I don’t even know where to begin… these guys are one of the hardest working bands in the Circle City. I have known Nick, the lead singer, for a few years now, and never thought to work with them until the last rickyleepotts.com presents six bands for six bucks. It just made sense. So I offered them a spot. They ended up playing last, and played for nearly 100 fans. That’s hard to do in this city, especially after midnight. But they promoted the show and they made me proud. That, and they are really nice people! Anyway, I liked them so much, I just had to learn more. I asked Nick if he would be able and willing to sit for an interview, and here we are. Another thing I like about these guys… they are rock. I am not talking about that pop crap you head on the radio. I am talking straight up rock and roll music. They are even doing work with Brad Real, a local rap artist. It is my pleasure to introduce you to The Holland Account. Welcome to Holland!
The Holland Account… does that mean you guys are from Holland? Where did you come up with the name?
The original name came from Brandon Morgan (guitar) and Gumby (guitar). They worked together at a shipping company and their primary focus was on the Holland account. Long story short, something had gone wrong and the company lost the account and, in turn, they lost their jobs. So they started a band and named it The Holland Account.
That’s a great story! Where did you guys all meet?
Brandon and Gumby have known each other since school… in fact they learned how to play guitar together. Dan Minnerick (bass) came in around 2008 as the sound started evolving beyond metal roots. They found me, vocals, in December of 2009 after my previous project had split up. Ryan Cox (drums) was friends with Dan from college. He joined in late spring of 2010.
Is this the original lineup?
No. The lineup has changed as the sound and business has grown and changed.
Who did your logo? I bet that would make a sick tattoo.
Dan handles a lot of the graphic design for the band. I’m sure he appreciates the compliment.
Gumby? No way that is his real name.
(Laughs.) Nope… but we dare not speak it in public. His hair is vengeful. (I am kidding!)
Who are some of your biggest influences?
The lists are extensive…
You were on the bill for the last six bands for six bucks. Now that has come and gone, what was your experience like?
We had a lot of fun with six for six! It is always a great time to meet other musicians and to make new fans. We made the most of by releasing two brand new songs, Rider and one with Brad Real and Nick J, Independent Rockstars. We even got to do a live acoustic song on Indy Style (WISH-TV) morning show. We hope that more of the Indianapolis music scene get interested in shows like six for six especially NUVO, X103, and the Indianapolis Star. Music on the national scene is good and all, but we definitely need a little hometown pride behind it.
Who writes all of your lyrics?
I write them to match the mood of the music.
You opened up for Nonpoint at Birdy’s Bar & Grill. How was that show? They are a pretty big deal!
Yeah, it was a pretty big moment for The Holland Account! It was a great show and the guys in Nonpoint were a lot of fun to hang out with. We hope they keep us in mind the next time they stop through Indy… though we wouldn’t complain if they want to take us out with them. (Laughs.)
You have a video on YouTube that has over 16,000 views. That is pretty radical. How does that feel?
Honestly, we are still surprised by it! March of the Lost was shot during two very hot days in early July last year and released in October… once it was posted, it took off. It has been posted on countless blogs and such. We are just glad people like it. We have to thank not only the fans that participated in the shoot, but also the fans that keep viewing and sharing it. We are currently in the planning stages on a new music video for our single Rider. We’ll keep you posted on the release.
Speaking of YouTube, how has the Internet changed the way you promote yourself as a band?
That is a deep question… The best way I can describe it; it is a race… A race to get as much exposure from every website, blog, tweet, Internet radio station, and video page a band can get access to. The music industry has million dollar budgets, radio stations, promotion teams, lawyers, advertising teams, sponsors, TV/video game/movie/commercial placements… we have the Internet. Every once in a while it allows us to get access to those elements that we wouldn’t normally have access to. The best part of it is the direct fan interaction and owning all of your copy write and publishing. The trick is being smart about it. If you take it seriously and you really pay attention to what is going on, sometimes you are actually able to tap into a trend or feeling that people agree with and the fans share it. They help spread the word and our music. For that, we are eternally grateful. For the rest, we buy Internet and radio advertising to help get the word out about big shows and new songs. Facebook has made it hard to reach new fans. We do our best to avoid spamming and annoying fans and friends. We just try to keep them engaged and be a part of their lives. Not going to lie… it gets tough. There is so much music out there and so many artists vying for attention that it is hard for us not to get lost in the crowd. The best we can do is try, and try we do!
