Sunday, August 7, 2011

Strych9Hollow Interview (Rave fiasco explained, and band's background)

Post #155

In the days following the Scream The Prayer show, I composed that promised interview for Strych9Hollow and sent it to the band members via facebook. Here is that interview, which should answer some questions about the events surrounding the Scream The Prayer show at Milwaukee's Rave venue, as well as some insight into the band's background and influences. Strych9Hollow are: Wit Kolo-lead vocals, Jackie Bergjans-guitars/backing vocals, Lloyd Schueler-guitars/backing vocals, Sam Crafton-bass guitar/backing vocals, and Joey Nichols-drums.

HappyHeadbanger: Briefly describe what happened at the Rave on July 17th, and why you were not able to perform.
Jackie Bergjans: There was a misunderstanding about things between the promoters at the Rave and our band. Things were eventually worked out, and in the end, yeah we were pretty upset wasting our time and money, but what doesn't kill you makes you stronger.

Joey Nichols: There was a miscommunication between an employee/promoter at the Rave and the show was overbooked. In the end we did get screwed, however I think we lucked out here and will get what we deserve in return from the Rave.

Wit Kolo: Whoever the promoter guy was, Jason or what not, f'd up. To be honest it was quite hard to get a straight answer outta the guy. He kept tip-toeing around the issue and frustrated me to the max. Unlike the others who seem to think it's "worth it" I disagree. It was a huge waste of time, money and energy and absolutely unprofessional and unacceptable.
Sam Crafton: Yeah, what they said.

HH: Did they reconcile to the point of refunding you the money you put up for this show? If not, then I'd side with Wit that they wasted your time. I mean, I'm glad that I got to meet you & hang with ya, but in the end, I'm only one fan. You guys should have played and earned some more fans. I hope they make it up to you next time!
JB: We were refunded the money, but it was a pain trying to do so. And regardless of whether or not we were refunded, we still wasted $300-$400 just with the van and trailer rental and gas. So yes, still a big waste of time and a big waste of money.
WK: We were refunded the $300 deposit for the tickets but that was it. We lost exactly $411 after van/trailer rental and the fuel it took to get there and back (aka 800 mile round-trip). They also gave us 10 drink tickets, which I though was a poor excuse, but it is what it is and is now it's in the past. For the record I am not upset with The Rave as a venue. I know it was out of their hands. The fault belongs solely to the promoter. We will return to The Rave again. This time, though, I’ll be triple-checking the situation before making the trip.

HH: Of the national bands that were at that show, do you have a favorite?
Jackie Bergjans: I like I The Breather out of all of the bands there.
Joey Nichols: I The Breather was definitely my favorite band on the bill of Scream The Prayer. However I was actually more looking forward to seeing Texas In July because Adam Gray is probably one of the sickest drummers on the planet, and has become a huge influence for me.
Wit Kolo:  I the Breather.
Sam Crafton:  Norma Jean, and The Chariot were my favorites.
Lloyd Schueler: Close Your Eyes.

HH: Many of you say 'I the Breather'. Was that just because you had to leave the venue so early, or are you familiar with all the other bands already?
JB: I have seen I The Breather before and I like them a lot.
WK: I’m an I the Breather fan, but had they not played as early as they did we would not have waited for their set. Yes, I was familiar with most of the bands on the bill.

HH: Who were your major influences growing up?
JB: Number one influence, hands down, is Evanescence. They are the reason I am a musician. Other major influences for me are Black Sabbath, Killswitch Engage, and Within Temptation.
JN: Deftones, Tool, and Cold were my main influences when growing up and inspired me to pick up the guitar. As I became I drummer, I began to focus on metal, leading Killswitch Engage to become a huge inspiration.
SC: My brother Ray Crafton.
WK: Nirvana, Led Zeppelin, Incubus, Linkin Park, Deftones.
LS: Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Bullet for My Valentine, Killswitch Engage, Atreyu, Avenged Sevenfold.

HH: Who inspired you to play music?
JB: Almost the same as the last response. Evanescence is the inspiration.
JN: My brother and his friends jammed around sometimes and I always was interested, haha. So I would have to say my brother Mike and his friend Louie.
WK: Kurt Cobain.
SC: I got into music in my early teens and just sort of picked up the bass and started playing. But now, my influences are Mic Todd, Geddy Lee, Steve Harris, and Justin Chancelor.
LS: My dad.

HH: Is there a person in your life you look up to or idolize?
JB: My guitar teacher, Joe has always been a great source of guidance for me. My mother is also a very big influence in my life.
JN: My mother is hands down my idol.
WK: Those who get to do what I've only dreamed of most my life.
SC: Dimebag Darrell. I got into Pantera right before he died, but after I read the biography, I really wish I could've met him.
LS: All professional musicians. I don't really have a certain person.

