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Hollis Brown interview with Mike Montali

“We are artists and we want to make music that comes from within us.”

The band Hollis Brown, that shakes stages around USA for many years, released their first “big” album. Their single “Ride on train” was published on Uncut`s magazine CD, Their second album, but first “on a real record label and not self-released” as stated by band`s front man Michael Montali, got great response from music critics and the crowd. “Ride on train” is the album that announces a big step forward for this NY based gang and obligates them to maintain high standards in their music, lyrics and creativity, in order to enthrone themselves among the top rock bands in the close future. Band`s members are: Mike Montali, Jon Bonilla, Mike Graves and Dillon DeVito. Montali answered a couple of questions for “IPsychedelic Baby”, spoke about their music, idols, current rock`n roll scene, announced band`s first European tour and stated his point of view about bourbons.

Hi Mike. To start, please tell us why you chose this Dylan`s song character as the band`s name?

I honestly am not sure seemed like a good idea at the time. We were really high.

First of all congratulations on great album “Ride on train” that brought a big attention. This is actually your second album, after the self-titled debut? Have you expected that “Ride on train” will attract this much attention? The “Uncut” magazine CD probably helped you big time in promoting the “Ride on train” single?

The album has gotten a great reception so far and we are proud of it. We are thankful that people are listening. We feel in our hearts like this is our first album, because we put it out on a real record label and not self-released it ourselves. We also have different band members too, so we feel like a brand new band.

In “Ride on train” you sing about life on the road. Is it hard for you as artists to travel and live life on wheels, plains and trains?

It's like everything else. Highs and lows. Except in this profession, the highs tend to be really high and the lows tend to be really low. We love what we do, and we want to play music together as long as we can.

As I understand, you guys play together for a long time. You started as cover band or no? What where the first songs you started playing?

No we never were a cover band. Jon and I have been playing since high school, so it has been a little while. It took us time to get our shit together, we just loved to play, and to write, but we never had anything planned for a career. Now we feel more professional, we feel like a real band for the very first time, it's exciting.

Do you play any covers live now?

We do play covers but we are trying to get our original music heard more and more. I love playing covers though.

How often do you play? Are everybody in the band committed only to the music, or is it still hard to make money only of rock n roll?

We just did a 33 day tour of the United States, we are doing a 3 tour in July and probably 2 weeks in August then we are trying to get over to Europe for a month in the fall. We have been playing a lot.

Is there enough radio and TV air space for music like yours? How are you promoting your album?

I think there is space for anything, but I can't worry about that shit, it will just drive you crazy. We are artists and we want to make music that comes from within us.

I read that you are a big “singers-songwriters” fan like Joni Mitchel, Carole King and others. What about new songwriters? Is there a new scene in the USA of young artists and performers that inspire you? How would you describe modern rock n roll scene? Do you feel any positive changes, regarding new movements that came with some new influenced artists?

There are a few songwriters today that I do admire. Kurt Vile, John McCauley, Taylor Goldsmith to name a few. But honestly the state of rock n roll and music in general is in trouble in my mind. Most of the music today sucks. I don't know if it's because anyone can make a record in their basement so most of them sound like garbage or what. There's a lot of over-saturation. It used to be you had to work for years to even get a chance to get into a studio. Now anyone can do it. So while there's still a lot of cool stuff, you have to look deeper.

Tells us a little bit about the recording process. When were the songs written? How long have you been recording them and where?

We have been writing these songs for our whole lives it seems. This was our chance to make a real solid album so we recorded everything we could think of. We did in Nashville with a wonderful producer named Adam Landry. We recorded everything live a the same time in the same room, straight to analog tape.

Have you played with older colleagues and artists? Have you met some of your idols and who?

We have played with all types of people. Some very successful. They seem to be the nicest a lot of times.

What was the best and worst place, where you guys played?

Best place for me is always New York City. There's nothing like it. We have done some really shitty shows so the list on that is a long one.

In order to conclude, tell me please – Jack Daniels or Maker`s Mark? With ice or without ice?

Maker's on the rocks.

Mike thank You very much for the interview. 

Thank you Andrija...

Interview made by Andrija Babovic/2013
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