the limits has been the musical credo for Hot Hot Heat from the very
beginning. It was in the late 90's in the sleepy suburbs of Victoria, BC
that vocalist and keyboardist Steve Bays first joined forces with drummer
Paul Hawley and bassist Dustin Hawthorne to form the creative core of Hot
Hot Heat. The group released a string of independently produced singles,
EP's and their first full length album, the aggro-epic Scenes One Through
Thirteen even as they began playing extensively, both locally and up and
down the west coast. After pumping out another EP, Knock Knock Knock in
the spring of 2002, they returned to the studio almost immediately with
producer Jack Endino of Nirvana fame to begin work on a full-length album.
Cut in six days, Make Up The Breakdown and its hit singles "Bandages,"
"Talk To Me, Dance With Me" and "No, Not Now" earned the band critical
raves and worldwide attention. It's a following sure to grow with
Elevator. Featuring such catchy tunes as "Middle Of Nowhere," "Jingle
Jangle," "Island Of The Honest Man" and the title track, Elevator is a
fast ride to the top ranks of rock and roll from a band that has learned
exactly how to push our buttons. Current Members: Luke Paquin
(Guitar), Dustin Hawthorne (Bass), Steve Bays (Vocals, Keyboards), Paul
I recently caught up with Hot
Hot Heat drummer Paul Hawley, who was kind enough to answer a few
questions for Punk Globe.
Punk Globe: Paul, can you give me a brief history of the band?
formed in 1999. Steve was our keyboard player and we had a different
singer. Then the singer left and Steve took over the vocals and we
replaced our guitar player. We released records on Subpop, and last
year we did Elevator. In the meantime, we’ve toured the world a few
Globe: How did you come up with the name of the band?
It kinda just popped into my head. I liked the way it
looked when we wrote it down. It seemed to describe what we were doing.
Globe: According to your Myspace page, your influences are very old
school and new wave. Is that true and do you find your influences have
changed over the years?
One of the great things about us is that we never let our
influences affect our music. We kind of got pigeonholed into the new wave
thing, but we’re also listening to the classic stuff from the 60’s. It’s
tough because it’s music we listen to but it doesn't necessarily represent
what we are.
Globe: Who writes your music?
We all have a hand in it. Usually a song will come to
Steve or myself and lately our guitar player Luke has been writing too,
which is good. A song will come partly fleshed out and the band will add
parts and work it
out. Steve writes the lyrics but the music is very collective. The other
day we wrote a song and it was completely on the spot.
Globe: Your new CD has been out since April. How are sales and what
kind of airplay are you getting?
I don’t know about the sales, it’s not quite as much as the
other one yet. Last I heard Middle of Nowhere went to #11.
Globe: I really like your video for Middle of Nowhere. Have
you found it difficult to break into the MTV arena?
Actually, we did a show in L.A. the day before yesterday
that is not for sure on MTV yet, but hopefully it will be on in the next
month or two...but I think every band has a hard time breaking into MTV.
Do they even play music anymore? MTV2 has accepted us and played us but I
don’t even know if they even play Kanye West on MTV1.
Globe: One of my favorite songs on your new CD is Goodnight
Goodnight…what a great
breakup song. Was it influenced by a real breakup?
I can’t speak for any sort of response because they are not
my lyrics but I have heard Steve say that song
was influenced by one main person, with small parts of other people.
Globe: I was impressed to find four of your songs available as
ringtones on my cell phone. What other kind of fun ways is the band
We recently did these things which are called callback
with Warner Brothers. When you call someone's cell phone, instead of
hearing it ring, you can hear our music.
Globe: What do you do for fun outside of the band?
Regular stuff...when I’m not working or on tour, I write
songs of my own and hang out with my girlfriend and we try to spend a lot
of time together, go out with friends. Last week I went back home to hang
out for a few days. I like to drive, and I like to listen to music.
Globe: Is anyone involved in any other music projects?
We are all pretty committed to this band. I wouldn’t be
bummed if anybody wanted to branch out but we’re all pretty loyal to it.
I’ve been talking to some people about collaborating with us.
Globe: What is the girlfriend status of the band members?
Paul - has a girlfriend
Luke - has a girlfriend
Steve - has a girlfriend
Dustin - in limbo
Globe: Your Myspace page has an impressive amount of fans and a lot
of plays of your music. Has Myspace helped get your name and your music
Yes, definitely. Everyone I know is on Myspace. It’s kind
of become more important than real relationships in a way. It connects
people and keeps them informed.
Globe: You are from Canada and have toured a lot in the U.S. and
internationally. Have you noticed any differences between the audiences
you have performed for?
Definitely some places are more enthusiastic. In
Japan and in Turkey we had some weird responses…the kids go crazy there
after the songs but then everyone says hush and quiets down for the next
song. In America, there is never a quiet audience. The response has
been pretty similar though, people are psyched and dancing and having fun.
Globe: Any particular favorite shows that you have played?
We had a couple of really really good ones in Australia…
for some reason we do really well in Australia and I think it’s because we
get played on the radio a lot there. They are so excited and make you
Globe: I see you are touring with the Foo Fighters at the moment.
What other bands have you toured with, and who was your favorite?
We haven’t done a lot of opening tours. We opened for No
Doubt for one show, opened for The Killers – that was really cool.
We took out a band from Copehagen - The Blue Van.
Globe: Who would you most like to tour with?
Every band would like to do a tour with the Rolling Stones,
that would be fun. I think the Foo Fighters is pretty amazing, about as
big as it gets. I kind of like to take it as it comes. We did a show
with the White Stripes...I think they would be fun to tour with.
Globe: Could you share one of your wildest tour stories?
Do you know this place - Ibiza in Spain? It’s a
notorious party place…we played a show there last month and it was a
pretty debauched week. We were keeping insane hours and sleeping until
about ten at night. It was fun, a car got crashed – we totaled the
promoter's car. It was basically madness because everybody that goes
there knows what they are going into.
Globe: Have you ever performed in the nude?
I’ve never performed in the nude. It’s never really
occurred to me.
Globe: Would you?
Globe: Punk Globe's famous writer Lois Dolan wants me to ask you…
who is the most well endowed in the band?
Oh, I’d have to say myself.
Globe: What does the future hold for Hot Hot Heat?
More penis competitions. We’re just going to keep writing
– we have a week off so we are writing. Touring. Hopefully a
new record out by next fall.
Globe: Thanks so much for the time you’ve given us for this
interview. Any last comments for the readers?
We're looking forward to all our upcoming tour dates and
playing at the Blue Note in Columbia, MO. Hope to see you there!