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INTERVIEW WITH JOSE URQUIZA OF 3 YEARS HOLLOW
Jose Urquiza (vocals), Tony Reeves (guitar), Neil Kuhlman (guitar/vocals), Dex Digga (bass) and Chris Cushman (drums), make up the most promising and exciting new Active Rock/hard rock bands to come out of America’s Heartland in recent memory. The five band members based in the Quad Cities are more formally known as 3 Years Hollow and collectively they appear to be on the verge of breaking it big time on the national stage. The band has put together a top notch six-song EP Remember and has since completed a video for their first single “Chemical Ride”, a track that by the time you get halfway through your first listen has you hooked and begging for more. It is hard to argue the fact that the video has already enjoyed over 85,000 views on You Tube with little fanfare or promotion. Let’s just enjoy the ride known as 3 Years Hollow for ourselves here at Alternative Revolt.
Interview with Jose Urquiza:
Rick/AR: Jose, thank you for chatting with Alternative Revolt Magazine! How are you doing?
JU/TYH: Pretty good man, thank you for having me. We appreciate it a lot.
Rick/AR: The band has been described as the love-child of Disturbed, Chevelle and Sevendust. I think that is an outstanding list of bands to be compared to, yet I hear a lot more melody and a more active radio rock vibe in your music then with any of those.
JU/TYH: Those three bands are three of my top vocal influences. They are the bands that got me into this style of music and are definitely an influence at least with my vocals. Our guitarist comes from an 80’s rock background, our drummer is more of a progressive guy with the Dream Theater, Rush type stuff. We come from everywhere as far as the influences for everybody. It is awesome as it’s what allows us to be in this genre, yet also sound different and a little new because of those influences. That’s what makes us have our own sound.
Rick/AR: How did the band come together originally? You are based in the Quad Cities area which is a fairly decent sized Midwest metropolitan, but not necessarily a hot bed for modern rock acts.
JU/TYH: Not a hot bed at all actually. (Laughs) There are probably a maximum of three hard rock bands in this area. Tony and I met each other through an ad at a local shop back when they still did that. We started writing and knew this was the kind of music we believed in and wanted to do. Along those lines we found other members from other bands in our same genre. We picked and it came together in this form of 3 Years Hollow now for about six years. We are all about 30 minutes away from each other in a big circle around here.
Rick/AR: Your newest effort is the 6-song musical offering EP; Remember, which was released this past March. Talk about the project and your musical hopes with this most recent offering.
JU/TYH: We had released a full-length album back in 2008 which was our very first recording as 3 Years Hollow. It was all self-released and self-recorded in a local studio here. It had been three years since we had put out any new music, so the whole goal of the project was to keep people interested in our music and let them know we are working behind the scenes developing ourselves and that we are still here. We did it with the intent of shopping it around, building a buzz and giving our fans some new music as well that had been supporting us the whole time.
Rick/AR: With the intent of shopping it around, is that why the project ended up as a six-song EP verses another full-length project?
JU/TYH: Right, we wanted to do six songs, we probably actually had 18-24 songs. We chose just the six that we thought best represented us with the goal of shopping it around and hopefully have somebody say they wanted a full-length and wanted to re-release it.
Rick/AR: I am one of those music fans who are always out looking for new music to rock to. I have to say, when I first checked out your band, by the time I got half-way into the chorus of your current single “Chemical Ride” I was hooked! A great driving rock song with a ridiculously killer beat that is almost impossible to get out of your head after you hear it.
JU/TYH: I appreciate that a lot man! (Laughs) That song was actually written with an acoustic guitar in my living room along with Tony. (Laughs) We knew we had something good when we wrote it. The chorus was actually written first and we went with the groove of the guitar and that came out. We just pieced the rest of it together from there. It was more the message of the song we knew we had something catchy with the vocal line, so we wanted to take that message and make sure it was just as powerful.
Rick/AR: Talk a little bit about the videos from a few of your songs you’ve worked on. You shot a formal video for “Chemical Ride” and now are in the process of doing something for another standout track on the EP; “Run Away”.
