EMQ’s with HOLD ON HOLLYWOOD
Hi everyone! Welcome to our new EMQ’s interview with Houston, Texas based Rock band Hold On Hollywood. Huge thanks to Nick Dees and Ian Dartez for taking part.
What is your name, what do you play, and can you tell us a little bit about the history of the band?
HOLD ON HOLLYWOOD IS:
IAN DARTEZ – LEAD SINGER/GUITARIST
NICK DEES – LEAD GUITARIST
COREY MORGAN – BASSIST
DEVIN HOLDEN – DRUMMER
Nick: Hey, my name is Nick and I play lead guitar in the band and sing a bit of back-ups.
Ian: I’m Ian and I sing and play rhythm guitar.
Nick: The band started back at the very end of 2014 when we all got together and saw that we had similar interests musically and were all looking for a new serious project. Our drummer Devin and I had been playing together since we started being in bands back in 2009. We started our first one together, and happened to be between bands when we met Ian and Corey. Things just seemed to make sense and fell together when the 4 of us came together. We played our first show opening for Drowning Pool in April of 2015 and have been at it ever since.
How did you come up with your band name?
Ian: Some story about me running my mouth, or something like that. It’s a bit of a mystery, no one REALLY knows.
What country are you from and what is the Metal/Rock scene like there?
Nick: We are from the USA, particularly Houston, Texas. It’s definitely alive. There’s a lot of metal bands around our area. Not as many just rock/hard rock groups I feel like, but it is a big city so there is definitely lots of music everywhere of all kinds. Our city is very well known for its Rap and Hip-Hop stars that have come from it.
Ian: Music is definitely thriving all around the country though, with cities like LA, Nashville, Austin, NYC, etc all being big hotspots for musicians and being so spread out around the country.
What is your latest release? (Album, EP, Single or Video)
Nick: We just dropped our second EP back in February on Valentine’s Day. It’s called “Love Stories” and has our single ‘Movies’ that we just dropped the music video for everywhere on April 15th.
Who have been your greatest influences?
Ian: I’m a big fan of so many different types of music, it’s really hard for me to nail it down. I like everything from stuff way back to the 50’s to 70’s up until now. Obscure to mainstream artists.
Nick: I’m big on things like early 2000’s emo/pop-punk groups like Taking Back Sunday, Brand New, Say Anything, etc and also the 80’s rock bands like Crüe and GnR. Of course, these aren’t my only influences, but probably have the biggest impact on me.
What first got you into music?
Nick: My Dad played guitar and always had them around the house, so I started playing at a very, very young age. Started taking it more seriously when I was almost a teen, around 11-13 years old. My Dad also worked with bands a lot, particularly one called the Velcro Pygmies and I went around with him a lot on the road being the eldest son and having an interest in it. I got to see first-hand what the business was like and I was hooked.
Ian: I actually spent about 10 years or so in the Caribbean on St. Croix. My Dad also was a musician. He played in bands himself as a singing drummer. I originally learned drums as a result, but then wanted to play guitar so I could jam with my Dad, which I did. We played shows around the island together and I was out gigging before I was even in the double digits. This then led to me wanting to learn to sing. I kind of jumped all around and learned a bit of everything, but really took to singing and playing guitar.
If you could collaborate with a current band or musician who would it be?
Nick: There’s honestly so many I would like to collab with, idols of mine. I would just be down to jam with anyone who’s down to jam with us.
Ian: Probably the same for me. Anyone who just understands our direction and sound and wants to be involved in that for a bit, I’m down to give a shot to.
If you could play any festival in the world, which would you choose and why?
Nick: I would have loved to have been on a full cross-country Vans Warped Tour at least once. Sad to see that it’s gone.
Ian: Yeah, fun fact. Before HOH got going, Devin and I played together for a short period of time in a band called Strength in Shadows. We needed a drummer and he joined in for a few months before we both ultimately ended up parting ways from the project and starting up HOH. We played the Houston date of the Vans Warped Tour in 2014 and it was a lot of fun, really cool experience. A full run would have been a dream, especially with Hold On Hollywood.
What’s the weirdest gift you have ever received from a fan?
Ian: Are we even able to disclose that information publicly? Probably best we don’t.
If you had one message for your fans, what would it be?
Nick: We absolutely love you guys. You’ve given us so many of our wildest dreams through your love and support, and we could never repay you all for it. Can’t wait to see where else we can go together on this musical journey!
If you could bring one Metal/Rock star back from the dead, who would it be?
Nick: This is a tough one. We have lost SO many great artists and musicians in recent years especially. Maybe Prince.
Ian: I agree, it’s a tough call. I’ve been really big on 90’s grunge stuff most of my life though. Chris Cornell maybe, I think that would be great.
What do you enjoy the most about being a musician? And what do you hate?
Nick: My favourite thing is the shows. The big performances. We’ve been able to grow enough now to a point where we put on our own headlining performances even in our hometown and they’re just like dreams come true every time with all of our friends and fans, the big family we’ve all become. Getting to choose who shares the stage with us, our good friends in other bands. It’s like one big party the whole time. I could live in those nights forever.
