Arts & culture,

Sharing moments with Hollow Coves

Samantha Morris | March 20, 2020

When a Gold Coast duo racks up more than 200 million streams for their debut EP, you know they’re doing something right.

Ryan Henderson and Matt Cairns are together known as Hollow Coves. A Gold Coast duo reaching huge audiences here and abroad. And now with a full-length album under their belt, that audience continues to grow day-by-day.

When we reach the pair for this story last month, they were living in and out of a tour van with five other people touring the USA.

“It’s certainly not as glamorous as people think it is,” Ryan said about touring life. “It’s hard work. Lots of driving, long days, late nights, and a constant struggle to find healthy food on the road (and just to stay healthy in general). We’ve definitely learned a few lessons though. This is our fourth time touring in the USA now and we are definitely learning how to do it more sustainably.”

“There are definitely some perks to it as well though. We get to see so many beautiful places and experience different cultures. We don’t get very long in each place but we always try to make the most of our time there.”

There’s no question fame has taken Matt and Ryan by surprise. Matt is a qualified carpenter and Ryan has a degree in civil engineering.

“It’s honestly been quite surreal. We never expected any of this,” Ryan says.


Hollow Coves live at BIGSOUND


They wrote a few songs together and ended up recording them in a mate’s garage. They uploaded the tracks to Soundcloud and the response they got was “unexpected” and a “pleasant surprise”.

“We both ended up deciding to put a hold on our previous career paths to see if we could make something of this music thing. It was slow at the start. We were both working part time at Bunnings for a while. However, we just kept at it. We kept returning to each city and every time the crowds kept getting bigger. Now it is starting to feel like things are connecting and it’s a really rewarding feeling,” Ryan says.

“We are constantly blown away by the reactions we have been getting from the crowds overseas.”

“We’ll be playing somewhere on the complete other side of the world and the whole crowd will be singing our lyrics with us. That is such a surreal feeling.”

And now that both band members live on the Gold Coast (Palm Beach to be exact), they’re proudly flying the #creativegold flag.

“We have such a great community of friends there,” Ryan says.

“Being surrounded by good people is something that we both value a lot. Plus, there’s just something about living by the beach that is good for the soul.”

Matt says Gold Coast is an inspiring place to live but that the beach is something he always misses when on tour.

“I’m keen to get some waves again,” he says.

“I feel like the laid back vibe and friendly community on the Gold Coast have such a positive effect on people there.”

“The creative scene is definitely growing stronger as well. The music scene is also slowly growing which is amazing to see and be part of.”

Hollow Coves at Woodford (photo credit: Jude Kalman)

Hollow Coves – Moments

Hollow Coves at Woodford (photo credit: Jude Kalman)

In 2018 Hollow Coves won Breakout Artist of the Year as well as Song of the Year at the Gold Coast Music Awards. They were touring at the time and had to make their acceptance speech by video. Matt says they were “stoked” to receive those awards.

“We still can’t believe that so many people are listening to our music so it felt really special to receive this recognition in the city where we live,” he says, adding that awards programs like this help to build “awareness and recognition for artists that might not be on people’s radar yet.”

“There’s just so much great music coming out of Australia at the moment. It’s easy to get lost amongst it all. Especially if people are only taking note of artists who are being played on Triple J.”

“The Gold Coast Music Awards can definitely help to get you recognised by more of the Australian music industry,” Matt says.

As with many touring musicians, shows are currently in hiatus with the duo originally set to play a bunch of festivals and headline shows here in Australia March, a headline tour of Europe in April and a Brazillian show scheduled in Sao Paulo for July.

But their music continues to connect with fans irrespective.

“After our EP came out, we got a lot of messages from people saying that our music helped them through tough or stressful times,” recalled Matt.

“I think that definitely motivated us when we were working on [latest full-length album] Moments. We wanted to continue to write songs that could help to shine light and bring a bit of peace into people’s lives.”

“We hope our music can at least have some sort of positive impact,” the men agree. “If people walk away with a changed perspective, inspired, motivated, or just a little bit more stoked with life, then we would consider that a success.”

Follow Hollow Coves on Spotify.