CMW 2010: Interview – Hot Hot Heat

Although Mother Nature decided to torture Toronto with depressing weather, spirits were still high to see bands like Hot Hot Heat perform. We got the opportunity to interview singer Steve Bays and find out what the group’s been up to and what they have planned to assist their upcoming release.

© Jeff Parsons

It sort of seems as if the band has been away from Canada’s music scene for a bit. What have you guys been up to in the past year or two?

I built a studio. Basically we found an old haunted office building with a few spare rooms and we’re able to create a studio there. For a year I learned engineering and even though I had worked on the recording process of our past albums and demos, I wanted to be a part of the whole thing.

As a group, the guys and I have just been hanging out and making music. We took a leap of faith and decided to work on a new album and not let anyone hear the tunes until the entire record was done.
Do you hope to reintroduce yourself to listeners during Canadian Music Week 2010?

Definitely. We’re more excited to play live as we’ve just kind of had jam sessions before. Musically, I’d say we’re pretty limber so we hope to get our confidence back so we can have more fun on stage.
Since the show is scheduled to be a huge event, the Horseshoe Tavern should be able to rekindle that confidence.

Toronto gigs have always been a “show me what you got” kind of thing, but we always seem to rise to the occasion when we’re presented with a challenge. The venue is just a great place for a musician to play. Sometimes when you’re at small punk rock club you can’t hear certain notes but when you’re at The Horseshoe you can hear every single note.

With a new record on its way, you guys recently signed to Dine Alone Records here in Canada. What influenced the decision to choose them as your label?

We wanted to leave our previous label because they were moving in a new direction and so were we. Instead of signing immediately with another label, we decided to finish our album. We then sent it to Dine Alone Records and they called us after the first listen.

Plus, I had partied with the owner of Dine Alone Records one night a few years ago and remembered thinking that if we ever decided to change labels, he would be the best person to work with.
With a plan to move in a new direction, does that mean fans can expect a new sound on your upcoming fourth LP?

Oh yeah! It’s definitely more rockin’ as it’s a pretty fun record. It’s also extremely melodic and heavy too.
Did you do anything different when it comes to songwriting and recording this time around?

We did everything differently. We recorded every song in a unique way as we recorded songs in hallways, bathrooms and stairwells. There was a lot of weird experimentation with the drums and reamping where we would put keyboards through amplifiers and put vocals through guitar amplifiers. Pretty much we tried every idea possible as we’re not recording professionals and we don’t know what’s right or wrong when it comes to that.

Why did you choose the title Future Breeds?

A lot of the album is about the neighborhood where we having been making music for years. The east side of Vancouver has had a lot of influence on us. But it’s just about people breeding and making weird kids and those kids breeding again and making even weirder kids.

Vancouver has a big influence on the vibe of the record. While with our former label, we would always work on bits and pieces of an album all over Hollywood and I always hated the vibe there. We did some great stuff there but I just wanted to make music in a city where all of our friends were.
With a new record comes a new tour, have you guys finalized any touring details yet? Who do you hope to have support you?

We have a bunch of touring coming up. We’re doing a residency at the Public Assembly Hall in Brooklyn for a month in May and then we’re doing a residency in Los Angeles as well in June. Then definitely a Canadian tour in the fall.

We hope to do a lot more all-ages shows too as the younger kids get the short end of the stick sometimes and I want to change that. The all-ages crowd really give a shit about music.
What kind of impression do you hope to leave on fans during CMW?

We just want to be a heavy rockin’ band. Everybody’s making electronic music and it feels like the 90s’. As a music fan, I’m craving more rock bands so we just hope to add to what’s missing right now.

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