HH: Sam, I'm a huge Dimebag fan as well. Never actually met him, but was lucky enough to see Pantera in concert once. You can read about it in post #96, posted on June 3rd 2010.

HH: When and how did you guys meet and decide to form a band?
 JB: I placed an ad on and Joey was the first to respond. We started jamming, then a friend of my mother's knew a local band called Seeing Seven and we got in touch with them and found Wit. We had a few other members before Sam and Lloyd joined us.
JN: Me and Jackie met through, both in search of band members. Later we heard through a close friend about Wit. We went through a few member changes to land where our lineup is now. Sam came along from being a fan our music and trying out after seeing we needed a bass player, Lloyd completed the new lineup when he heard we needed a guitarist. We knew Sam and Lloyd from their playing in other local bands prior.
SC: I played a show with the band after they were dominating the local scene for about a year and a half already. A few weeks later they were looking for a bass player and I applied. I was given 2 tryouts and got the open slot. It was very uplifting for me at that time in my life. Everything was going downhill and then my brothers and sister picked me up.

HH: How did you come up with the name of the band?
SC: One of the 3 original members can let you know that one. I wasn't there for the name origin.
JB: When it was just Joey, Wit, and I, my first suggestion was the name "Hollow". Wit said it was too plain and came up with the idea of Strychnine to put somewhere in there, thus Strych9Hollow was born.
JN: Wit liked something with Strychnine, and Jackie liked something with Hollow, haha. So simply enough we through a number 9 in the center and combined STRYCH9HOLLOW. It had a very nice catch to it.
WK: The name was 'Hollow' when I joined, which I thought was too generic. After juggling around various names, I started putting random words with hollow, and strychnine had a good ring to it. It also had an edge to it, which fits the style of band we are.

HH-What is the furthest from home that you have played a show?
JB: Milwaukee I think.
JN: Unfortunately Witchita, Kansas :(:( but that's gonna change very soon!
WK: Milwaukee or Wichita.
SC:  Milwaukee is the farthest so far, I think.
LS.The Rave in Milwaukee.

HH: From 'Thrash and Burn' to 'Scream the Prayer'?!? One of those tours featured the likes of Devil Driver and Despised Icon, the other Sleeping Giant and The Great Commission. They almost seem to be at opposite ends of the religious spectrum. Do you consider yourselves religious? If so, to what extent, if any, are your religious views expressed in your music? Or do you try to keep them separate?
JB: I am more spiritual than religious, and I am not a part of any religion. If I were to be a part of any religion it would be Buddhism. And yes, we keep our religious beliefs separate from the music.
JN: To be honest I have no religious views.
WK: Born and raised Catholic but I don't practice anymore. The band as a whole is religiously neutral. We certainly respect everyone's right to their faith.
SC: Wit does a big majority of the lyrics, but personally I believe in God and Jesus Christ. Those tours were pretty much just shows that seemed to fit our music, not the lyrics or our beliefs.
LS: Nope, don't believe in religion.

HH: Hmm; a semi-Buddhist, an Agnostic, a lapsed Catholic, a Christian, and an Atheist. I must confess I love that combination within the same band, haha! So long as you all get along and keep writing great music, I don't care. Personally, like Jackie put it, I consider myself more spiritual than religious. My beliefs can pretty much be summed up in the lyrics of the Tracy Chapman song 'Heaven's Here On Earth'.

HH: Reviewers are always trying to categorize bands. How do you describe your music/genre in your own words?
JBI would say our main "genre" would be Metalcore, even though our sound varies from many different genres.
JN: Metalcore/Hardcore.
WKI really don't know. I can't keep up with all the genres and sub-genres. We attempt to make metal music that is accepted by as large a fan base as possible.
LS: Melodic metal/hardcore.

HH: If you were running out of your home to leave on a long road trip, and only had time to grab one CD to listen to on the drive, what CD do you grab?
JB: I would say "The Heart Of Everything" by Within Temptation.
JN: Killswitch Engage "As Daylight Dies".... man I love that album!
WK: Kinda hard to answer being as we are in the ipod generation now, but I'd burn a mix of whatever my faves would be at the time.
SC: Tool "Lateralus".

HH: For me I'd probably grab "Rust In Peace" by Megadeth. I've been on a huge kick with that album since seeing the band play the whole thing on the American Carnage tour!

