In the Dec. 17 edition of Boise Weekly, we made a list of some of our favorite 2014 local album releases. Though they were in no particular order, intrepid music writer Ben Schultz may have subconsciously put Hollow Wood’s Seasons EP at the top. The band of young musicians is quite accomplished considering it hasn’t been on the scene long and has earned accolades, a following and respect from its peers and others in the music biz.
Hollow Wood’s smart, layered indie-pop is expressed equally well in live performances and the studio, and the band makes intelligent choices about who is in its inner circle, too.
During the two decades Joe Conley Golden and Tom Willmorth performed as the Fool Squad, they often made Idaho Shakespeare Festival's Green Shows as much worth the price of admission as the main attraction. They seldom showed a serious side but there was never any doubt they had the chops, which are on full display in a new music video for local band Hollow Wood, posted Dec. 18. The song "Oh My God," off the band's recently released Seasons EP, is an anthemic track that invokes the layered indie-pop jubilance of The Polyphonic Spree but plumbs some emotional depths: "We have a hundred years / filled with pain and fear / open the door and 'Oh my god,' I scream."
With homages to The Odd Couple, Grumpy Old Men and even The 'Burbs, the video opens with an angry voiceover followed by Golden and Willmorth standing nose-to-nose in what is clearly the preface to some kind of confrontation. In fewer than four minutes, they go from arguing to retaliation to being forced to confront a dark secret. It's a brilliant bit of filmmaking that came about as a result of both talent and serendipity.
"I pitched a few ideas. [The neighbors] idea was the last one," said Ron Torres, who directed the video.
Torres had built a reputation as a producer (he worked with filmmaker Tyler T. Williams on music videos for Youth Lagoon) but wanted to direct. More than that, Torres had been a fan of Hollow Wood's music and wanted to direct something for the band.
"I immediately fell in love with their sound," Torres said, and he immediately started thinking about visuals to go with the music. He has a "good working relationship" with Mark Doubleday, Hollow Wood's manager. "When you get to that conversation with the band about a music video, I'd like to have my name thrown in," he told Doubleday.
Torres also had a relationship with Golden, who was one of his professors at the College of Idaho. When Torres heard the Fool Squad was retiring from ISF, he felt compelled to ask Golden and Willmorth to star in the video.
"I studied acting and directed under Joe," Torres said. "I grew up on the Fool Squad. They are very much my performance role models. ... This is going to sound strange, but I thought it would be great to give them a kind of epilogue, a swan song together in a way people wouldn't expect."