Hot Hot Heat Exclusive Interview
Canadian indie hits Hot Hot Heat have emerged from a short hiatus with a fantastic new album "Happiness Limited", and a quirky new clip for their single "Harmonicas And Tamborines", featuring the kind of sets and facial expressions you haven't seen since the days of Solid Gold.
And carrying on the golden theme, they're about to give us some live performance gold too, tripping to Oz for the third time as a part of the volcanic V Festival.
MTV was stoked to chat to drummer Paul Hawley about his hot tips for the Festival; his idea of happiness; and the creation of that video clip.
MTV: So what's exciting you most about the V-Festival?
Paul: It'll be our third time in Oz; everyone's so nice and cool; it's such a great country. I think there's a lot of similarities between Australia and Canada. And then, for the V Festival, the line-up is really awesome. There's the Pumpkins; Jesus and Mary Chain... I'm excited that there will be fans that will hopefully feel like they can really appreciate the other bands. And, of course, 20,000 people in a field! That's a pretty amazing feeling.
MTV: It's true that there are some pretty hot acts performing with you who will be your personal favourite act to see?
Paul: Well I was a child of the 90s; I was a teenager then, so all that music has been influential. But I will be particularly following Modest Mouse; they emerged from near Seattle, and I've been following their arc since 1996. It will be great to see how far they've come.
MTV: What kind of mood do you think your music's going to bring to the crowd?
Paul: Hopefully we'll get them moving a little bit; singing a little bit. We don't want them to be throwing beers at us
MTV: We'll be too busy drinking them...
Paul: (Reconsiders) Well, if they do, they should be full beers! No but seriously, our aim has always been to get people moving. We started making dance music, that we hoped was interesting, melodic, fun and energetic.
MTV: It all sounds pretty happy. And in fact, you've just released a new album called "Happiness Ltd." What is happiness to you?
Paul: Oh man, I don't know. It probably involves creating; creation. From music, to food, to conversation. I've always got to have something new on the horizon. And it's always challenging to keep an idea going. That was the idea behind our album title, that happiness was limited. We didn't mean to sound gloomy and doomy about it. It's just that happiness takes work.
MTV: Do you have a favourite track on the album?
Paul: Probably "Conversation" is one of my favourites. I also love "Outta Heart". That was Steve (Bay - vocalist and keyboardist)'s baby, but if it was his baby, I was the nurse; I helped him raise the baby. It's slower; a little more emotional
MTV: But initiate us. What is "raising a baby" when it comes to writing a song?
Paul: I guess it is supporting a friend's idea. When Steve first wrote the song, I don't think he thought it could be anything. He needed someone to walk in and say "hey, that's great!" That's our job, you know; to support each other, and make each song the best it can be.
MTV: What do you guys enjoy most about working with each other?
Paul: The constant battle of one-up-man-ship! But we've known each other for so long; we make each other laugh. That question is like asking what you enjoy the most about your husband or your wife. It's a dynamic relationship. It's an ongoing work in progress.
MTV: I've read that you originally played keyboards, until you moved to drumming. Do you love what you do, or do you sometimes wish you were playing a different instrument?
Paul: I love drumming; it always came easily not easily; I should say naturally. But I still write a lot on the guitar and keyboard; it can add a cool dynamic. Overall, no matter what you're doing, you have to do your instruments and music justice.
MTV: I've also just seen your latest filmclip for "Harmonicas And Tamborines" it's a very tongue-in-cheek homage to 80s clips. How did you go about reproducing the atmosphere of those old music videos?
Paul: Whenever we do a video, we try and find the vibe; the visual representation of the heart of the song. If you were doing a heavy metal song, for example, it wouldn't go naturally with a cartoon bunny. So when we listened to that song, it wasn't too heavy or emotional, it suited. And when Steve and I wrote the treatment for that song, we were trying to make it insane. We would say "I want 40 cats!..."or whatever. We let ourselves go wild.
MTV: Was it complicated to realise those wild ideas?
Paul: No, it wasn't complicated for the band. It was complicated for the director though; he had to obtain a whole lot of old cameras that hadn't been made in 30 years or so! He was the one responsible for carrying through the ideas. It was much less complicated for us as a band.
MTV: You've worked with a lot of great producers on this latest album. Who did you find the most inspirational?
Paul: I think it was really Birch Locker; I'm not singling him out as the best producer or guy; he was just really into us. He flew all the way to Vancouver, and he was just this very good old Southern boy nice, polite he wasn't one of those brash hotshot kind of guys. He really appealed to our own sensibilities.
MTV: Last question. What's your idea of a perfect song?
Paul: Oh man. That's unattainable. Whoever wrote the perfect song would just quit the next day! I mean, there have been a lot of great writers who have written a really good song, and then they've managed to follow it up with another one which interprets things in a different way again. I guess, at its essence, it's an exercise in the human condition. It's the piece of a moment. It has to come from somewhere special and honest. It's a slice of life in time.
Don't miss the slice of life in time where Hot Hot Heat are cranking up our shores; they'll be performing at the fantastic V Festival shortly, and definitely shouldn't be missed!
You can catch all the info on the Festival by clicking through to our Tours page, or visiting the official website here.
You can also catch an interview with another V Festival gem, the French gurus Air, by clicking here.