HH: Wit, I'm curious, since I burn a lot of mix CDs as well (a few now with Strych9Hollow tracks!) Can you list a few songs that are on one of them?
WK: The most recent one I made=1. A Prophecy-Asking Alexandria 2. Beneath the Surface- As Blood Runs Black 3. Parallels-As I Lay Dying 4. Morte et Dabo-Asking Alexandria 4. For We Are Many-All That Remains 5. Informal Gluttony-Between the Buried and Me 6.Erase Begin-Fell Silent 7.Breath in a New Mentality-Underoath 8.Zerohour-Circle of Contempt 9.Bleed to Live-Strych9Hollow 10.Chorus of Angels-Haste the Day.
HH: Cool! Awesome mix, I must say!

HH: What do you do in your free time, either individually or when you hang together?
JB: When I have free time I'm either playing guitar or playing video games.
JN: I usually workout, play video games, or sleep.
WK: Not too much during the work week. I spend a lot of time with my dog Schecter. Weekends I'm either at shows supporting fellow bands or playing shows. Sometimes we'll have a band BBQ, but most of the time we only hang out at practice or shows.
SC: I play soccer and kickball. I'm a huge fan of hole-in-the-wall bars. The other members and myself go to shows together pretty often, including local shows. We're pretty active in the "scene" here in Saint Louis.
LS: Play my guitar and skate board on my free time. With the band we play music and write new music.

HH: I go to my fair share of shows, both for national and global touring bands as well as local shows between Chicago & Milwaukee. Occasionally I'll get on a video game kick, but otherwise I enjoy blowing and playing Hacky-Sack.

HH: Wit, is Schecter the Pit bull I've seen in some of your facebook pics? Pits sometimes get a bad rap. Anything your want to say to defend the breed?
JB: No breed of dog is bad, it's how they are raised that makes the difference.
WK: Yes, Schecter is the pit bull in the pix. Pits have a bad reputation due to the stupidity and cold heartedness of the parasite that is man. They are literally one of the most loving, gentle, playful and loyal breeds. Anyone that has been close to one of these dogs that has not been abused, is loved and treated with respect will agree with me. It is truly unfortunate how the ignorance and sheer neglect by people hurts these animals which have no voice of their own to stand up for themselves. I hope to one day have enough money to contribute to some kind of rescue organization. Meanwhile my dog is living for a thousand pit bulls which will never feel love and most likely be euthanized.
HH: I agree whole heartedly. All pets deserve love and the highest level of respect. A few years ago my wife and I volunteered to be a foster-home for homeless pets that were up for adoption through our local Petsmart. Back then we lived in a building that didn't allow dogs, so it was cats that we fostered (even though we already had 2 of our own). Over a 2-year period, we probably helped over 30 cats find loving homes. I'd like to start doing that again sometime soon.

HH: Who is your favorite band?
JB: Evanescence
JN: Man, it is so hard to say... Although I have many favorites, I will just say that there is no band in my eyes who can put it together or scratch the surface of Killswitch Engage.
WK: Led Zeppelin
SC: Coheed and Cambria
LS: A Day to Remember

HH: I most often say KISS is my all-time favorite. If you ask me to be more metal-focused, I'll usually say either Metallica, Megadeth, Judas Priest, or Iron Maiden depending on the day.

HH: What is your favorite book?
JBThe Vampire Lestat by Anne Rice.
JNI absolutely do not like reading, so I do not have one. I should probably work on that though.
WKLord of the Rings.
SCYear of The Black Rainbow by Claudio Sanchez and Peter David.
LS: The Harry Potter books.

HH: I read so much, it's hard for me to pick a favorite. I love the Harry Potter series as well, but usually say Stephen King's Dark Tower books are my favorite.
Jackie, Have you ever read "Bloodsucking Fiends" by Christopher Moore? It's a comedy/satire Vampire/love-story. Hilarious & kinda twisted!
Joey, let me know your interests, I can suggest something for ya! (I also work part-time at a Barnes & Noble, so I know my books!)

HH: Favorite Movie?
JB: Interview with the Vampire.
JN: I am going to be completely honest; asking me to pick a favorite causes me to confuse myself haha. I am very indecisive and have so many favorites, but I will say.... Casino.
WK: Scarface.
SC: Forrest Gump.
LS: Dazed and Confused.

HH: I like a good thriller flick. Probably would go with SE7EN as my favorite!

HH: What is your favorite song to perform live?
JB: Day 1824.
JN: My favorite song at the moment to perform live is Day 1824.
WK:  All of them.
SC: It changes often because I really enjoy playing new songs live, but "Day 1824" has been my favorite for awhile.
LS: Bleed to Live, or always our newest song at the time.

