At the ripe old age of 19, Ryan Higgins is getting back to his roots with his new band; his loud, gleefully noisy roots, along with several of his old band mates from his very first band.
The Bangor-based indie-punk four-piece Captain Hollow is made up of guitarist-vocalist Higgins, fellow guitarist-vocalist Jakob Battick, bass player Kyle Mallory and drummer Pat Cunningham. All but Mallory were in the Bangor High School-based band 1800s Sea Monster — a high-energy garage band with theatrical tendencies including the liberal use of stuffed animals, cardboard cutouts and confetti.
“It’s still kind of weird how well we work together, after getting out of high school and doing other stuff,” said Higgins. “We just get along. We have fun. We’re all really, really good friends.”
In the four years since that band broke up, Higgins, Battick and Cunningham have been in more than six different bands both in Bangor and in Portland. They range from Battick’s psychedelic indie folk projects Mt. Moon and Jakob Battick & Friends, to Higgins and Cunningham’s dreamy, acoustic duo In Houses In Trees, as well as Good Kids Sprouting Horns, which Higgins is in with Anthony Bitetti and Jessamy Luthin. Captain Hollow takes them back to the beginning, in some ways — though with lots more amassed skill.
“Everyone was playing acoustic guitars, and really, that’s never been what’s interested me,” said Higgins. “I wanted to play in a louder band, and eventually we all came around to it. I like acoustic guitars, sure, but this is a lot more where I want to be, in terms of music. That’s totally more my style.”
Higgins started the band in early 2010, but didn’t release an album until March 2011, with a self-titled EP that’s still available for download at their Bandcamp page. Captain Hollow plays a raucous, sometimes explosive brand of hard-edged indie rock in the vein of Fugazi, Cursive and Superchunk — miles away from the shimmery, pretty indie folk of In Houses In Trees. The band was, at first, just Higgins, Cunningham and Mallory; Battick signed on over this past summer.
“We played a house show earlier this year in Brunswick that was just completely insane. People were totally packed into this tiny upstairs bedroom,” said Higgins. “Jakob came up to us afterwards and said it was one of the best shows he’d been to in forever, and he wanted to join the band. It was kind of a missing link moment for us. He an amazing musician. He thinks of things no one else would.”
A single, “Hour of Need,” featuring the new lineup was released in August. For the rest of the year, the band intends to hunker down in the studio with Orono producer Anthony Bitetti to record its debut full-length, due out in February 2012. For more information, visit http://www.facebook.com/captainhollow.