It’s pretty much common knowledge that most musicians don’t do mornings very well. So my scheduled 9 a.m. interview with lead singer Jose Urquiza of modern rockers 3 YEARS HOLLOW could have been disastrous. But thankfully, even with his lack of sleep, Jose was coherent enough to blab to me about the steady rise in popularity his band has seen over the past few years. Based in the Quad Cities on the Illinois side, the band began as HOLLOW, but had to make a name change when they discovered there was another band with the same name. Since Hollow had already garnered a steady fan base over a three-year period, it made sense to tack those two words on at the beginning of their pre-existing name.
On its second full-length release, The Cracks, the band has created a well-rounded album of modern melodic rock with a radio-friendly quality. To an avid rock fan’s keen ear, 3 Years Hollow’s SEVENDUST influences won’t go unnoticed. It wasn’t surprising to discover their disc was produced by none other than Sevendust guitarist Clint Lowery, who also guests on the track ‘For Life.’ The experience was a real eye-opener for Jose, which made him realize what he himself wants to accomplish in the music biz.
“It opened my eyes to the fact that he has done everything that I have set out to do as a kid who dreamt of becoming a rock star,” Jose said. “I got to sit down and co-write some music with my favorite guitarist of all time. It helped us into the world of how Clint writes music, and how he polishes the songs even after you call them done. He’ll go back and make sure everything is perfect. It made me take a look at my style of writing again and it’s going to help me go into this next record when we do another one.”
Although the material on The Cracks sounds fresh, Jose explains that the writing process for the record was set into motion a few years earlier.
“We had been working on these songs that made this record for quite a long time. We released an EP (Remember) last year with six songs on it and those songs we have had for a couple of years. With this album we kept some of those songs and then we went in and wrote new ones. So some of these songs are a little older that came from me and guitarist Tony (Reeves) sitting in my living room with an acoustic guitar just coming up with melodies. Then we would take it to the band and jam out a song at practice then everybody adds in their own tastes. Everybody has different musical backgrounds. There’s things that other people would add to the music that I wouldn’t think to add, and that’s what makes us kind of unique.”
The Cracks is the group's full-length debut for Imagen Records, who gave them a record deal after seeing the band become regional winners of the Battle of the Bands at the Tinley Park, IL date of the 2012 Rockstar Energy Drink Uproar Festival. The way the record industry is these days, for a band like 3 Years Hollow, it’s not all about “Show me the money” anymore.
“They’ve already done so much for us that it’s actually quite amazing,” Jose said. “It’s all about having a team of people. It’s not even so much about having the money that’s important, it’s more about having a team of people that can focus on doing all the tasks that you need to do to get the music out there. Now we have a team of publicists and a media team. Early on, we used to handle this by ourselves and we couldn’t fully focus on being a band. So now it’s their job to get us out there so we can focus on becoming better as a band.”
Over the past decade, 3 Years Hollow have been paying its dues by entertaining a loyal regional fan base who they affectionately call Hollow Nation. With the band’s upcoming tour with SAVING ABEL, Jose & Co. will get their chance to give their all on an even bigger scale.
“The live show is a unique situation,” Jose concludes. “(It’s something) that people can’t pirate, or steal, or copy, or burn. You need to show (the fans) why they love that band and make sure they keep coming out for all the shows. It’s really important to us to get better. We need to take our fans on a journey. I want them to remember our show. So that’s where we focus our attention now.”