Double Vision – Hollow Head Unites Creative Forces on ‘A Spark of Madness’ Album

DM100038 V2
Hollow Head’s Elliott Miller and Jim Adame reassess the valleys of the past and explore the peaks of the future on “A Spark of Madness.” Photo – Josiah Walker

Last year, Jim Adame and Elliott Miller opted to double their musical odds.

The longtime friends and collaborators pooled their talent, ingenuity and resources to form Hollow Head, a new Denver-based indie-folk duo.

“Elliott and I started releasing music independently and closely around each other. He started writing songs a year or two before I did, and when I moved out to Colorado initially, that’s when I started getting back into writing music and releasing it,” said Adame, Hollow Head’s vocalist-guitarist who hails from Midland, Michigan.

“I released my EP, and Elliott released his EP. On my EP, Elliott did all the drum work and the lead guitar, and he was already a pretty big part of that project. At a certain point, we realized our songs had a lot in common, and the subject matter was similar as well. Since we had already enjoyed collaborating, we decided to take the plunge and make it a duo project.”

Together, their creative Hollow Head forces produced A Spark of Madness, an emotive debut album immersed in ethereal soundscapes, earnest lyrics, ear-catching harmonies and expansive instrumentation.

“We put words on paper, and then a lot of that came from subconscious thoughts, and we found out what it meant later,” said Miller, Hollow Head’s vocalist-guitarist-drummer who also grew up in Midland and met Adame in 2015.

Each track provides a contemplative, out-of-body experience that allows listeners to deeply reflect on internal struggles, old relationships and life lessons. It’s the ideal sonic companion for a solo Rocky Mountain road trip to reassess the valleys of the past and explore the peaks of the future.

“We revisited the songs, so they’re all more cohesive and share the two of us,” Adame said. “That’s how they all play out. And then, two of the songs, ‘Gasoline’ and ‘January,’ are the ones we wrote while we were in the middle of forming Hollow Head.”

Continue reading “Double Vision – Hollow Head Unites Creative Forces on ‘A Spark of Madness’ Album”

Conversation Piece – Marty Gray Recounts Memorable Bar Interaction on ‘The Regular’

One summer night, Marty Gray casually walked into a Marquette bar and unexpectedly experienced a life-changing conversation with a random stranger.

The Ann Arbor indie pop artist, multi-instrumentalist and producer went to Flanigan’s Bar with high school friends to sing karaoke and decided to get a drink. Right away, a 36-year-old regular sitting at the bar started chatting with Gray.

“This whole conversation happened the summer before the pandemic. We went on a Wednesday, and there were maybe four people there. This guy says, ‘You have a great voice. Where are you from?’ I said, ‘I’m from Ann Arbor, but I grew up here, and I just wanted to see what this bar was all about,” said Gray about that infamous night in 2019.

“For the next half an hour, the guy starts telling me everything he’s thinking about. His demeanor was friendly and non-weighted. He didn’t present the information like he was suffering or in a bad spot. It was literally, ‘Hey dude, this is what I’m doing. As long as you’re gonna listen, I’ll just keep telling you.”

The regular told Gray about missed opportunities and regrets in his life, including breaking up with his fiancée, being stuck in an unsatisfying job, longing for the carefree days of his youth and feeling scared about the future.

“He clearly felt like he had missed his life, and it was too late for him to experience those early thirties things that all his friends had experienced. The whole conversation left me in a very different mood. It was really nonchalant, but really heavy,” Gray said.

For some reason, that 30-minute interaction resonated with Gray and later served as the inspiration behind his soulful, introspective concept album, The Regular. It beautifully recounts that memorable conversation and glides through the regular’s experiences, preoccupations, choices and uncertainties.

“The whole very human thing that hit me so hard in the gut was that mentality. This guy had been backed into a corner so many times in the last 10 years of his life, and he was in such a desolate, horrible spot where he was just drinking alone at the bar every night or with a couple of friends,” Gray said.

“There’s something about the way he was talking about leaving and the way he was talking about changing something. The whole sentiment was human and on the same wavelength as a fight-or-flight response. You can either lie down and die or give up, or you can make a drastic change.”

Continue reading “Conversation Piece – Marty Gray Recounts Memorable Bar Interaction on ‘The Regular’”