The Journey and Rachel May breakdown 'Hollow'

The Journey and Rachel May dissect ‘Hollow’: their atmospheric house masterpiece

Dive into ‘Hollow’, the new single from The Journey and Rachel May.

Jacob and Tom from The Journey and guest Rachel May have been DJs for more years than they’d care to admit. As such, they find themselves playing quite a wide variety of music in their lengthier sets. They thrive on slower, percussion-based music and the new single, Hollow, is a result of deeper experimentation in this style.

Born of a collaboration between Tom Evans and vocalist Alverie while working on her music, it was a natural progression to move into the dance music space. Hollow, says Evans, “is quite simple in comparison to the rest of the records in our catalogue, so as well as being incredibly proud of the outcome, we really learnt a lot creatively during this process.” This teaming up has paid dividends as Hollow has been sitting in the number one position on the ARIA Club charts for five consecutive weeks.

Read on as Tom Evans takes you through the process of building Hollow.


“The vocal was recorded at Alverie’s home studio. She has a firm grip on what producers need when delivering a vocal, so this made the process incredibly easy to integrate into the existing project.

“We started out by first processing the vocals through the Slate Digital Virtual Mix Rack where we used the FG-116 compressor to tame the peaks and then using the FG-2A to contain the overall level. We then used the FG-N which is a copy of a Neve EQ to roll off the bottom and slightly brighten the top of the recording.

“For the effects, we used the Relab Developments LX480 and the Soundtoys EchoBoy Jr. to add reverb and delay to the vocal respectively, in order to give it some more character. If anyone is after a new reverb plugin, the LX480 is well worth the investment.

“We also used the Eiosis E2 Deesser to tame any pops and peaks in the recording and Sonalksis StereoTools to correct any phasing issues.”

Vocal Screen Shot
Vocal tracks in Arrangement View
Vocal - VMR copy
Slate Digital Virtual Mix Rack


Vocal - Echo Boy
Soundtoys EchoBoy Jr. Delay
Relab LX480 Reverb


Vocal - Eosis - E2Deesser
Eiosis E2 Deesser



“We were playing around with some chords in Operator and then we sent them over to Alverie and she recorded them on her baby grand piano. We used StereoTools on the audio recordings to correct any phasing issues.

“Once we found a few of the pieces of the piano recording we liked, we chopped them up and created some loops.”

Piano - Stereo Tools
Sonalksis StereoTools


“For the pads, we used Spectrasonics Omnisphere. We absolutely love this synth. To give it a bit of life and movement, we used Soundtoys Phase Mistress.

“For compression, we used the Slate Digital Virtual Mix Rack and within that, we used FG-401 compressor and the FG-N. Again, we used StereoTools to correct any phasing issues.”

Spectrasonics Omnisphere
Phase Mistress
Soundtoys Phase Mistress
Pads Compression
Slate Digital Virtual Mix Rack
Pads Chain
Pads Instrument Rack


“For the percussion, we used a variety of one-shots to make up our main groove. Coming from a drumming background, this element is extremely important to me. There is not a huge amount of variation throughout the track as the keys and vocal do most of the work, so it was important to create a very consistent pattern that would just hop along underneath.
“In processing this, we used the Virtual Mix Rack with the FG-Stress and the AirEQ Earth to roll off the bottom. We also used the stock Ableton Drum Buss which acts as a bit of tape compressor, gluing the whole thing together.”

“We also used the Kilohearts Transient Shaper to emphasise the initial hit of the drums.”

Percussion tracks
Percussion tracks in Arrangement View


“This was the last element that went into the record. Its inclusion was inspired by a record we had been playing by Matthew Decay called Heimreise. The impact his strings have on the record towards the end of the song is absolutely incredible and we wanted to see if it could have a similar impact on Hollow.

“We used Omnisphere for the sound. For the processing of the sound, we used the Slate Digital Virtual Mix Rack.”

String tracks in Arrangement View

Additional synth

“Towards the end of the writing process, we felt the record needed a little more energy so we threw in a sawtooth wave which we got from U-he DIVA. We used Soundtoys Little Micro Shift to add some width as DIVA is a monosynth. Then used Slate Digital VerbSuite Classic reverb to give it a bit of space.”

Additional synth tracks in Arrangement View

Listen to Hollow below, and listen to more from The Journey here.