On The Road, For The Record: Slow Hollows
Before their end-of-tour sold-out show, Milk caught up with Slow Hollows in the alley behind one of LA’s most legendary rock clubs, The Troubadour. The indie/alternative band (comprised of Austin Anderson, Jackson Katz, Aaron Jassenoff, and Daniel Fox) is currently putting the finishing touches on their third full-length album, a project they spent the majority of 2018 recording. Their specific Los Angeles sound, permeated with effortless timelessness, resonates among audiences everywhere (some of whom flew across the country to come to see them perform). Post-soundcheck, Milk had a quick chat with the band about Camp Flog Gnaw, Pasta fazool, and their favorite moments touring across the country.
You guys started in San Francisco, and now it’s your last day on tour. How would you say the energy has changed from then to now?
Jackson Katz: I think the last two shows that we played really were really amazing; the whole tour was amazing, but the last two were especially amazing. I think it’s definitely raised our spirits a lot. There was just great energy.
Austin Anderson: It just takes time also; to get shit right to get shit right.
Daniel Fox: We’re also testing out a bunch of new songs, so we get better as we practice.
And then how are you guys going to celebrate now that you’re done?
Aaron Jassenoff: Oh, we’re going to get blacked out drunk tonight (Joking).
Daniel Fox: Except Austin, not Austin because he’s not 21 yet.
What’s the first thing you guys will do when you have a moment of free time?
Aaron Jassenoff: Write music.
Daniel Fox: We have to finish the record that taken us two years to work on.
What’s the biggest misconception about being on tour?
Aaron Jassenoff: It’s fun. The biggest misconception is that you want to party in every city you’re in; you don’t. You’re just tired. You get to the city, and you play a show, and then you’re like, “Cool, let’s go to the hotel and just sleep.”
Jackson Katz: At least for us. I know a lot of bands that are all about the party.
Aaron Jassenoff: I don’t know how they do it.
What do you guys actually do after the show?
Daniel Fox: I guess it just depends on where we are.
Aaron Jassenoff: Maybe we go back to our hotel room, pour a nice glass of Chardonnay, and watch a terror film.
Daniel Fox: Or Pitch Perfect.
So with Camp Flog Gnaw coming up, in what ways does your mindset and performance change when you’re playing at a festival versus playing your own show?
Austin Anderson: Surrendering entirely; just having no ego when you go into situations like that. Because they’re probably not fully there to see you, at least in our case. So just kind of doing our thing, cruising, hoping that you aren’t objectively really bad in your performance.
Aaron Jassenoff: I think just being as entertaining as possible so that you can gain those fans, because everyone’s there to see what’s going to happen with Kanye, or whatever, or if he’s even gonna show up, but ultimately I think we’re just trying to broaden our exposure* and just have a fun time. And also, festivals, you just have to surrender to the entire idea of festival because they’re always stressful. There’s no right way to do a festival as a band. It’s just like you show up and you’re like, “Hopefully someone knows something.”
Daniel Fox: No one talks to anyone about what’s supposed to be happening ever.
Aaron Jassenoff: There’s three people that will give you totally different answers every time. You’re like, “Where do I go?” And they’re like “You go over there,” and then the other guy is like, “No that guy’s an idiot. Don’t trust Greg.” …sorry Greg.
To give people that aren’t super involved in the industry an idea of your schedule, if you’re breaking down the year, how much is touring, how much is playing, how much is practicing? How much is it recording?
Austin Anderson: Um, mostly for us it’s a lot of recording; right now at least. It just depends on the mode that you’re in. If you’re recording, then you hopefully aren’t playing as much because then it just becomes too much. And then you also think too much about the live songs, and then the live songs we’re playing become stale; you get over the idea of music in general. So trying to keep it really compartmentalized in the way that you do things; at least for us.
Daniel Fox: Once we finish the record, then we’ll probably tour a lot to promote the record.
Austin Anderson: We didn’t play for like eight or nine months this year because we were recording.
What’s the longest tour you guys have been on?
Austin Anderson: About a month.
What venue do you feel most at home?
Austin Anderson: Even though it’s not comfortable, probably the smell. I feel like I’m most used to that stage, even though we haven’t played there in a few years.
Aaron Jassenoff: The Teragram. We’ve played there so many times, and honestly the sound is always good, the people are super friendly, and we know the promoters and stuff. It’s also really clean. Ajax, check it out.
We’re all human. Say that you’re just having a really terrible day or you’re wildly distracted? How do you kind of put that to the side when you have to go onstage?
Austin Anderson: You don’t.
Aaron Jassenoff: Sometimes I just scream into my arm and that helps sometimes.
Jackson Katz: To me that’s the main struggle of tour. You can be really tired, or grumpy, or whatever, and then you have to play. I’ve noticed that once you’re doing it, that’s just what you’re doing, and all that other stuff just kinds of goes away.
Austin Anderson: You completely forget all of it. It’s kinda cool actually.
Aaron Jassenoff: I leave that attitude in the green room, get onstage, lean into the performance .
Got It. What’s the most memorable interaction you’ve had with an audience member or a fan?
Jackson Katz: Mine personally, is we were in Cleveland, and this very drunk, probably underaged girl went up to Austin, and went it for a kiss, and he was just like, “Whoa. No, no, no,” and offered her a hug. And then she hugged him and still went in for the kiss, and he had to go, “No, no, no, no, no.” Her friend was pulling her away.
Austin Anderson: She was like 30. That was kind of why it was really weird.
Daniel Fox: I kept trying to trade shirts with this kid one time. It was a really cool vintage Nine Inch Nails shirt. I was like, “Yo, I’ll trade you my shirt.” He’s like, “No, but I’ll give you this hat instead.” So then he gave me this hat, and then six months later, some dude on instagram messaged me and was like, “Yo, I made that hat. Where’d you get that hat from?” And then he just sent me a bunch of stuff in the mail. So that was pretty cool. He’d stitched this hat with his grandfather’s eyes in it and that’s why he knew no one else had that hat.
Austin Anderson: I can’t think of specific ones, but probably just people that travel out of state and come to multiple in a row. That’s pretty tight.
Daniel Fox: Oh yeah, the girl!
Jackson Katz: There’s someone coming tonight that comes to almost all of our east coast shows and flew here.
Do you have one?
Aaron Jassenoff: One time when I was on stage someone yelled “Jonah Hill.” That’s it.
So during long periods of time on the road, how do you maintain relationships with your friends and family and loved ones?
Jackson Katz: With social media, it’s pretty easy.
Facetiming. Okay, last question—if you guys could send that this tour in one phrase, what would it be?
Aaron Jassenoff: “Pasta fazool.”
Daniel Fox: Yeah, that’s kinda true. We found this Italian cooking record on Spotify and it’s kind of been our tour anthem. We’re going to give you a taste of it right now.
I’m honestly not mad about it.
Aaron Jassenoff: Exactly… that’s the thing. You’re not mad about it!
It kinda sounds like a theme song of a Nintendo DS game. Do you guys have anything else? Did I miss anything?
Aaron Jassenoff: Austin’s never been tickled.
Daniel Fox: Oh yeah, I tickled Austin for the first time.
Austin Anderson: None of this is true.
Stay tuned to Milk for more from musicians on the road.