Emmalee Watts, left, and Rebecca Wosk are Hollow Twin. (photo by Alejandra Samaniego)
“We are constantly writing and working on new material. It’s a never-ending process for us and we love it,” Rebecca Wosk told the Independent about her musical partnership with Emmalee Watts.
“We started working together in 2011,” said Wosk, “a couple months after we met. We formed Chatterton Eve, which was the name of our band, in 2013 before we changed [the name] because no one could pronounce it. We released one EP as Chatterton Eve and three EPs, plus a single, as Hollow Twin.”
As Hollow Twin, the pair has released the EPs Noctuary (2014), Keepers (2015) and The River Saw Everything (2018), as well as the single “Bound By Blood” (2016).
Of the band’s names, Wosk explained, “Hollow is a synonym of ‘valley.’ Both Emmalee and I have deeply embedded roots in the Fraser Valley – we want to honour that wherever we are. Twin is because we feel we were twins in a past life and have been reconnected in this life. Our bond is very strong.
“Chatterton is one of Emmalee’s middle names, Eve is mine. We changed it in 2015 to Hollow Twin.”
The band’s output is more impressive when considering that Wosk and Watts have also been going to school and working.
“We met at Capilano University in 2011,” said Wosk. “We both graduated with diplomas in arts and entertainment management in 2013, and went on to work behind the scenes in the music industry. We also continued our education (we are very in sync) separately, but again, graduated at the same time, both earning diplomas in business this year. I would like to get my undergraduate degree and possibly study law, as well.”
Wosk has had a love for the arts ever since she can remember. “I always wanted to be an actress,” she said, “but I was painfully shy so, whenever I went on auditions, I would completely freeze. I turned to poetry for solace, which turned into song writing. I wrote my first song when I was 11. I still have my lyric journal from back then – they are all terrible!
“I grew up going to performing arts camps, acting classes, and I took singing lessons. This was all before I turned 14. At that point, I moved to Chilliwack. I didn’t know I would be a musician, but I’ve found singing and writing have come naturally to me. I always wanted to do something in the arts. Everything has felt very serendipitous.”
Wosk attended Vancouver Talmud Torah, and went to Point Grey and then Chilliwack Senior Secondary for high school.
For her part, “Emmalee is a Royal Conservatory-trained pianist,” said Wosk. “Her primary instrument is the bass, which also includes upright. Emmalee attended Langley Fine Arts School, which really nurtured her musical talents. Her father is a wonderful musician and had her growing up completely surrounded by music.”
Wosk described her and Watts’ songwriting process as “very balanced and collaborative.”
“We send each other ideas constantly over our phones and get together several times a week to practise or work on new material,” she said. “We let the song naturally progress. I’m constantly writing lyrics and coming up with melodies, while Emmalee is playing guitar or piano. We combine our strengths equally.
“We hire session musicians to play drums, bass and keys live. Emmalee plays bass, guitar and keys during our recording sessions.
“We used to be a five-piece band, with three other permanent members, but we found there were a lot of creative differences in play and we needed to be true to the vision of our music. A producer we worked with in 2015 suggested we become a duo and hire players when we need them. It’s made things a lot more efficient.”
While the musical influences listed on Hollow Twin’s website include Fleetwood Mac, Led Zeppelin and Heart, it describes Hollow Twin as “dark folk rock.” A press release says their songs are about “grieving, the dualities of life, and making the most of your time on earth.”
“We’ve gone through a lot in our lives so far, good and bad,” explained Wosk. “We have chosen to embrace the things that have shaped our character, even if it has caused pain or heartache – that usually creates the best inspiration. I lost my stepfather to cancer last year, I have been battling depression and severe anxiety since I was 10 years old. The darkness comes from those places – worries, insecurities, loss, life.
“There is a catharsis in our process. It’s truly like free therapy. It’s very vulnerable, we are really baring our souls with whoever chooses to listen to what we create. We don’t want to make anyone sad or depressed, we want people to feel something. Our music ranges from more upbeat to slower, darker songs, but they all have depth in their meanings. We hope that meaning can reach into our listener’s soul and connect with them, so they know they aren’t alone.”
About the role, if any, that Judaism, Jewish culture or Jewish community plays in her life, Wosk said, “I find comfort in knowing I belong to such a warm and welcoming tribe. For all my life, I have seen the support and love that surrounds our community, seeing everyone come together for events, and always being there for whatever may be needed…. I feel we have an unspoken, yet palpable bond and loyalty to each other as Jewish people.
“I myself am not religious,” she said. “I consider myself spiritual. I come from a line of strong Jewish men and women who valued their culture and contributed to the community. I carry the values they – and what I’ve witnessed from our community at large – have carried: compassion, education, family, openness, honesty and kindness.”
Hollow Twin will be recording demos at the beginning of next month, so they can apply for some funding. “If we can secure our funding,” said Wosk, “we will be recording a full-length album, touring and releasing a music video.” Regardless, the band will be releasing a new track in October of this year.
To see Hollow Twin play live, head to Guilt & Co. the night of July 29. To keep apprised of other show dates and news, visit hollowtwin.com or follow the band on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. Their music is available online via iTunes/Apple Music, Bandcamp and can be streamed on Spotify and Soundcloud.