ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
Somehow Hollow leave the garage
By Mel Wong
Next time Noel and Liam Gallagher are having another one of their little spats,
maybe they should turn to the guys of Somehow Hollow for advice.
The boys — Mike Casarin on vocals, Ken Abbott and Shawn Till on guitar,
Justin Degraaf on bass and Drew Clark on drums — each sport a tattoo
of a crown with the words “Heirs to the Throne,” a visible expression
of their friendship and commitment to constantly push themselves to the next
level, both in music and life.
“We’ve all known each other for almost 10 years, so we know each
other really well,” Casarin says. “We found each other through
music and came together because of our love of music.”
Having performed throughout Canada and Europe, and currently making their
rounds in the United States to promote their latest album, Busted Wings and
Rusted Halos, Somehow Hollow have already taken themselves to stratospheric
levels compared to their roots as a garage band from Stratford, Ont..
In the earlier days, it was difficult to distinguish themselves from the more
established Canadian emo-rockers Grade. But considering that members of both
Somehow Hollow and Grade often found themselves travelling back and forth between
the two bands, it’s easy to see where the confusion lies. Even though
Grade has since broken up, the comparisons still exist.
“I will admit that at times it gets frustrating,” Casarin says. “Grade
was an amazing band, and no doubt had influences on every band on the scene
in those days, but Somehow Hollow was in existence long before we even knew
who Grade was. We don’t aspire to be like bands — more like human
beings who are decent people.”
So if they don’t like being compared to Grade, who do they want to be
compared to? Finch? A.F.I.? What would they call their music? Punk? Metal?
“We like to call it music,” Casarin says. “That’s
how I would describe it.”
Maybe Somehow Hollow likes to refer to their music as just “music” because
they don’t like the constraints of being labelled a band of a certain
Or maybe they just call it “music” because there really is no
genre in which they fit. On Busted Wings and Rusted Halos, the instrumentation
has the thickness of solid punk, and the pulsing, driving rhythms are reminiscent
of metal. The songs have strong, melodic vocal hooks, and the mood ranges from
dark and ominous to downright optimistic.
Perhaps the difficulty of classifying their music stems from the fact that,
Somehow Hollow isn’t trying to reach into the wallets of any particular
subset of people.
“We don’t have a target audience. We play for anybody and everybody,” he
says. “Our ultimate goal is to turn everyone on to our music, one by
one. You realize a lot by being in a band. Things don’t just come your
way. You need to work at it first.”
And the guys of Somehow Hollow have been doing exactly that. While touring
and promoting their record, the band has watched their audience grow both in
number and enthusiasm.
Indeed, when the band got their “Heirs to the Throne” tattoos,
they certainly had the right idea: they must work for their success.
Somehow Hollow play the Embassy Hotel on Saturday, Feb. 28.