Where can I get some Roaring Lion Energy Drink?
There are a number of venues around town that carry Roaring Lion. If you can’t find it, I’m sure we have a few cases stashed. (Laughs.) Thanks for the continued support, Roaring Lion.
How did you react when you heard your music on the radio for the first time?
I was grinning from ear to ear! There is nothing quite like hearing your own words and something you helped work on being played for your hometown. It might not seem like much to others, “So? Your song was played on X103… Where is your record deal? Where are the million dollars and hot chicks?? Well, at least for me, it isn’t about all that. At the end of the day, it comes down to the art. I can’t speak for the boys on this, but in my heart I feel that I have something to say and I try to express it through The Holland Account music. We are just happy people listen and seem to identify with it. The fact that X103 takes the requests from time to time and plays us is an absolute honor! We hope they keep us in mind for other opportunities in the future.
What would you be doing if you were not performing?
(Laughs.) I don’t ever want to answer that one! But, since we are enjoying the hypothetical, I’m pretty sure I would be writing.
To help promote six bands for six bucks, I invited you to be on Indy Style with me to promote the show. Was that your first time on TV? Were you nervous?
As The Holland Account, yes. I mean, I had performed on TV a few times while I was in school… choir, musicals, opera, etc. It is a whole different experience when it is an original piece and in a completely different atmosphere. The lights and sounds of a studio are a long way from the smoke and beer of the Indy bars. And acoustic? It was such an interesting context in which to put our music… I guess it hadn’t crossed our minds to play it that way, but once we started rehearsing it… wow! There was a beauty to the simplicity that we hadn’t expected.
You guys are all over the social networks. From Facebook to Twitter, last.fm and beyond… who runs all of those social accounts?
Well, at last count, we have about 17 separate pages we manage. Dan and I run the Facebook, Twitter, the website, YouTube, SounCcloud, ReverbNation, and MySpace (yes, we still have one of them…) in alternating shifts. The others are all linked in some way to those primary sites, so everything stays pretty up to date. The name of this game is work smarter AND harder. If we don’t, who will? We survive by our sweat.
Where can I get a download card?
Anytime you see one of us out, we’ll have one ready for you. You can also get our music on iTunes, CD Baby, Amazon… anywhere you like to buy or illegally download your music. We also frequently give away freebies on our Twitter. Just follow @thollandaccount and enjoy!
Do you guys ever get out of the Midwest?
I WISH! We would love to tour and play all over the world. It all comes down the to the mighty dollar. It is hard to mount a tour when a man has to work a 9-5. But, until that beautiful time comes when we are free to roam the cities in search of new ears to fill with our tones, we will gladly ROCK THE BEST with what we’ve got. We have great, honest, and loyal fans that time and time again show us why we perform here in the first place. And when we can branch out beyond, we hope that they all come with us!
Brad Real has just been blowing up in the Circle City. You recently collaborated with him on a track. What was it like mixing rap and rock?
It was a lot of fun! Brad was great to work with and the track Nick J put together was solid. We just added some color, some grime, and a verse to Independent Rockstars to give it the tone and feel Brad wanted. I think it really speaks to the lengths we all, everyone in the local music scene, are willing to go in order for our voices and music to be heard. One of the biggest challenges for us was just getting used to the simplicity of the structure of hip-hop. Anyone that has heard our music knows that The Holland Account tends to work in very dense chord layering and syncopated rhythms. Hip-hop calls for more attention to rhythmic and tonal accents and accuracy. It’s all about the groove. Once we got the hang of that, we had a lot of fun with it. I would recommend a cross genre collaboration to any other musicians out there… you get a chance to try something new and it gives you better perspective in your own genre. We have a killer time playing it live with Brad.
The band is getting a lot of press lately. Do you go out there looking for that, or does it just come to you?
It is actually a little of both. Some interviews we do submit for and some just drop into our email. When it comes to submissions, we try to reach out to people and media outlets that might not ever have a reason to seek us out. We try to take on a, “How will they ever know about us if we never let them know?” point of view on the whole thing. When we get approached for press, we are as open as a book for them to get to know us. Our music is a reflection of who we are as people and where we are in our lives. We love for our fans and future fans to know who we are and where we would like to be.
What’s the biggest crowd you have ever played for? The smallest?
