in these frequent conversations with my girlfriend at the time that led to the reality that I was disillusioned from what I wanted and it was a lack of inspiration in some lights while ironically it was also what compelled me to write the song. Then it hit me how everything was really just where it was supposed to be and that nothing is easy and this was what made me write honest, great songs. And maybe inspiration's tough love. A lot of people, myself included, move here with ambitions for themselves but in practice it's a game of catching up on paying the rent and you tend to lose focus of where you are. The song was a lot shorter but once we started playing it live it really showcased the band and the rhythmic intensity that signifies a lot of our sound. And I just wanted to bring the live aspect into the studio. I loved recording the bass on this one with all the percussion and drums and went a little overboard but whatever. It's definitely one of our fav's live and we change it a lot from the recording so it's a reason to see us live!

What are the future plans for the band over the next year or so? Releases? Tours?

Playing CMJ in October and filming a music video for one of the other songs in the next few weeks. We are also playing Mercury Lounge on Wednesday Sept. 4th for anyone in New York. We are also going to be putting out a bunch of episodes of the recording process and just all the trials and tribulations we went through making the album. I have no official date for releasing the album yet but you will be hearing it.


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