By John Parks
3 Years Hollow is a hard-rock band originating from the Quad Cities but gaining national attention via national and satellite radio attention and relentless touring. Their latest album, The Cracks, was produced by Sevendust’s Clint Lowery, and the band will be appearing with Saving Abel Feb.14 at Take 20 in Cherry Valley, Ill. I recently had the chance to interview 3 Years Hollow singer Jose Urquiza. Read on …
Q: Thanks for talking with us, Jose Urquiza. To begin with, can you tell us how things have gone with your new label since signing and what you feel some of their strengths are?
A: We couldn’t be any happier that we signed with Imagen Records. They have supported us in every way, and they have an amazing team behind the scenes pushing our music. It’s really amazing to see how much a great team can really make a difference. We can tell that their passion for this is just as strong as ours.
Q: Your new album is due out this February and features some cool artwork and, of course, your band’s logo. How important are the visuals and arts to you guys as a band?
A: To me, it is a representation of everything we’re conveying with our music. That visual side is definitely something we care about. The story of a song is expanded with a video, just like the story of an album can be told through the cover art.
Q: You have had support from Sirius XM for your music before and are already getting a nice reaction to your lead-off single from The Cracks. Do you hear from a lot of fans that have gotten into 3 Years Hollow as a result of radio appearances and airplay?
A: We definitely have. Radio really propelled us nationally. Combining that with a couple national tours at the right time, and it’s a great combination for a band trying to survive out here.
Q: You have done a lot of shows with established acts like Lacuna Coil and Sevendust, among others, and seen how they do business as well as treat their fan base. What is one of the most important things you’ve learned from working with bands on that level?
A: I think it’s the same anytime we play with a very established band. We learn respect and what it really takes to get to the levels they’ve reached. Years of sacrifice, failures, success — it’s all really about what your fans take away. If you build a solid foundation, everything on top will be stronger, and even if it does all crumble, you still have that foundation, the fans, to rebuild on.
Q: I am from Illinois and realize sometimes it seems like people forget about Rockford, Moline, Springfield, etc. Were there any particular challenges or advantages to being from Quad Cities?
A: I think mainly our biggest disadvantage was not knowing what to do. We’re sitting here in the QC and were two hours from Chicago, three from Milwaukee, three from Des Moines, four from St. Louis and Indianapolis. We’re central to these major cities, and we could have better used that to our advantage. So, we’re really in a great area to reach these major markets.
Q: As the singer of the band, how many different influences do you feel like you’ve had and what do you feel your “job” is?
A: My influences range from Maynard of Tool/APC, Brandon Boyd, Lajon Witherspoon, Pete of Chevelle, to old-school R&B like Boyz II Men. I know that might sound funny, but I loved to sing my whole life, and the harmony they had was amazing. I like to just show that what we’re doing is real. Whether or not that’s what people want, I’m not sure. But it’s what this band believes in. We write based on experience and try to deliver performances that fans will remember and appreciate. Maybe even be inspired the same way we were by our favorite bands growing up. And it’s about the music for us. We want to write music we love and hope that the fans appreciate it as much as we do. That’s really the ultimate prize.
Q: Was there anything different about your approach to recording the new album as opposed to previous recordings?
A: Not really. This time, we basically just had an outside producer come in. We still recorded most of it in our own studio on our low budget, but we had Clint (Sevendust guitarist Clint Lowery) to really guide us and bring out the best in us. That made a huge difference, and I hope fans can hear that on this album.
Q: What is the greatest thing you’ve witnessed from your fans? Traveling long distances to gigs, tattoos?
A: I would say the long distances and the tattoos are pretty mind-blowing. We had a fan travel from Arizona to Illinois for one show. When you realize your music and your band are THAT important to someone, even one person, you have a renewed faith and passion for everything you’re doing. Same thing with body art. Fans show us their new 3YH tattoos all of the time, and we’re very honored they believe in us that much.
Q: If someone had never heard of your band or if you met someone at the grocery store who asked you what to expect from your band or your shows, what would you say to them?
A: (laughs) I’m not sure. I’m pretty quiet and reserved usually, so I probably wouldn’t say much. But I’d tell them the musicians I get to play with are amazing and so much fun to watch. We’re still learning a lot about ourselves as musicians and as a band, and hopefully they like what they hear. I usually try to let everyone form their own opinion on our live show or the album.
Q: Thanks again for talking to us, Jose. Is there anything else that you want to let readers know about that I may have missed?
A: I don’t think so, man. Thank you so much for taking the time for us. We truly appreciate the support and the help in spreading our music.
Posted Feb. 11, 2014