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INTERVIEW: JOSE URQUIZA of 3 Years Hollow – August/September 2014

| 30 September 2014 | Reply

Every once in a while an interview doesn’t get completed as quickly as you might like, but in this case, it presented a cool opportunity.  I was able to grab some time with 3 Years Hollow vocalist Jose Urquiza both pre and post Uproar tour, which allowed us to discuss the tour in a matter of fact manner as someone about to venture out for their first festival and then as an experienced rocker who had a big tour under his belt.  I present the fun two-part discussion I had with Jose over two months…


Toddstar: Well thank you so much for taking time out for us today. We really appreciate it.

Jose: Yeah, no problem, thanks for having me.


Toddstar: Well let’s talk about the big event coming up for you guys 3 Years Hollow have been added to the Uproar tour for 2014. How big is that to you guys at this point?

Jose: It’s pretty massive man. It’s the biggest thing that we’ve done in our career yet actually. Touring has always been the big thing. We can do a lot of the stuff ourselves, the releasing albums, getting it out there for people to hear. When we got the offer from Uproar that was definitely a dream come true.

Toddstar: 3 Years Hollow actually got a leg up through the use of a contest with Uproar. Is that true?

Jose: Yeah. I mean that actually we kind of owe that, besides the fact that we’ve been working as a band now for the last 8 years to try to break through. What eventually got us heard by the right people was Ernie Ball Battle of the Bands back in 2012. At the time, our record label President Bob Weingarten was one of the judges for that year’s competition. During the whole competition our fan base pretty much kept us as number one in the nation vote. We were always at the top; people always saw the name and that also kind of got back to the promoters of Uproar and everything. We won our region so we got to go to Chicago and play the Tinley Park location and that kind of let the guys from Uproar see us and everything. We eventually signed with Imagine Records. Just that opportunity kind of kept our name in their minds.

Toddstar: You’re going out on Uproar. Who are the bands you’re most excited to see and be around on the short swing that you guys are on?

Jose: You know I’m looking forward to seeing all the headliners. This is one thing I tell everybody, being in a band and touring all the time, I never get to see my favorite bands play shows because we’re always somewhere else and in a different city at the same time. Godsmack, I’ve seen them a couple times. I can’t wait to see them again. Skillet, I’ve never seen, I’m really looking forward to them. The guys from Pop Evil, we’ve known those guys. We were working playing shows with them for almost 4 years now. It will be good with those guys. We kind of know them more than anybody, that’s going to make us a little more comfortable.

Toddstar: Cool. I know the crowds can’t wait to see you here in Detroit. The kick-off date of the tour on August 15. You guys are the next day in Illinois, so you’re kind of in your hometown; of course you’re going to get there anyway. Is there one of the dates that you’re more looking forward to than the other, or are you just looking to go out and hit it as hard as you can?

Jose: You know what? I’m definitely, I’m looking, and we do have a home date. Amazingly, afterwards coming to Peoria, Illinois which is actually only an hour away from our home town. All the family and friends and our hometown fan base will there supporting us which will feel great, with sort of the Uproar crowd. I’m looking forward to getting out East. We’re going to go to New York and Pennsylvania and we haven’t been out there in about a year. I’m looking forward to getting back out there and playing for those guys.


Toddstar: Let’s talk about Uproar again.  How was that swing for you guys?

Jose: Oh man.  It’s something that ever since we started touring in the band and because we had had a little bit of experience with the Uproar tour when we were in the Battle of the Bands, that tour was the epitome of tours for us to be on. Then when we got the offer this year obviously it was a dream come true. They take care of you out there. We really learned how much work goes into putting on something like that.  They’re there from 8 a.m. every morning setting up stages and the vending and everything like that. It was great.  It was great being able to see some of those bands that I grew up loving.  Took time to see how these bands do it on the big stage. I haven’t really been to too many big shows like that.

Toddstar: You mentioned some of these big bands and some of the bands that you grew up digging, was there any bands that really blew you away?

Jose: Yeah. I was actually pretty impressed.  I think about things pretty differently. I was pretty impressed with Skillet’s production just because, this is kind of a weird thing to say, but some people don’t really like the big production thing. The pyro, the lights, the backing track type thing. As far as a show and the production that they put on for their fans, I think they’re topnotch.  That was one show that I watched.  I saw them for the first time on the opening night of Uproar and I was like, “Wow, they’re pretty amazing live.”

