Nothing refracts light quite like music does. Even in the darkest of times, melodies change moods, and harmonies lift hearts. As affirmed by nearly 200 million total streams for the 2017 debut EP Wanderlust and praise from Indie Shuffle, Clash, and OnesToWatch, Hollow Coves carry light within an eloquent, engaging, and entrancing take on indie folk. The Brisbane duo – Ryan Henderson and Matt Carins — strengthen a powerful two-way dialogue with listeners worldwide on their full-length debut, Moments.
“After our EP came out, we got a lot of messages from people saying that our music helped them through tough or stressful times,” recalls Matt. “I think that definitely motivated us when we were working on Moments. We wanted to continue to write songs that could help to shine light and bring a bit of peace into people’s lives.”
“Perspective is so important.” says Ryan. “More and more we keep hearing about all the tragedies around the world. The focus is so often pointed towards the negative. It’s easy to get stuck in that. I guess in a way we kind of wanted the album to be the music equivalent of some sort of new-age retreat where people might go to sit still, renew their mind, and shift their focus to something more positive.”
At the end of 2014, Ryan and Matt penned a handful of songs and recorded them in a friend’s garage. Ryan spent the next year traveling before they finished those tunes via email and eventually uploaded them to Soundcloud. As the songs took off, Matt and Ryan decided to ditch their day jobs—as a carpenter and civil engineer, respectively.
Evoking comparisons to everyone from Simon & Garfunkel to Ben Howard, Angus and Julia Stone, and even Coldplay, Wanderlust quietly emerged as a phenomenon. The two singles, “Coastline” and “Home,” surpassed 30 million streams each on Spotify, and their song “The Woods,” both the original and acoustic versions, collectively gathered over 40 million streams on Spotify. Meanwhile, the boys toured alongside the likes of Tom Walker and headlined packed shows around the globe.
In 2018, Hollow Coves retreated to the countryside of Devon in the South of England to record alongside producer Chris Bond [Ben Howard, Justin Nozuka, Xavier Rudd]. After testing the water with “Ran Away,” they locked into undeniable creative chemistry and decided to record the entire album together. Bond encouraged them to take more of a “live approach” to recording.
“We had rough demos of everything, and Chris built them up by adding drums and bass,” says Matt. “The way he produced was very old school, creating a live atmosphere. We spent a lot of time just jamming together, doing everything free from click gave the end result a more organic feel.”
Thematically, these eleven tracks were inspired by reflecting on a variety of moments and unforgettable shared experiences in their lives over the past three years.
“We did this trip to Norway and stayed at an Airbnb on top of a mountain,” recalls Matt. “We went on a hike to the top as the sun was setting. Every time we got higher, we saw more of the view. It was an incredible moment. Afterwards, we had the realization that our lives are really a collection of moments, and in each moment we have the choice to do something incredible or do something mediocre. That became a bit of a theme throughout the album.”
“Each song was written at a different moment of our lives in different cities over these past few years,” Ryan continues. “We wanted to inspire people, and ourselves, to make the most of our time on Earth.”
Initially conceived in Brisbane and finished in Europe, the lead single “When We Were Young” pairs a soft beat, lush acoustic guitar, and dreamy piano with reflective lyrics. A shared harmony by Matt and Ryan underscores pensive and poetic nostalgia.
“It reminisces on the simplicity of being young,” says Ryan. “A lot of people look back on their lives when they were kids and think, ‘I wish things were still like that’. It evokes a simpler time. Life gets more complicated as you get older. However, we wanted to lead people to see that, if you just change your perspective, there are so many great opportunities to look forward to. Life can be beautiful right now.”
Built on an idea from a trip to San Francisco, the delicate picking of “Borderlines” builds towards an upbeat and uplifting chant about “not being scared to step out and make life an adventure,” states Matt.
The opener “Anew” delivers a reminder to audiences “even though you might be struggling today, tomorrow is a new day” over strains of luminescent keys. “Open Road” picks up where Wanderlust left off in its encouragement to “get out and explore the world.” The record concludes on “Pictures.” Penned in Berlin, the wistful piano-driven finale “remembers an old friend and the good times you used to have together.”
In the end, Hollow Coves emanate an enduring light with every song and show. “We hope our music can at least have some sort of positive impact,” the boys agree. “If people walk away with a changed perspective, inspired, motivated, or just a little bit more stoked with life, then we would consider that a success.”