Announces new album, Your Own Adventure
Due 3rd March on Curation Records
Hollow Hand returns with news of a third album, Your Own Adventure, due for release on 3rd March 2023 via Curation Records. A limited edition ‘cosmic blue’ vinyl & zine package will available through Resident Records, alongside standard vinyl, and digital.
Your Own Adventure is the result of an artist that has been through something of a personal and creative breakthrough, making a record guided by instinct and intuition, yet underpinned by years of knowledge, experience and craft. Across 13 tracks it glides through moments of tender introspection, backed by gently plucked guitar, melodic folk rock, synth-soaked psych pop and a touch of Americana, all of which is carried by Max Kinghorn-Mills’ voice which seamlessly shifts from infectious hooks and layered melodies to moments of subtle restraint.
The album also features many guest appearances from Tim Smith (Midlake, Harp), Spencer Cullum, Holly Macve, Ryan Pollie and Oliver Newton, and was mixed by Chris Cohen in Los Angeles.
Along with the announcement, Hollow Hand unveils the first single to be taken from the album – the swirling “Heaven Just Watched”, a psych-pop indebted gem, with accompanying video directed by James Sharp.
Max says of the new single and video: “Chaos reigns & London is in flames, 1666. The lyrics for ‘Heaven Just Watched’ are based on a diary I kept when I moved into London to work on music. I was reading Peter Ackroyd’s definitive biography of the city & totally immersed in the mythology & hidden rituals which form the foundations of the city’s architecture. I imagined myself walking through those streets. Nothing has meaning, there are no gods, choose your own adventure.
I had an idea for a video and called up my good friend James Sharp (a wonderful person & film maker, ‘The Jangling Man: The Martin Newell Story’, 2022). I’d been re-working my way through the history of Folk Horror, reading Alan Garner, MR James, watching essential 1970s films & the BBC ‘Play For Today’ series. James & I compared notes, came up with a storyboard & then with the invaluable help & skillset of Holly Macve, we started to put together the costumes. Fans of the film genre might notice some references in our film.
It wasn’t an easy video to make.. I’d find myself wearing this cape & hat, pacing across cold, misty fields in Sussex at 5am wondering what I was actually doing here. James and I are really happy with how the video came out, I think of it as a little homage to all of those great writers & film makers who’s influence we share & admire.”
What a track, filled with plentiful hooks and buoyant textures. A rhythm that appeals, this mighty melody which embraces the bold attributes and engages the audience. Addicted to the instrumentation which showcases this hitting guitar passage, deep, complex, and plunging through the atmosphere with such a fierce commitment. Whilst the alluring drum shuffles keep the momentum progressing and bring a softer edge to the soundscape, when the vocal harmonies join the arrangement, affection begins to steer the direction. The vocal harmonies ooze character, sincerity, and a warm connection with the lyrics to the landscape. Hollow Hand continues to craft such captivating compositions, destined to thrill with the rich notes, crisp tonality and touching melodies.
“The attitude of the album is definitely DIY,” says Max Kinghorn-Mills of Hollow Hand’s third album. “About just doing everything yourself and not needing to rely on anyone. That’s the one thing I love about doing this: no one has any answers for you, you are your own boss and it’s your own adventure. It’s down to you.”
This independent spirit that propels the creative process is also one that gave birth to its title: Your Own Adventure. “The title is kind of a mantra to summarise my philosophy when writing and recording the album,” he says. “I grew up immersing myself in all kinds of Fantasy genres and I loved the choose your own adventure game-books of Joe Dever. Other kinds of books I was reading throughout the writing process pointed me towards a kind of ‘belief in the self’ – there’s no definitive, correct way to live this life.”
This liberating personal juncture in Kinghorn-Mills’ life also coincided with a musical one. After releasing, and learning from, two albums, 2015’s Ancestral Lands and 2018’s Star Chamber, he was able to gain a better sense of where he wanted to go next musically. “Ancestral Lands is a raw sounding album which I made in the bedroom of a house I rented with other musician friends,” he says. “Star Chamber was recorded at the bottom of a garden in a shed at my Dad’s and was the combined efforts of three very close friends – a huge step up in terms of arrangements and instrumentation. This new album is a middle ground between the two – reclaiming the naivety and playful aspects of an earlier time but only really being possible after having spent time collaborating and evolving.”