Toddstar: You mention opening night.  How was that Detroit crowd and how did they treat 3 Years Hollow?

Jose: The Detroit crowd was awesome. I think we started it definitely in the right city.  Pretty much every band was saying that when they got on stage.  The crowd was packed from the minute gates opened.  All the bands on the side stage were playing to a huge sea of people.  They loved it there.  That was one of the coolest shows on the tour.


Toddstar: Cool.  Not long after the Detroit show you had a hometown show.  What was it like to come back to Illinois hometown heroes on the Uproar Tour?

Jose: It’s actually always strange just because people treat you a little bit differently even if you don’t really feel different.  People around you start treating you a little bit differently. Our guitar player always laughs about it because he comes home and people always want to talk to him about how things were.  We get home and we’ve been living that tour for the last three weeks, so we come home and everybody wants to hear about it.  We’re like, jeez, am I talking too much, am I talking about me too much?  It’s exciting for people around here. They’ve been with us; some of them have been with this band since the beginning, so eight years.  It’s exciting for them as it is for us.

Toddstar: Cool. Let’s back up a few months. You guys have an album, The Cracks, which debuted at 22 on Heatseekers Chart and on Billboard which is huge in this day and age when everything’s a download. There’s nothing really like it. What was that like for you personally to see something that, to know that you hit Billboard Magazine, to know that you got a #23 record?

Jose: Those are the tiny little things that definitely make you realize that you did ultimately what you set out to do. When I was little, it was about those accomplishments. Getting on the radio for the first time, playing in front of a huge crowd. I’m always looking at my favorite bands and they’re on the front cover of magazines and they’re on Billboard. It’s one of those things that you wish and hope is going to happen, because you wouldn’t keep doing it if it doesn’t. But there’s a little bit of doubt in your mind that it’s going to happen. It’s just a testament to the fan base that we built up. We didn’t really do a massive push with the record, and it still had a good launch.

Toddstar: You have a new single out, “For Life.”  How are the different tracks on the album being received when you’re going out and playing these live?

Jose: The tracks, live we get an amazing response. That’s why we love playing so much, we always say that’s one of the ones we tried every night, and it definitely went over the majority of them. That’s not just from us. We get a lot of people at our live shows is what really sells us. The record sounds great and everything, but somehow our live show is even better which is hard for me to believe because the record is all polished and perfect. Our live show we do it raw. But I mean, hearing that is the greatest compliment you can especially when that’s what you really care about is the live performance.

Toddstar: Cool. Now that that swing’s done and you got a little bit of experience under your belt, you guys are getting ready to head out with Nonpoint. How did that come about and how excited are you guys to be out with Nonpoint?

Jose: It came about basically we were just going through a little bit of a change with our booking agent. We were signed to the Agency Group and we just went to TKO.  Our new booking agent Melanie has really been hooking up some opportunities for us.  Our management let us know that we had an offer to go out with Nonpoint and Gemini Syndrome. Both of those bands are huge right now.  It pretty much in this game for us it’s been about finding good quality tours.  When something like that comes along you know we’ll do everything we can to be a part of it.

Toddstar: You guys have a similar vein.  Is this something that you think is a good fit for the different fan bases?

Jose: I do think so.  When we found out that we were playing with them that is one of the things that I thought that it’s good, maybe a lot of their fans are going to like who we are.  I’m sure that the agents put tours together with a lot of the same type band.  I know a lot of the Nonpoint fans, the Sevendust fans and I know we’re right along with the same vein with all these bands.  It’s a really good package. From what I’ve seen so far it looks like a lot of fans are really excited about the group of bands that are going out.

Toddstar: Cool. Let’s talk about you for a minute Jose. You’re getting ready to hit the road. When you’re looking around and it comes you’ve been gone for a little bit, what are the couple things in your home or in your place that you think, I can’t leave home without this.

Jose: Well, I never leave home without my ProTools rig. It’s the ProTools rig that we recorded every single thing that we’ve released on our first record Ascension, our acoustic records. I mean we do demoing and everything on the bus. Other than that, gosh, I don’t need much. I’m the guy that literally gets on the bus with a small duffle bag and just figures it out after that.

