Hollow – Byron Hawk
Art: Andy Pilkington
The album doesn’t follow one storyline. The lyrics run the gamut from fundamental misanthropy to trippy psychedelic horror. My lyrics tend toward misanthropy, and Kevin’s tend toward psychedelic horror. I often take scenes from daily life and the bad things people do to each other and turn them into abstract descriptions of those feelings or moods. Kevin will take an image in his head or a storyline from a movie and turn it into an abstract narrative. We try not to be too direct with lyrics because we want people to fill them in with their images, narratives, or experiences. But sometimes, more specific references to movies or themes pop up in the lyrics.
We like horror movies and doomy imagery. The fact that most metal bands work with this material is a way for humans to sort out the problematic aspects of life and all those feelings that go with it. The fact that most metal fans are fairly well-adjusted is a function of dealing with those things positively through music, aesthetics, and community.
My thoughts aren’t too high on humanity in general. There are many amazing individuals, and I value those people a lot. But we only have to look at things like climate change to see that humans as a collective aren’t a positive force on the Earth. Our collective actions are literally destroying the planet, and we can’t come together to change any of these practices. Too much division and self-interest to do the right thing for the collective.
Doom metal, to me, is a feeling and an aesthetic that expresses that feeling. It is a way of processing all those problematic, difficult, and negative things that go along with life and making our way through them. It isn’t a full-fledged philosophy, and that is what makes it so powerful or effective. You want to avoid leaders and doctrines and followers. To me, that is what music or art doesn’t want to be. Doom metal provides an atmosphere, a mood, and a feeling that creates a space for everyone to work through those things on their own terms.
For me, I’m stone-cold sober when I write music. That may not be the norm for the genre, but clear thinking allows me to do my best work. I’m driven to write music by literally hearing riffs, melodies, and changes or arrangements in my head and just wanting to get them out in a concrete form.
All of our experiences make us who we are. No one thing set me on the particular path I’ve taken. I’ve always had a creative drive since being very young. I’ve always liked art, music, and philosophy. The study and practice of those things have influenced me the most.
I think ‘evil’ is really hard to define. It is pretty easy to see something like the holocaust as evil. But outside of the obvious or extreme cases, it becomes more generally political and functions as a division process. For one political party, another party is branded as evil and vice versa. For one religion, another is branded as evil and vice versa. It is this problematic kind of division that inspires my lyrics the most. Evil isn’t a distinctive thing in the world; it is what humans do to each other.
There is goodness in the world, but we are definitely doomed!