The result is an album by an artist who has been through something of a personal and creative breakthrough, making a record guided by instinct and intuition, yet underpinned by years of knowledge, experience and craft. Across 13 tracks it glides through moments of tender introspection, backed by gently plucked guitar, melodic folk rock, synth-soaked psych pop and a touch of Americana, all of which is carried by Kinghorn-Mills’ voice which seamlessly shifts from infectious hooks and layered melodies to moments of subtle restraint. Be it the dreamy (both lyrically and sonically) ‘Before Tomorrow’, the punchy, dynamic and riff-heavy ‘One Last Summer’ or the stripped back yet stirring arrangement of ‘Childhood Room’, the album offers a varied journey into the multifaceted talents of Kinghorn-Mills who often manages to make his solo offerings sound like a full band effort.
However, despite the creative drive and singular determination behind the album, it’s also one that has welcomed some outside input. “I’m very excited to have some guests on the album as I admire each of these musicians so much,” says Kinghorn-Mills, referring to the input of Tim Smith (Midlake, Harp), Spencer Cullum, Holly Macve, Ryan Pollie and Oliver Newton, with the album being mixed by Chris Cohen in Los Angeles. “At some level it’s a bit nerve wracking [bringing in other people] because this is something that you spend so much time building up and making sure that all the pieces are correct,” he says. “Bringing people in can be like, ‘oh god is this going to work?’ I don’t really ever collaborate much but when I do it’s because I trust them.”
The collaborations were also a chance to expand the album geographically and add a touch of an American tone to the record. “I‘ve always done things in house but I wanted to expand things this time,” he says. “To cross into America with Tim, Chris and Spencer in Nashville. I’d love to spend more time in the US, A lot of my favourite new music comes from America.”
Given the nature of the album’s adventure-filled spirit, it is one that tackles a lot of subjects and is shaped by multiple influences. Some of the lyrics, album artwork and videos are rooted in, and inspired by, British folklore, as well as standing stones and burial sites. There will even be a small zine included with the LP covering things such as stone circles of the UK and Dolmen burials.
The spirit of punk, community, independent record labels (Kinghorn-Mills runs his own tape label Cosmic Ocean) and underground publishing also runs through the essence of the whole album making process. The experimental films and poetry of Margaret Tait from the Orkney Islands looms large too. “‘The album is a statement of the present,” says Kinghorn-Mills. “And the song ‘Where I am Is Here’ takes its title from a Margaret Tait experimental film.” Kinghorn-Mills’ personal life also plays a significant part, with the ups and downs of relationships nestling up alongside introspective songs about a lost friend from childhood.
On paper these hugely disparate influences may not make much sense when thrown together but the one thing that connects them all, and helps to underpin this album in unity, is a potent sense of autonomy, uniqueness and a sense of individualism. Of doing things on your own terms, your own way. “In terms of being a one-man operation the people I looked to as inspiration have often been strong minded,” he says. “Anton Newcombe from Brian Jonestown Massacre, Kate Bush, Brian Wilson, Greg Ginn running SST records so single-mindedly, Robert Crumb the illustrator, working intensely in his room. This always appealed to me growing up and I’ve always shut myself away – I need artistic solitude.”
Whether it was sitting at home and obsessing over every detail independently or adding some pedal steel all the way from Nashville, the ethos of the album remained rooted in trust, intuition and exploration – a sense of letting go and seeing where the project takes you. “I just decided I needed to more open minded, which was exciting,” he says. “All those parts of my imagination which had been activated in the past slowly came through. I guess that’s again about freedom and your own adventure. Like, just let it happen. Whereas in the past I’ve been a bit more self-aware. I’ve definitely let my guard down on this record and not been afraid of the path ahead.”
Preorder Your Own Adventure:
1. Light, Falling
2. Before Tomorrow
3. One Last Summer
4. I’m Going To Let You Break My Heart
5. Heaven Just Watched
6. All My Love
7. Childhood Room
8. Where I Am Is Here
9. Doomed To Roll
10. Baby You’re So Rock ‘n Roll
11. Jealous King
13. Blue Eyed Babies