HH: Do you have any covers in your set? If you would cover a well-known song, what would it be?
JB: We used to play "Rose of Sharyn" by Killswitch Engage, but none at the moment. I would like to do a heavy metal version of a pop song, maybe by Michael Jackson or something.
JN: At the time we really don't have any covers, but if I could choose a song or band to cover from it would be Underoath.
WK: We used to do "Rose of Sharyn" by Killswitch and "All These Things I Hate" by Bullet for My Valentine. We haven't played a cover as S9H for years though.
SC: We have no covers in our set currently, but I really, really, really, really think we would play "I'm Broken" by Pantera really well. Sadly, that idea keeps getting shut down, hahaha! Everyone knows I want to play that because I play that main riff about every practice.
LS: Master of Puppets.

HHI love those two songs you mentioned you have covered before. I can almost hear them in my head. Would you ever dust those off and play 'em again for just old-times' sake? Or maybe if you were given a long set time and needed to play more songs to fill it?
JB: The Killswitch song I don't particularly want to play again, but the BFMV song I'd be ok with doing again.
WK: Sure, though I’d prefer just learning a few new ones and keeping it fresh.

HH: Some of those other suggestions sound pretty good. I totally understand putting the focus on your original material, but if you threw a new cover in, I bet you guys could do it justice and make it your own.

HH: Do you have a favorite quote? Or a philosophy that you live by?
JB: "To conquer others is to have power. To conquer yourself is to know the way". Lao Ma.
JN: I believe if you want something bad enough you can have it. You just have to dedicate your mind to it, do not cry about it, and take every punch with a smile on your face that may come along the way to getting it.
WK: You can be anything you want if you work hard enough.
SC: "The truth hurts, but denial is what will kill you." That's in 'Truth of a Liar' by August Burns Red.
LS: Don't do anything you will regret, and be honest an truthful.

HH: What music/artists are you into at the moment?
JB: Right now I have been listening to a lot of Miss May I. Heard one song and got hooked.
JN: I am currently into pretty much all of the same stuff I have been for the last couple years... August Burns Red, Killswitch, I The Breather, etc. I am an EXTREME fan of techno music though, so that always sits high on the list.
WK: Too many to list. I listen to a wide range of music on a regular basis, from jazz to metal and everything in between. As long as it evokes emotion in me I get into it.
SC: Unearth, A Day To Remember, and Thrice
LS: Periphery

HH: You thank a ton of bands from StL's local scene in the liner notes of 'Dying for a Dream'. Are there one or two favorites that you think I should check out to review at some point?
SC: Some bands to check out around here....Sicfaist, Virucide, A Lesser Hope, Burning Cold, One Day, Exit 714, and Raising Kane. Just to name a few, haha!
JB: Sam pretty much covered it. Parallel 33 is also a good band and we are friends with them as well.

HH: Thanks to all you guys in Strych9Hollow for taking the time to answers my question. I wish you continued success on the Saint Louis local scene. I can't wait to hear your follow-up EP to Dying for a Dream!
JN: I hope you enjoyed the responses man! Thank you so much for being such a loyal fan to Strych9Hollow, and being interested in our background.
JB: Thanks again Joel!

HH: In closing I'd like to try to suggest some new music for each of you. It's part of the reason I started writing this blog; to help anybody and everybody discover new music that they might not have heard of otherwise. So, if you haven't already heard of these bands or songs, check them out and let me know what you think.
For Jackie: Since you mentioned an appreciation for pop along with rock and metal, check out the song 'Love Is Dead' by Kopek (see post # 114, October 2010)
For Joey: If you haven't heard of Black Tide, check 'em out. Their 2nd album should be coming out soon, but I reviewed their debut in post # 23 in May, 2008.
For Sam: Since you mentioned Tool in a couple responses, you need to hear Karnivool. Any track from the 'Sound Awake' album will do, but start with 'New Day'. Sorta like Tool, but not as dark. (See post #110, from October 2010)
For Wit: Your tastes seem pretty eclectic. If you haven't heard of The Stone Foxes, check out the song 'I Killed Robert Johnson' (... with strychnine!) I reviewed them in post # 125, January 2011.
For Lloyd: You seem to really like the hardcore stuff. I'm going to mention a local band up here in the Chicago local scene, called Inn Cinema. I haven't reviewed their independent release yet, but they were mentioned in post #107, September 2010. They still have a melodic side, but I think you'll like.

Thanks again guys! See you again sometime...

Don't forget to check out Strych9Hollow's music on their myspace page:
Highly recommended for fans of Killswitch Engage, All That Remains, Bullet for My Valentine, and August Burns Red!

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