The biggest one at this point has been the Nonpoint bill, I think. We played for over 300 that night. The smallest… I am pretty sure there were a few where we played for members from other bands. But, that happens. Can’t really be mad when you are playing music you love.
There are a lot of places to play here in Indy. Do you guys have a favorite venue?
I wouldn’t say we have a favorite. We are just glad they let us play instead of cranking the club music or cover bands. (No offense to those who enjoy those things.)
What’s the best concert you have ever been to?
One of my personal favorites had to be Muse last year. MAN! What I would do with a live show budget! (Laughs.)
You guys make a lot of noise… where do you practice?
(Whispering.) An undisclosed location where we can make as much noise as we need.
I LOVE the video for March of the Lost. Where was that shot?
It was shot at an abandoned trailer scrap yard on the south side of Indy. The site for the shoot took a few days to clean out, mow, and such. The trailer we shot in was SWARMING with wasps. Talk about dedication to your art…
Who came up with that idea? It’s creepy and VERY professional. Did I mention I love the video?
Mike Charizopoulos directed and shot it through his company Digital Rabbit in July last year. He has done a few others for some other local artists. The website has more of his work.
I bet it gets hot up there… what are you drinking on stage?
I usually stick to water. I’ve never been a fan of how drinking when I perform makes me feel, so I might have a beer on stage with me to toast with the fans, but that is about it. My job is to entertain them and make sure they are having a good time. I don’t want anything getting in the way of that.
You guys have been in Battle of Birdy’s before. What is that experience like for a band? Does winning an event like that really change much on a local scene?
Wow… a loaded question! We’ve played them before… This is just my feeling… I’m not a big fan. The rest of the guys might completely disagree, and I do not speak for them. No matter what battle it is or the best intentions they have with it, I feel that they divide the scene. I think the efforts used to promote those battles would be better served by bringing in larger acts and having locals open for them. Better shows with bigger names means better shows for local fans to be more inclined to attend. I don’t knock anyone for liking them or venues using them to boost attendance. Just not my thing. Surviving and being respected in the local music scene is a battle in and of itself and I would much rather win that one.
I see some tattoos there… who has the most tattoos?
I don’t have any, myself… I think Gumby might have the most. My favorite one of his has to be the “fish tank”. Pretty sure if you ask nicely, he’ll show you. Dan and Brandon (Morgan) have them, also.
Do you guys have jobs outside of music?
Yes we do! It is the only way we could do what we love.
Who are some of your favorite bands? What is on your iPod right now?
I believe that as a band, we all have some Karnivool on our iPods. They are an Australian act. Aside from that, I have been dipping into a bit of everything from Harry Connick, Jr, Frank Sinatra, and Marvin Gaye to Yelawolf, Living Colour, Mastodon, and Queen. There really is no limit to what could end up on my iPod. I’m pretty sure there are a number of things on there that I don’t really like just so I can study them. Much of that is because I have always approached music as an academic.
What’s the most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to you on stage?
Well aside from the occasional forgetting the other band names on a show bill, I had a crazy cramp in my calf during one show. I almost had to stop in the middle of a song, but I ended up just finishing the set behind the mic stand and using it as a crutch. Stuff like that happens.
What’s next for The Holland Account? What do you guys have in store for 2012?
Bigger and brighter! So far this year, we have released or helped release two brand new songs, played a few big shows, and started planning the rest of our new recordings and music videos. Not too bad for a bunch of guys that make a little noise from time to time. The best I can tell you is we are going to do all we can to bring the fans the best art we have to offer.
When it’s all said and done, what do you want to be remembered for? What is The Holland Account Legacy?
It might seem very human and basic, and my band mates might not agree, but I just want to be remembered. I want to know that lyrics I wrote, a melody I sang, or a song I helped create affected someone. The Holland Account Legacy hasn’t been established yet and I feel that is the best part about it. We create it every day and I hope that continues for a long time to come.
Thank you guys so much for doing this. In all of the interviews I do, I always give the artist the last word. Go.
We want to thank our family and friends for allowing us to annoy them with our passionate ambition for reaching our musical goals. We want to thank our fans for their dedicated support and allowing us the freedom to explore our sound and continue our evolution as performers. We want to also thank the local and regional venues that support live original music and allow us to grace their stage. To all of the readers, we hope that you take the time to explore and support your local music scenes and invest in their growth. If you happen to like our body of work, that is icing on the cake! We are The Holland Account and if we are given an inch, we always run the mile. Hope to see you all out at a show!