INTERVIEW: Hollow Hand



PHOTO CREDIT: Wanda Martin 

Hollow Hand


IT has been cool speaking with Hollow Hand’s…


central figure, Max Kinghorn-Mills. I ask him how he started Hollow Hand and how he met the musicians he plays alongside; what we can expect from the debut album, Star Chamber, and whether there are any rising artists worth checking out.

Kinghorn-Mills discusses his musical influences and what Brighton is like as a base; what is coming up in terms of tour dates; a few albums that are especially important; how songs usually come to him – he tells me what the rest of this year holds.


Hi, Max. How are you? How has your week been?

Hello. I’m doing well, thanks. I’ve been busy playing some shows in California and exploring sun-kissed San Pedro.

For those new to your music; can you introduce yourself, please?

My name is Max. I record music under the name Hollow Hand. The project began in the solitude of my bedroom; recording to cassette and experimenting but, for this album, I expanded through collaboration. Star Chamber is out on 19th October and is produced by Pan Andrs and Atlas Shrugs. We made the record in our home studio at the bottom of a garden. 

How did Hollow Hand come to be? When did you all meet?

We come from a tight-knit community of musicians and friends in Surrey/Hampshire. I’d always loved watching the other guys play in their bands and played with them in other projects. We really just pitch in to play for our friends whenever they have music to put out.


Is Brighton important in terms of your music and direction? Do you take inspiration from the people around you?

We moved down to the coast from London in some attempt to find inspiration; to ‘get it together in the country’, for sure. Brighton has some great bands and decent-sounding venues, a lot of energy. I enjoy being close to the sea. Just spending some time by the shore can help me with my existential dread. Staring into that crystal blue abyss, it’s good to surrender…

The Hollow Hand debut album, Star Chamber, is out on 19th October. Are there particular themes and stories that inspired the music/songs?

I didn’t really notice lyrical themes until I was asked these questions…

Of course; the books I was reading influenced the writing. I remember the sentiment of End of Everything; questioning what I really need from this world to be happy. This was on my mind whilst reading some books on different religious views. I spent time with a great book called Conversations About the End of Time. It’s good to remember how small we are in this universe - after that, everything’s just kinda funny. There are plenty of other lyrics on the album dealing with love, isolation and the pursuit of happiness.


PHOTO CREDIT: Lauren Joy Kennett

Who do you rank as music idols and inspirations? Did you grow up around a lot of music?

My parents surrounded me with art, culture and music all my life. I’m so grateful to them for this. Some of my earliest memories are dancing around the house to music with Mum and Dad’s cassette mixtapes and records lining the house.

I think, in terms of Hollow Hand, I’m feeling the influence of artists like Syd Barrett, Kevin Ayers; Robert Wyatt, Gong and Grateful Dead. Some British Folk stuff like Fairport Convention, Steeleye Span. I love instrumental music: Bill Evans, Emahoy Tsegué-Maryam Guèbrou; some Steve Hillage stuff.   


Are there particular moments when you sit down and write? How do songs usually come to you?

I mostly start with music. if I discover a cool part on any instrument, I’ll record it. My phone is full of excerpts. I’ll live with them and sing along before picking up journals then consider themes/stories I want to explore. I rarely start with words. I have friends who are the total opposite so this is interesting and worth investigating. 


PHOTO CREDIT: Wanda Martin

What do you hope to achieve by the end of 2018?

Of course, I want to tour the entire world. I’ve just moved into a new place where I’ll set up a new studio. I’ve got a whole new record written/planned but I don’t know if it’s right yet. When I get back to Brighton next month, we’re excited to hit the road promoting Star Chamber (supporting Sam Evian). I have some collaborations in mind but, if I hit Christmas with everything set up for the next chapter, I’ll be happy. 

Have you got a favourite memory from your time in music so far – the one that sticks in the mind?

I live for those rare moments when I turn around on stage and the band is truly connected; I mean really together. This could happen on a festival stage or the smallest venue. Nothing beats it. Supporting Robyn Hitchcock was fun; getting to travel to festivals. I was hugely inspired working with Tim Smith on his new project (Harp).


PHOTO CREDIT: Hannah Kovacs Photography

Which three albums mean the most to you would you say (and why)? 

Hard question. It changes often but usually these are the constants:

Pink Floyd – The Piper at the Gates of Dawn

Is there really only one Pink Floyd album? Nah, but when I found this album I truly fell in love. Eternal hazy summer nostalgia.

Sonic Youth - Evol

When I was in school, my room was a graveyard of burnt C.D.R.s; bootleg live shows. I was doing a lot of research and getting the knowledge. Daydream Nation, Sister and Murray Street were all on heavy rotation but this record is just a shining jewel to me.

Richard & Linda Thompson - I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight

I’ve recently started choosing this album over Liege and Lief - still working out how that sits with me. Richard’s up there in my top guitarists and songwriters of all time (that’s two separate lists). I love how joyfully miserable the songs are. Totally immersive and timeless.


PHOTO CREDIT: Lauren Joy Kennett

If you could support any musician alive today, and choose your own rider, what would that entail?

It’s Derek Smalls from Spinal Tap. My rider is a double bass and we’re improvising… 

What advice would you give to new artists coming through?

Hey, that’s me! I have no idea what’s going on out here - I don’t think anyone does. Just stay true to yourself, I suppose? Don’t believe in shortcuts. There are so many different types of musicians; some find it easier to make a living. I chose to make the music I want to make but, as a result, things can be very difficult. If you’re making stuff for other people then perhaps it’s easier but that’s not something I’m interested in. If you take my advice then I guarantee you’ll be as huge and successful as I am. 


PHOTO CREDIT: Wanda Martin

Do you have tour dates coming up? Where can we catch you play?

We tour the U.K. through October!  

*Supporting Sam Evian

16.10 - Edinburgh, Sneaky Pete’s*

17.10 - Glasgow, The Old Hairdresser’s*

18.10 - Newcastle, The Cluny 2*

19.10 - Manchester, YES (Basement)*

20.10 - Leeds, Headrow House

21.10 - Leicester, The Cookie*

22.10 - Milton Keynes, The Craufurd Arms

23.10 - London, Rough Trade East (in-store 1 P.M.) (Then Hoxton Hall)*

24.10 - Brighton, The Hope & Ruin*


 IN THIS PHOTO: Hannah Lou Clark/PHOTO CREDIT: Rob Blackham

Are there any new artists you recommend we check out?

Maybe it’s best if I just point to some great musicians you may or may not be aware of: The Lunchtime Sardine Club, Eugene Quell; Hannah Lou Clark, Holly Macve and Clarence Clarity. They’re all releasing brilliant music right now.


 IN THIS PHOTO: Holly Macve/PHOTO CREDIT: Lauren Joy Kennett

Do you get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?

I find it hard to turn off.  I never really manage it. It’s the same for most of my friends. I read, try to navigate the vast ocean of nonsense for one good film; go walk along the beach. I’m interested art, and drawing. When I’m watching/reading something great then I’m always making notes, so I suppose it’s a struggle to find some real rest. That isn’t fun.

Finally, and for being a good sport; you can choose a song and I’ll play it here (not any of your music - I will do that).

Why don’t you sit back and spend some time with this killer Dark Star from '72? 


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