Interview With Hot Hot Heat
by Tammy Adin

Pushing 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 Hawley (Drums).

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?

We originally 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 times.

Punk 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.

Punk 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.

Punk 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.

Punk 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.

Punk 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.

Punk 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.

Punk 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 being marketed?

We recently did these things which are called callback tones with Warner Brothers.  When you call someone's cell phone, instead of hearing it ring, you can hear our music. 

Punk 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.

Punk 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.

Punk 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

Punk 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 out there?

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. 

Punk 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.

Punk 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 feel welcome.

Punk 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. 

Punk 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.

Punk 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.

Punk Globe:  Have you ever performed in the nude?

I’ve never performed in the nude.  It’s never really occurred to me.

Punk Globe:  Would you?

Probably not.

Punk 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.

Punk 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.

Punk 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!





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