El Hollín perfects the sound of bedrooms and dreams with their newest album, Una Tuesday. Many people assume a lot of independent musicians work in their home studios tirelessly recording their own pocket symphonies. El Hollín takes this mystique and has developed it since their conception in 2010.
“I had just graduated college studying printmaking and art history at the time,” said founder Dena Zilber. “I was falling in love with [Athens] and with a person I had met there. Songs started to spill out of me and I would record them on my computer with a friend’s guitar. When I finally moved, my friends encouraged me to start a band with those songs.”
Those songs were independently released in November as a collection of demos. These were followed in the subsequent year with the band’s debut album, Hurry Up Already Poppy. Some of the songs recorded by Zilber as demos ended up fully fleshed out.
From the beginning, friends and critics alike grab onto the unique sound of the band, describing it with varying degrees of poetry.
“The music draws the ears in and sets the listener in that place of reflection,” said Athens Flagpole reporter Gordon Lamb. “Once there, a body can start to hear the lyrics closer; the effect is that of a blanket being pulled up to one’s chin.”
The band slowly grew and had a revolving lineup. Even between previous album Holey Smokes and the newest release, the original drummer left and an entirely revamped cast helped record Una Tuesday.
For current live shows, none of those involved in the studio sessions join onstage performances.
“Our live shows feature Hugh Schlesinger on drums, Emileigh Ireland on Bass, Lydia Brambila on violin and myself on guitar and vocals,” said Zilber.
Touring proves to be difficult due to schedule conflicts, but Zilber remains hopeful as she relocates in a few months, touring will become more of a possibility.
What made Una Tuesday most different from the previous albums is where it was recorded, moving from bedrooms to an actual studio.
“[It] was actually recorded in a professional studio,” said Zilber. “I think my songwriting style strikes a mood of intimacy that still makes it feel like a bedroom recording regardless of whether that’s true.”
Over the years, the best way of maintaining the band hones in on countless hours of practice worked into a busy schedule.
“Finding people to play with who are on the same page, have similar visions and goals [is very important],” said Zilber. “Staying inspired is key. It’s definitely hard to do those things all by yourself, but you can find ways to do these things yourself if you are passionate about making it happen. Just start slow and take baby-steps.”
Zilber has words for students, to not take the time they have for granted. When she was in high school she had the opportunity for guitar lessons at a local music shop but wasn’t able to use them, to what she describes, for all their potential.
“I was going through a lot of hard times with my home life though, and dealing with depression on top of that,” said Zilber. “This made it really hard for me to stay focused. I always wish I could go back in time and have those lessons now, because I really did take them for granted and didn’t utilize them to their full potential.”
She says many young people find it hard to realize how things they become interested in and pick up as they grow will become their passions.
“Sometimes when you’re young it’s hard to see how the things you learn can be useful or applicable to your future and your desires. I know I had a really hard time looking outside of the present, and what everything meant right now when I was a teenager. I certainly miss being a teenager where taking music lessons are either funded by your school or your parents or both, and finding the time or energy isn’t much of an issue outside of homework- you just have to have the motivation.”
Their discography can be browsed online here where cassettes and CD’s are available of Una Tuesday.