JU/TYH: Basically we met a local director to the area (Davo) who had recently worked with Mindset Evolution who is from an hour and a half south of us. They had won the Rockstar Up Roar battle of bands last year so they are on that tour this year. We play a lot of shows together. The director came in and loved the song and immediately had a vision of how someone could interpret the song. He pitched the idea to us. It was my first time acting and we threw it together! (Laughs) He is an amazing director which is why it turned out so well. With “Run Away”, it is not really a single selection, but we wanted to put something out to keep the fans excited. It is a more of a fan appreciation video. After we let “Chemical Ride” do its’ thing, we figure we will release a second un-official single and shoot another video in a couple of months.
Rick/AR: Inside the cover of your EP, you have put a QR Code that will allow fans to actually scan the code with their phone which directs them to view the video. What a great concept to further promote the song.
JU/TYH: That is it! Our band is very fortunate. We have a lot of people who believe in us and want to see us succeed. We’ve got a marketing company who’s a friend I graduated High School with. He is all into that stuff and knew exactly what to do with that. He does all of our flyers, graphics designs and came up with the logo. We’ve got that starter marketing team at least behind us.
Rick/AR: Staying in the theme of modern technology that is available with all of the You Tube, social sites, etc. Has embracing this helped you as an independent band to broaden your fan base? In looking at similar comments on a video place such as You Tube, I see several comments from fans in varying countries saying the same thing about the song and the video for it.
JU/TYH: It helps become more noticed across the world. We have fans that have contacted us from Africa and South America and we can pretty much put our music worldwide and the viral take-off. This is what allowed “Chemical Ride” for example, to go over 85,000 views and we really haven’t done much, but share it on Facebook and it has already taken us across the world. It is an unbelievable feeling of gratitude. Every time we see a comment like that I try to remind myself this is the dream to make music you can reach people with. It doesn’t matter if there isn’t really money coming in with it when you see it impacting people like that. We think we have the plan, the package and we are ready. It is just doing it the only way we know how.
Rick/AR: The obvious as you said, that the band has been active as you have been out also playing alongside the likes of Chevelle, Puddle of Mudd, Pop Evil, Downplay, Charm City Devils, Rains, Saliva and 12 Stones already. You are also now making a drive to be part of the 2013 Rockstar Energy Drive UPROAR Festival.
JU/TYH: We live in an area where few rock shows come through that are the kind of genre that we play. We’ve got some clubs here that really support us and help put us on stage in front of as many people as possible. So when those shows come around we are the guys they go to. Thankfully we are able to do that and make new fans every time. That is what has led us to get on the UPROAR battle and those fans have been behind us every step of the way. Playing with Chevelle was a personal favorite for me I will always remember too!
Rick/AR: You aren’t letting a lot of water pass under the bridge as you are already working on new material again as we speak.
JU/TYH: We don’t want to sit around and wait; we just keep pumping music out there for the fans until somebody sees these guys might be worth a shot, so we will see what happens.
Rick/AR: In your perfect world what would be the most ideal tour package you could hit the road with if you had your choice?
JU/TYH: That is a grand question, oh man. (Laughs) Definitely it would be Sevendust and Three Days Grace as we would mesh well with them along with someone like Papa Roach.
Rick/AR: What is in store for the remainder of the year?
JU/TYH: We recently got together and co-wrote some songs with Clint Lowrey of Sevendust. We are going to put those together and there is some interest in him producing them. If something doesn’t come along to put out a full-length project, we will either put out another 6-song EP or maybe a double disk with both EPs.
Rick/AR: That sounds very promising. How did the band hook up with Clint Lowrey?
JU/TYH: We played a couple of shows with Eye Empire which his brother Corey is a member of. Corey liked what he saw, so he gave Clint’s information to our manager and they set it up from there.
Rick/AR: Jose, thank you for hanging out with us today. Is there anything you would like to add?
JU/TYH: I think we really got to the core of what we are trying to do here. We are ready to prove ourselves to the fans. I really appreciate it!
- Rick Lindner, Alternative Revolt Magazine