Introducing Hollow Hum

Today, Charlie Lowell released the first single from his new musical project, Hollow Hum:

Hey friends, it’s Charlie here. Quick update from my world… I have been working on collaborations, production and musical compositions under the name Hollow Hum. I am excited to share my new music with you first! The first single launches today, and an EP will follow in early 2017. Check out the video for a sneak peek. Thanks for listening!

We caught up with Charlie to share some insight into the project. Enjoy this introduction to Hollow Hum!

Hi Charlie! Thanks for taking the time to answer a few questions for Jarchives today. Since Jars of Clay’s shift into a part-time endeavor, it seems everyone in the band has been keeping busy. Dan continues to work for Blood:Water and will be releasing a podcast soon, Matt is producing records, Steve is barbering and Beatles-ing, and for a while you were working with Different Drummer to promote a couple of films. What was it like to work on a creative project outside of the world of music?
We came off the road after a really tight couple years, making ends meet, examining what was best for us and our families in that season, and I just resisted jumping back into music then, especially out on my own when I was so used to the comfort of being 1 of 4 in a band. Quite honestly, I wasn’t sure what else I could do, but I found this interesting job doing “outreach” on behalf of these cool films – generally with social justice threads, like Selma. It was a cool year, and I’d never really worked a non-music job before so it was really different for me. But in the long run, it wasn’t a future facing job, just a nice breath from the odd music business. After about 9 months, I was dying to make some music, so I suppose I had to walk away to discover it’s really in my DNA (and likely I’m much better at it then working at a marketing firm!)

In addition to the occasional show with Jars, it seems you’ve found a new musical outlet. What can we expect from Hollow Hum?
They are essentially my compositions – some are instrumental, which we’ll see around Christmas this year – but some I get to write songs over with other artists and songwriters. That’s the really rewarding part, which Something On Fire (my release this week) is a great example of. I’ll do another in late October, then hopefully an EP in early 2017. I never saw myself as a producer, but it’s been a fun surprise. I am also doing some scoring for short films, and studio sessions for other people’s projects when I can.

Did the project develop spontaneously, or is this something you’ve wanted to pursue for a while?
It was sort of a survival instinct… what can I do that has value? And it took courage to just explore it and start composing music and then looking for avenues where it could live. That started in January this past year. Eventually I had a couple with vocals, and it made sense to find a name and release a single every now and then. Hopefully they can find their home on some playlists and in some film & tv spots.

Since you’re creating the music for Hollow Hum, how are you treating the singers? Are you granting your collaborators artistic and melodic freedom, or are they essentially session musicians?
So far, it’s been very collaborative. I need the singers and their interesting melodies, and most of them need a producer or “music person” to put the frame around their voice. So it’s very much a 50/50 experience. And I love collaboration, so it’s a great fit for me.

How did you decide which artists you wanted to work with? Did everyone record with you in person?
I have a short list of songwriters/artists I’d love to collaborate with. REMMI was at the top of that list. Some I’m meeting organically (from Matt down the hall working with them, etc) and some I’m just reaching out to, asking if they’d want to collaborate. Nashville is really great that way.

Since you’re the primary songwriter and producer of this project, were you met with any unexpected surprises or challenges that you hadn’t encountered before?
I was so used to the way Jars would write, which was very collaborative, but it’s different when there are only 2 people in the room, so the surprise is when we take an instrumental track I made (weeks or months ago) and put some new lyrics & melody over it. It just turns into something completely new, and is extremely rewarding for me.

In your eyes, what would make Hollow Hum a success?
Getting on some playlists would be great exposure for me. I’m essentially a new artist, so I don’t have huge expectations, knowing how much clutter there is these days. There are also new ways to be creative. But growing slowly and having a few opportunities to be on film & tv would be a win. Collaboration is fun because you can both cross-promote to each audience, so there’s good potential there as well. Thanks to everyone for being willing to check out my music and share it with your friends. I’m grateful for this “homebase” of Jarchives!

You can purchase Hollow Hum’s first single, “Something on Fire (feat. REMMI)”
on iTunes and other digital outlets.

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