The Illinois-based hard rock/metal quintet 3 Years Hollow have just released their newest recording, The Cracks, via Imagen Records. In an effort to discern more about this charting and much buzzed about release, I caught up with lead singer Jose Urquiza to discuss the band, recording with Sevendust’s Clint Lowery, and of course, the new album. Here is how the conversation went.

For those not familiar with 3 Years hollow, can you tell us a little bit about yourselves?
Urquiza: Basically, Tony and I have been playing music together for about 12 years. Chris and Dex have been playing together for probably around the same time. We came together about six years ago and made it a goal to perform and write music for a living. We self-released a full-length album in 2007, and then a six-song EP in 2012 which basically led to our record contract with Imagen Records in late 2013.

Now that your new release, The Cracks, is out do you feel satisfied with the outcome and the response overall?
Urquiza: I definitely feel satisfied with the album especially when I think about what it is as part of our history. The album really is something that has spanned 6 years of our lives and it’s finally out for everyone to have a piece of. What really matters is if the fans are happy and so far it seems like everyone is really loving it. I think one of the coolest things I’ve seen is that the fans, the critics, and radio have really embraced us. It’s a great feeling.

Check out the song “Chemical Ride”

What is your writing process like, and recording with Clint Lowery of Sevendust?
Urquiza: Usually a song will start off as an idea in our heads. Tony or I will get a riff or a beat going, or even a vocal line, and then we’ll sit down and we’ll just start working it out until we have a cool melody for the verse and maybe a chorus if one comes. Sometimes we’ll just sit down and build the song from start to finish. We do a lot of demos in our home studio which help us tweak the songs if we come up with new ideas. The recording process with Clint was unique. For most of the record it was recorded at Real Trax Recording in Davenport, IA where I produce and work with other bands in our hometown. Clint drove in and spent a couple weeks with us doing some co-writing and then some recording. Took that back to my home studio in our basement and finished the bass, guitar, and vocals. So most of it was finished in my basement, and then sent off to Architekt Music in New Jersey to be mixed.

When you write, do you write with the live setting in mind?
Urquiza: I’ve never really written with the live show in mind. That sometimes bites me in the ass when I’m in the studio singing all of these really powerful high notes and then I get to tour mode and remember that I have to do this every night for two months. But mostly I just write for what I think sounds cool, something that moves me in some way. I know that seems so simple, but it’s always been about that for me. A perfect drum beat, a catchy riff, whatever flows. After that we work on translating it to the live show.

What is the story behind the name of the band, 3 Years Hollow?
Urquiza: We were originally called Hollow. We started attracting some attention and we realized there was already another band called Hollow so we knew we had to change it. We had been Hollow for three years, so it just stuck. Three Years Hollow.

Any rituals before you hit the stage? If so what are they?
Urquiza: I always pray before I go on stage. The first thing I do is thank God for another chance to play music for a living. Every single show we make it to is a blessing. I usually ask to watch over the guys, over our families that support us out here, and for the fans to enjoy themselves and have a safe night. It always puts me at peace and really opens my mind up before I go on stage.

Do you have any touring plans in support of the release?
Urquiza: We pretty much plan on touring until the fans are sick of us. We want to take the show to every city we can and take this record as far as we can. Eventually we’d love to prove ourselves in the US enough to travel to other countries like Europe and South America where we also have strong fan bases.

If you were stranded on a deserted island and could only have 3 records with you for the rest of your life what would they be?
Urquiza: Sevendust’s Animosity, 311’s Soundsystem, and Tool’ Aenima.

Check out the song “Hungry”

What is the scene like in the part of Illinois the band is from? Do you receive a good amount of support from the fans and the scene in general?
Urquiza: Personally I love the scene where we are from. The Quad Cities is a great place for music. We’re 3-4 hours away from several major cities like Chicago, Cedar Rapids, Des Moines, St. Louis, Milwaukee, the list goes on. We had a massive amount of support from our hometown and that is one of the reasons we were able to grow organically. Every time a major show came through town the local clubs and promoters would put us on as an opening act. That really allowed us to grow our fan base the grass roots way and it really worked. That support ultimately led to us being able to sell out shows in our home town consistently. A lot of our friends in other bands tell us that we’re doing the scene proud and that we’re carrying a torch for an area that is relatively unknown, and that is a great feeling. Especially to be supported so much while doing it. The local radio station Rock 104.9 has also been a huge supporter. We can’t thank the QC enough.

What is next for you guys?
Urquiza: We’re going to keep touring to support the record. That is pretty much our short term and long term plan. Tour and grow and take our music to every hard rock and metal fan out there. Any music fan in general really. Anyone that wants to listen. We finally got this shot so we’re going to do whatever it takes. Hopefully we’ll see you soon.