Signing Story: Hollis Brown--Alive Signs NY Band


Date Signed: Dec. 29, 2012
Label: Alive Records
Type of Music: Americana / Alt-Rock
Band Members: Mike Montali, guitar, vocals; Jon Bonilla, lead guitar, vocals; Dillon DeVito, bass; Mike Graves, drums.
Management: Albert Barabas
Booking: Jon Bell / New Frontier Touring, 615-321-6152
Legal: John Rybicki
Publicity: Sarah Avrin / Girlie Action Media, [email protected]
Web: http://hollisbrown.com
A&R: Patrick Boissel

The sounds of rough and tumble blues, southern rock, traditional country, vintage Neil Young and John Fogerty are not musical touchstones necessarily associated with New York City. But thatis, indeed, where hometown boys Hollis Brown originate from. Their journey to getting signed with Burbank, CA-based Alive Records was, much like their music, a very natural and organic one. “We recorded a full album independently in Nashville with producer Adam Landry,” says guitarist-vocalist Montali. “We released a few songs from that session and put out an EP in April/May of 2012. One of Alive’s bands, the Buffalo Killers, and us share the same booking agent. They recommended we send the label our record and they were very receptive.”

On the strength of that EP, Hollis Brown toured extensively and received strong press on it. That four-song release led to Alive picking up and issuing their current album Ride on the Train. Staying in vogue with the classic and rustic style of the music, the band chose to eschew the digital realm in favor of going analog tape, with minimal overdubs.

“We still own all our songs and they were very lenient with us keeping

the rights to our music.”

“We’ve done the whole Pro Tools thing and made everything neat and nice,” explains Montali. “But I don’t really think it fits our band sound and how we are. We have more of a direct-to-tape kinda sound. It’s rock & roll, you know!”

With songs like the soulful and empathic “Cold City” and the heartfelt “Gypsy Black Cat” you sense the aesthetic of Hollis Brown is all about community and dealing with others on an honest and very open level. And, apparently, that is the kind of relationship they have with the folks at Alive. “We still own all our songs and they were very lenient with us keeping the rights to our music,” says lead guitarist Bonilla. “They wanted us to release the album the way we did it,” continues Montali.

“We felt really comfortable with them and they encouraged us to be the artists that we are. They’re gonna promote the record properly and are established at getting bands on the radar. It’s the right opportunity at this time and it’s been great so far. I think people that like a lot of the roster bands on Alive would like us also.”

—Eric A. Harabadian