Sep 14, 2023
Hollow Heroes music is a melodic masterpiece
Beers for breakfast, you say? Well, not exactly, but the newest single by Hollow Heroes does mention breakfast beers in its title, and with this clever nod to the frothy goodness known to many, I decided I needed to know more about this band. A group of well-rounded musicians make up Hollow Heroes, who hail from New Jersey.
Since their inception in January of 2020, Hollow Heroes has been making waves in the industry, and in August of 2022, the band released their debut album “Burn Another Bridge.” While the entire album is a solid alt-rock offering, I must touch upon the opening track “Save Me.” With captivating lyrics, heavy choruses, and crunching guitars, the transitions and changes in the melody complement this roller coaster of a song that reels you right in from the beginning and does not let up the entire six minutes it plays.
The remainder of the album is a mashup of loud and heavy alternative rock that takes you on a sonic journey into an abyss of sound. These guys are on to something, so take note.
With their latest single, “Refuse (Breakfast Beers)”, the band has changed things up a bit to reflect more of a pop-punk offering reminiscent of Rise Against. Drawing inspiration from both Rise Against and Breaking Benjamin, Hollow Heroes is a band that is unafraid to explore the complexities of making music on a profound level, so who are these guys?
Hollow Heroes are comprised of Alex White (vocals), Tom Riccoboni (drums), James Romano (bass), and CJ Palmisano (guitar). With all members being from various parts of New Jersey and drawing inspiration from their years of playing music in one capacity or another, be it the school band or independently, the band grew from an initial phone call between Alex and CJ, who played music together many years prior; after over an hour on the phone, the two decided to meet up to see what they could pull together.
When COVID-19 hit, though, the guys were derailed a tad, but later in 2020, when they met up at The Burn Room in Jefferson, New Jersey, they ended up recording their first single, “Alone.” By 2021, enough material was written to record the debut album, and the rest is history.
I recently sat down to chat with the guys. No beer was present, but we did take a deeper dive into the meaning behind the title of their newest single and much more. Take a moment to read about Hollow Heroes and then go check out their music.
MaM: Obviously, you have the Rise Against element in your newest single, “Refuse (Breakfast Beers),” but collectively who would you cite as your musical influences?
CJ: I’m really big into Metallica, Blink 182, A Day to Remember
James: I’m super into Parkway Drive, Silverstein, Circa Survive, Dance Gavin Dance …
Tom: If you didn’t say Dance Gavin Dance, I was going to have a heart attack. (laughter) I think we all have a good overall consensus of bands that we all like. They kind of overlap. I think once me and James came on, we added more of a progressive vibe. I’m super into Dream Theater, Rush, and Periphery … stuff like that. So, that’s something the original two members weren’t as keen on.
Alex: I grew up on Breaking Benjamin and it was the hardest thing I listened to in late high school as well as Rise Against. Our newest single is very influenced by them.
MaM: So, Alex, when it comes to writing lyrics, do you prefer more of a poetic approach, or do you just come up with random ideas and then let them flow?
Alex: It’s definitely ideas and let it flow. (laughter) No rhyme or reason.
Tom: Alex is the most go-with-the-flow person you will ever meet.
Alex: When I write my stuff, vocals are kind of the last thing. Just kind of see what fits. I don’t like things that are overly corny or somatic, I must say. I don’t want it to sound stupid or too dramatic.
MaM: So, leading into the new single you just released in July, can I get a little background info on the title? It’s a little confusing. (laughter) How did “breakfast beers” fit into the equation?
Everyone: It’s a bit of an inside joke with us and was the working title when we were trying to figure out the actual title. Tom hates it.
Tom: I hate it, by the way.
Everyone: Yeah, everyone grew to like “breakfast beers” except for Tom. He was a sourpuss.
CJ: We called it “breakfast beers” because we didn’t have the name yet. When we actually released the song, there was a vote to see if we would put “breakfast beers” in parentheses or not. The refuse part of it was all my dad. It was very random. We kept the inside joke, though, for the original Hollow Heroes fans who know it.
MaM: With all the options for streaming these days, which platform do you guys prefer? Do you feel there are too many avenues to get the products out and should it be streamlined more for a cohesive offering?
Tom: I think we’re past the point of no return with that to have an opinion and it’s almost as if you have to play the game.
MaM: I can agree with that. Going back to your album, “Burn Another Bridge,” which is solid and I love it, you said you recorded it over the course of a year, but how long did it take you to actually write it?
CJ: The writing didn’t take too long. There were songs that I had finished and there were songs that Alex had finished and maybe we just tweaked a few things here and there. The recording process was longer than the writing process. Alex and I worked out our schedule when we could, and we got the drums done in an entire weekend. The guitar tracks took the longest honestly.
MaM: I wanted to touch upon the opening track, “Save Me,” and I wanted to get a little more info behind the lyrics because of how much they resonated with me. What inspired the writing of the song?
Alex: Honestly, I wrote that song when I was 17 or 18 years old and I think there was a time when I was a little different than now and I had some dark things going on, but it was drawn from life experiences and things are better now. But it was some angsty teen issues.
MaM: If you guys could share the stage with any band in the future, who would it be?
CJ: It’s either Foo Fighters or Metallica for me. We fit in well with that crowd and those are my favorites.
James: Number one would be Bad Religion and number two would be Silverstein.
Alex: Rise Against and Blink 182 for sure.
Tom: For me, it’s Dream Theater, even though we sound nowhere close to them. [They’re] the whole reason why I fell in love with music. My dad was a fan of their music and he’s always played their music in the car. They are easily my biggest influence and why I play drums. I also agree with Alex about Breaking Benjamin, too.
MaM: Last question – where do you see yourselves for the rest of 2023 and beyond?
CJ: We’ve had a pretty busy year so far, and we did a show in January at a place called Jimmy’s in Kearney, NJ and that was the first show we had packed, and all of our friends and family were there. It was a great night and I think Tom can go on record that he got emotional that night.
Tom: I did; it was kind of crazy.
CJ: He did, it was a beautiful night. This summer has been so busy, too. In June we did a show in Hazlet, NJ and opened for Marc Rizzo of Ill Niño and Soulfly then less than a week later, we had the House of Independents show, where we met Jeff Crespi, and then in July, we had The Stone Pony show.
Tom: Our biggest goal was to hit Asbury this summer and the whole Jersey Shore scene of rock, so we did it.
CJ: We played Wonderbar in March, too, and from March until the end of this summer, we were just going.
Tom: Yeah, then during that we released “Refuse (Breakfast Beers),” so we were busy recording, too. … I think the rest of 2023 will be focused on writing more music, but not necessarily a new album or EP. With the months getting colder and not as many people getting out there, that’s what we’d like to do.
As the band grows and experiments further, we feel they will continue to cultivate a loyal fanbase that will appreciate their authenticity and style of music. Their current offerings are only the tip of the iceberg, so stay tuned for more from Hollow Heroes and check out one of the links below!
Facebook: Hollow Heroes Facebook
Spotify: Hollow Heroes | Spotify
Amazon Music: Hollow Heroes on Amazon Music Unlimited
*Cover photo via band's Facebook
Nicole Brice doesn’t like Breaking Benjamin, but she loves Rise Against. She highly recommends you listen to this band and if you would like her to check something out, then e-mail us at email@example.com.