Ian: Just being able to create such cool things from scratch, these songs that connect with people on so many different levels. I love music through and through and being able to create it and express myself through it is something I can’t imagine being without.
If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be?
Nick: Hear me out, because I don’t want this to be taken the wrong way, but honestly, the money. Because you hear a lot of these horror stories these days of artists having to sign these 360 deals and they lose so much of their ownership over their music and material that THEY are making. The reason things are like this though is because there is less money in music than there used to be overall. Labels would hand out million dollar deals all the time back in the day, 80’s and 90’s. Artists could live GREAT lives and the labels made great livings too, everyone was happy. These days, you’re lucky to scrape by. Less money is generated in the industry off record sales, so labels had to turn to everything else to make up for it, and that hurts the artist and their crews. It sucks all around. I love music, and I wish I could make a living off of it and just do what I love, that’s why I say this. But, it’s much harder these days, even as a notable and famous artist.
Name one of your all-time favourite albums?
Ian: Fuel – “Sunburn”.
Nick: Going to deep cut here and say Dear & The Headlights’ debut album “Small Steps, Heavy Hooves”.
What’s best? Vinyl, Cassettes, CD’s or downloads?
Nick: Whatever you want to listen on honestly. I don’t have a favourite.
What’s the best gig that you have played to date?
Ian: Opening for Bon Jovi at Houston’s Toyota Center and The Roast were our first 2 “big” gigs and they were both just absolutely unreal. With Bon Jovi, there were close to 15,000 people in the audience and right after we finished our set, Bon Jovi takes the stage. It’s really hard to top an experience like that. The Roast was our second truly “big” show. It’s a festival put on by 94.5 The Buzz in Houston and we shared the stage with Blue October and Theory of a Deadman. We got to know the guys in Blue October at that show, and that led to playing more shows with them and their bassist Matt Noveskey producing our new EP “Love Stories”. If I had to pick a favourite show though, I’d say Buzzfest in 2018. By then, we had a popular song on radio and people were really starting to know who we were. We got a better slot, people sang along to our songs, the staff at this huge venue knew who we were, and so many awesome things. Plus, it was the biggest festival we ever played, and the line-up was stacked. A Perfect Circle, Chevelle, Mike Shinoda of Linkin Park, The Struts, Badflower, and so many others. We got to add a lot of idols to our resume of artists we’ve played with.
Nick: My favourite so far was our 5th Anniversary show on December 28th of 2019 at Warehouse Live in our hometown of Houston. Warehouse has been there for a while and I’ve grown up seeing some of my favourite bands there. We came in and headlined the main room and it was our biggest headliner to date. We made it a little festival with 2 stages and so many of our good friend’s bands sharing those stages with us. There were so many people in attendance, and it was just OUR night and that made it so great. Don’t get me wrong, the big shows were awesome like Ian said, and they did so much for our career. I am beyond thankful and blessed they happened. Without them, we wouldn’t have been able to do this show in the first place. But since we HAVE done it, it’s definitely my favourite show to date.
If you weren’t a musician, what else would you be doing?
Nick: I’d still be in entertainment of some sort I think. I’ve always just been an entertainer at my core, I think. I’ve always kind of dreamed of being a sort of “renaissance man” if the band is ever able to “make it” or whatever that means. Do comedy, act, music, magic, create art, etc. I just like to perform and be good at something.
Ian: I couldn’t imagine my life without music, it’s so engrained in my existence. I don’t think I could see myself doing something else, so I can’t ever really answer this question.
Which five people would you invite to a dinner party?
Nick: Nikki Sixx, Elon Musk, Theo Von, Josh Gates and David Blaine. That sounds like an interesting dinner party.
What’s next for the band?
Nick: Right now, we are just playing everything by ear. The coronavirus thing has definitely thrown a wrench in a lot of stuff for everyone. We had to cancel our shows and basically just hunker down. When things get back to normal, we are looking forward to writing more music, playing more shows, and just trying to grow more and more.
What Social Media/Website links do you use to get your music out to people?
Ian: We use all the major social media outlets, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Just type in Hold On Hollywood and there we are. Our music is on all major online streaming platforms and more, and we have physical CD’s/merch available as well on our website. That also links you to all those other outlets, so if you want one simple place to go to, just head to…
Jaffa Cakes? Are they a cake or a biscuit?
Nick: I don’t even know what they are, but I wanna try one now!
Thank you for your time. Is there anything else that you would like to add?
Nick: If you’ve got a dream, chase it. We’ve come farther than we could have ever dreamed in these 5 years, and who knows what could happen next! Thanks for taking some time to learn more about us today, it’s been awesome giving you a bit more insight into our lives. We hope to keep growing more and more with you guys in the years to come. Hope you’re all staying safe with everything that’s going on in the world right now, and if you’re bored at home, or on your way to your essential job, whatever it may be, stream our new EP “Love Stories” wherever you like to listen to music! The new video for our single “Movies” is on YouTube if you’ve got a few minutes! We put a lot of time into it and are really proud of how awesome it came out. See you guys next time.
Disclaimer: This interview is solely the property of Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this interview, unless you have the strict permission of said party. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.