Many musicians were crippled by constant lockdowns and pandemic-related restrictions over the course of 2020 and 2021, but it acted as a blessing in disguise for some acts, like Lower Hollow. This brand-new South African powerhouse used that time behind closed doors to build chemistry, refine their sound, and hone techniques, as the rest of the world stood still and lived in fear and uncertainty. This internal frustration essentially helped fuel the quintet, as they used these dark times as motivation, and that aggression has found its way into the music.
The result is the debut Lower Hollow full-length Bloom & Expire (stream the new single “Living Ghosts”), a collage of hardcore and metallic blows, ready for your consumption on March 31st. Due out via Mongrel Records, these songs were used as a platform for lead singer Estian Smith and his bandmates to express all that they felt was wrong with not just the world, but also their own lives. The album concedes the fragility of day-to-day life and touches on some very personal themes, such as coming to terms with our own mortality, dealing with depression, and navigating fractured relationships. With this record, the group’s intention is for listeners to find catharsis and comfort knowing that they aren’t alone in their anger and dissatisfaction.
We are pleased today to have Chad Smit joins us today for a session of Quick & Dirty, in which we get to know the guitarist in a way that you won’t anywhere else. Hit the band’s site for even more info.
If you lived in a city in medieval times, what would you be doing?
Chad Smit: “I would, without a doubt, be a blacksmith. I had some experience doing smithing with my uncle, and that whole experience was such a blast. More so than that, all the cool characters in books and movies have smithed a sword at one point in their lives.”
What historical event would you most like to have experienced firsthand?
“The French Revolution. Of all the historical events I have learned of, this is by far my favourite one. The artworks inspired by it, the stories told of it, it’s all so fascinating to me. To be a part of that, even amidst all the chaos of it, would be quite interesting.”
If you had the chance to know when you died and how, would you take it?
“Not at all. While I understand that most people would take that chance just for the assurance that comes with it, I think it takes away from the mystery that makes life so interesting, and worth living in the first place.”
Who was your childhood hero? Do you still look up to them?
“In terms of music, it was Shaun Morgan of Seether. Seether were the first band I ever found out about, probably at age five, and I loved the look of Shaun Morgan specifically. It was unlike anything I had seen before.
“However, going into my teens, I took a huge liking to Alexi Laiho (Children of Bodom). He really inspired what I would do on guitar, and I’d often dress up like he would. Some of the first ‘extreme’ songs I had ever tried playing on guitar were Children Of Bodom songs.”
What quote would you put on your tombstone?
“‘Here weary traveler, rest your wand; sleep the journey from your eyes.’
As much as I would love to have something humourous on my tombstone, this quote holds a lot of meaning to me. The song it is taken from (‘Turn Loose the Mermaids’ by Nightwish) makes the journey of life and eventual death seem like something beautiful in a way, rather than something negative.”
What is the best movie ever?
“The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King. I don’t think I will ever cherish any film as much as I do the Lord of the Rings trilogy. The Return of the King specifically, but of course, the others, is something that I think everyone needs to experience. This is more of an opinion, of course. While certain individuals might say that Top Gun is the best movie, I can assure you that they are wrong.”
If you could have anything as a pet, what would it be?
“A wolpertinger. They’re one of the most fascinating creatures I have heard of, and to not have one if given chance would be a shame (laughs).”
If you could be a cartoon character who would you be?
“Hopefully Scrooge McDuck. At least, I tell myself that I would be him in this case, but I don’t think his lifestyle quite matches up to mine, sad to say. But given the opportunity, I would be him.”
Favourite book of all time?
“The Name Of The Wind by Patrick Rothfuss. It is a book that a good friend of mine recommended to me, and I instantly fell in love with it. The way the world is depicted in there, the strange encounters that take place in it, it’s all such a wonderful thing, and strangely fills me with hope.”
If you could have dinner with any musician (dead or alive) who would it be?
“Tuomas Holopainen (Nightwish). He comes across as such a fascinating person to me, regarding the way he views the world. To simply have a conversation about him and understand him, and his beliefs, is really something on the bucket list. One thing I love is understanding why people view the world in the way that they do, and this one just screams out to me.”