Toddstar: Okay.

Jose: It’s the truth.

Toddstar: Cool. Well if you’re at a venue and you leave your phone behind, this is a two part. First, what’s the oddest piece of music that someone might find in your iTunes catalog?

Jose: Oh man. You know, people are going to find Boyz II Men. They’re going to find PM Dawn. Some of that old R&B stuff, you know, Bone Thugs N Harmony, as well as rap. All those little weird things mixed with all the hard rock you can think of and metal you can think of.

Toddstar: Okay. Well, the second part of that if they scroll through your contact list, who would be the oddest rock star phone number you’ve got in your phone?

Jose: The oddest rock star phone number?


Toddstar: The one that would surprise your fans the most?

Jose: Hmm, I don’t have many at this moment. I’ve got a lot of guys from Sevendust and Eye Empire and stuff like that. But you know, there are not too many weird ones, except those guys.

Toddstar: Okay, pretty cool. Who made you want to stand behind a mic, Jose? Who made you want to do this?

Jose: You know, it was a combination of a couple people. Really just a lot of, I always gravitated towards vocals. The top four that I can tell you are Brandon Boyd from Incubus, Lajon Witherspoon from Sevendust, Maynard James Keenan, and when I was really little, a band called Creed came out. I was a real big fan of Tremonti, and Scott Stapp’s voice actually really inspired me as a young kid. Those four singers I just always loved emulating their voices, singing every single song that came out. It was really Lajon from Sevendust I remember when I was a teenager I would stand in my room and I’d turn all the lights off. I’d light some candles and I would pretend that I was literally singing for an arena of people to Sevendust songs. That feeling definitely is what made me want to be a front man and a vocalist.

Toddstar: With that being said, if you had to put together a package of another couple bands that you’d want to hit the road with that you think 3 Years Hollow would work with but also somebody you would want to tour with, what bands would you want to hit the road with?

Jose: I’m going to say I would love to do a tour with us opening and Breaking Benjamin second and Tool headlining.

Toddstar: Wow. You actually went with some bands that you wouldn’t even think in the same vein.

Jose: Exactly. But I know there are influences there in Breaking Benjamin.  They have a lot of Tool influence.  We have a lot of both.

Toddstar: Okay, fair enough. That being said, if you go back through the history of time and put your vocal stamp on any record, what would it be?

Jose: Oh man. That’s a tough one man. That’s a tough one. You’re talking about other people’s records, right?

Toddstar: Anything but yours.

Jose: Yeah, shoot. I’ve loved, and this is just because I’ve really loved Clint Lowery and he put out, him and Morgan did Call Me No One, and I would love to sing some of those songs. Some of those songs I think my voice would be really great on. I’d love to have a shot to kind of sing some of those songs. I’ll choose that one.

Toddstar: Cool. That’s a good choice. I know you’re busy. I know you guys are ramping up for the big tour. I’ve got one more for you if you don’t mind. Everything for 3 Years Hollow just seems to be looking up. You guys got a great album, The Cracks, the Uproar Festival. Everything is just swinging the right way for you guys. At this point for you, what’s the meaning of life now?

Jose: I’m going to come at this from a place of complete honesty which is, things are, you know, things do look up. Things are looking up. Everything that we’ve always dreamed about as far as accomplishing in a band is coming true. The only difference is, is that, and everybody kind of knows this, is that it’s not enough anymore to kind of support you and your family and life. We’re out here really kind of making absolutely nothing just because this is what we love to do and can’t imagine doing anything else. We feel like we’re helping people. People come to us and they tell us they love our music and my lyrics are really helped them went through a bad time. I wrote it because I was going through a hard time. That’s the stuff that keeps me going. Right now you know the meaning of life is successful for me. We’ve gotten down to the bare bones of just living on what we need. That really kind of changes your perspective on a lot of things about family, about close friends, and music. And trying to just accomplish the dream that I’ve fought for so long. That’s what I’m focused on.

Toddstar: Cool. Well again, thank you so much for taking time out for us today. We wish you so much good will on your upcoming Nonpoint tour and more continued success to you guys.

Jose: Thank you so much, man. I truly appreciate it.

Toddstar: All right Jose. We’ll talk to you soon.

Jose: All right, sounds good.

Category: Interviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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