By Emma Greensill
As The Hollow Bodies have just finished their first DIY tour with fellow band Cheap Teeth, and are currently trying to balance uni work, a job and the band, Joe Wachniuk, Jack sharp and Isaac Hartley tell us about who inspires their music and what we should expect next from them.
The three lads from Halifax formed when they all came to the same uni: Manchester Metropolitan University. They had always talked about forming a band together back in Halifax, where they went to Hipperholme and Lightcliffe School and Sixth Form together, but didn’t actually end up doing it till last year in their second year of university.
Jack, the lead singer, has “always enjoyed being in a band since I joined my first band at 14.” While Joe, the lead guitarist, “loves playing music and I wanted to find a reason to keep buying guitars”, and drummer Issac wanted “to improve my drumming skills and out of enjoyed being in a band before”.
When asked about what genre their music is, they couldn’t describe it as they don’t even know themselves, and it’s safe to say that they enjoy listening to different genres of music. For Jack, “It’s all sorts, mostly garage punk at the moment like Black Lips, YOWL, Shame, King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard. I also have some not so guilty pleasures like Daryl Hall and John Oats, Dizzee Rascal and Paolo Nutini.” Isaac mainly likes “The Strokes and Arctic Monkeys” and Joe’s current playlist is made up of “Alex Cameron’s new album [Forced Witness], Hinds, Sleater-Kinney, Arcade Fire and Franz Ferdinand”.
Each of these bands help inspire The Hollow Bodies’ music and helps them write songs based on what sound they go for when writing. At the beginning of the year they brought out their second demo, Live at Unit 9, which was written when Jack was recovering from being hit by a car back in September.
Their music has already progressed as they sound tighter, and Jack has become more confident in his singing. However, they haven’t changed their songwriting process since they started out, and it seems everyone has their own part to play. Joe explains how “normally Sharpy [Jack] will write the basis for the song, then me and Isaac will give feedback and write our own parts”. Jack adds, “Yes I write the lyrics first, put it with some chords, then take it to them lot and work on it with them there.”
When asked about how they came up with The Hollow Bodies as the band’s name, Joe chuckled, “We had a lot of different ideas but, either one of us would really like it and the other two wouldn’t or, it would be the other way round. I remember ‘Marple’ and ‘The Lices’ being ideas, but Sharpy [Jack] just suggested The Hollow Bodies and we all liked it so it stuck.”
They all have other things besides the band that are important to focus on including uni and a job, for Isaac it’s “hard to balance the band with uni course deadlines and exam prep”. Joe says: “It can be hard to balance being at uni and in the band at times because I’ve got a job as well, so it feels a bit like spinning plates at times when balancing all three at once, but I have enough fun at work, uni and in the band to make it feel like it’s leisure time.” Jack added, “I had to defer this year at uni because I was hit by a car and have hospital appointments to go to and can’t get to uni with my broken leg.”
As all of them have different priorities they sometimes find it hard to organise gigs, practices and recordings because of their availabilities.
With that being said, the band still tries practice as much as possible. When they first started last June, Crack Studios was their place of practice which they still use to record new music, however now “we practice at Pirate Studios roughly once a week, but after the tour in January and February we had a few weeks off because we were all sick of each other,” Joe joked. Isaac added, “yeah we practice whenever possible”. Even once they’ve recorded and put their music on Soundcloud, Jack said, “It always goes over and changes the songs in my own time”. For example, their song ‘Nothing Less Than a Laugh’ has gone from being a fast-paced song that was two minutes 44 seconds long to a slower, more intense tune.
Up to now, the band has played over ten gigs, even with the lead singer having a metal cage on his leg for half of The Hollow Bodies’ existence. Four of the gigs were part of their very own DIY tour which they co-headlined with their mates Cheap Teeth. They played at venues in Manchester, Edinburgh, Leeds and Newcastle and managed to sell out two of the venues.
Isaac and Jack’s favourite gig they’ve played so far is “Castle Hotel where we headlined following Cheap Teeth” whereas Joe’s “was Aatma a few months ago as that was probably the best we sounded and it was an ace venue”.
As they play more gigs they are becoming known across Manchester and bands they have previously supported, such as Chupa Cabra and Provocateurs, are asking them to do so again. They have also been contacted by multiple promotions companies which include Dusty Pop, Scruff of The Neck and Flat Plastic, who have arranged future gigs for them.
Joe’s favourite song to play live is “Got or Not because it ends our set and lets us all go a bit mental and make noise. I think it’s good to make a load of noise at the end of our set so people remember us more”. While Jack and Isaac’s is ‘Sandy’.
A crowd favourite right now is their opening song of their new demo called Mess With The Couples, which has even been featured on one of Silent Radio’s (a broadcasting and media production company in Manchester) mixtapes which also included artists such as Mo Kenney, Heart Beach, GoGo Penguin, Peakes and Diving Station.
The band has set high goals for themselves for the future. Jack wants “to keep playing a lot of gigs whilst sticking to our credentials, yet keeping the music interesting to ourselves. I also wouldn’t mind playing some festivals because it would be a different experience to what were used to”. Joe added “hopefully we can continue to bring out new music fairly regularly” and Isaac wants to “play at larger venues and support bigger bands.”
The future also hopefully holds a new band member “we’re happy being a three-piece but we sort of want another member to make us sound fuller”.
As the band was formed at university, it is unclear as to what will happen once they’ve all finished their studies. Joe and Jack have another year left of their undergraduate degree and Isaac is doing his masters. Joe said, “I want to carry on at uni and get my masters so I can go into teaching, but obviously I would want to keep going with the band.”
They all reckon they will be staying in Manchester for at least another year or so, which means if things carry on the way they are, we should expect to see The Hollow Bodies a lot more. They already have a few gigs lined up for the upcoming months so if you want to know where you can see them “sweat and shout”, follow them on social media.
The Hollow Bodies’ next gig is on Thursday 15th March at Night People, where they will be supporting Prowles.