AN INTERVIEW WITH HOT FLASH HEAT WAVE
With Summer edging around the corner, you may be on the lookout for some new bands to exemplify and enhance the ever-so popular season. Enter Hot Flash Heat Wave, a San Francisco band that has a beautifully developed dream pop/surf rock sound and lyrics that drip with intimacy, reflection, and imagery. HFHW’s groovy tunes, particularly those from their upcoming record Soaked, are sure to make the perfect soundtrack to your free spirited days and nostalgic nights. Melted got the chance to talk the the band about Soaked in comparison to early works, what they like to do when they’re not making music, and we were even blessed with a few words of wisdom from the guys.
Could you introduce yourselves and who does what?
Hot Flash Heat Wave is Ted Davis (Bass, Vocals), Adam Abildgaard (Guitar, Vocals), Nathaniel Blum (Guitar, Vocals), and Nick Duffy (drums).
What is the history of the band, how did HFHW form?
Hot Flash began over the course of a few years as various chillwave music projects fused and became what it is today in San Francisco circa 2014.
Unlike most bands who have one, maybe two, vocalists you guys have three and all of you have fairly distinct singing styles/voices. Given this, how do you guys go about songwriting? Is it a general, collaborative effort or do you have respective songwriting styles as well?
It depends. Some songs are standalone written by one of the lead vocalists, like “Hesitation” (which Ted wrote). But even then, the others have input to tweak the songs a little bit from a songwriting or tones perspective or in some other way. Other songs are more collaborative in nature. For example, on “Gutter Girl,” Nick wrote the chord progression/song structure and Nathaniel came up with the main vocal melody to go over it—and Adam & Ted came up with the backing vocals.
Since the release of your first EP back in 2014, how do you think you guys have developed, production wise? What have you learned over the years and do you think there will be a significant difference between this upcoming record, Soaked, and your first album, Neapolitan, in regards to sound?
We learned a lot production wise making Neapolitan. We had written the songs and played them live but hadn’t put much thought into how they would translate to recording. We were drinking a ton of coffee and recorded many of those songs faster than we had anticipated. Our new record Soaked was much more deliberate in the tones and production choices. In general we have started putting a heavier emphasis on the production side of our songs. Once the songs our written we demo them out at home so when we go into the studio we know most of what we want.
Right now you guys are working on the music video for the song “Raindrop” with director-duo Patrick Sean Gibson and Luke Lasley (also known as BOREDOM) who also directed your video for “Gutter Girl.” How do you know them and what is it about their work and/or your experience with them that made you want to work with them again?
We met Patrick and Luke because Nathaniel used to live in their house in the mission district of SF. We wanted to work with them again cause they are our homies and very talented artists in their prospective fields. The project was very collaborative in nature, so it was nice to let go of the steering wheel a bit and see what other creative minds could come up with.
I’ve noticed that Ted has designed a number of you guys’ show flyers and even artwork for releases and I was wondering if the rest of you have any other sort of hobbies or even passions besides music that you also enjoy dedicating your time to or help keep you sane?
Ted does a majority of the graphic design for our band. Adam loves to draw and he prints T-Shirts out of our garage. Nathaniel has been getting into making films - he edited the promo video for Soaked as well as the Gold Years video that came out recently, playing with VHS grain and special effects. Nick likes meditation and yoga and practices those pretty often.
For the sake of fans that don’t live on the west coast, any chance you guys will be doing a full North American tour sometime in the near future?
We are in the middle of a small east coast tour, but would love to do a more extensive national tour sometime this year! Before our west coast tour we booked all our own shows but we are now working with a cool booker named Max from Austin.
An artist, song, or album that makes you feel a heavy dose of nostalgia?
Smash Mouth - Waste, I Believe I Can Fly - R. Kelly, Sugar We’re Going Down - Fall Out Boy
What’s it like being a musician in the 21st century?
Being a musician in the 21st century is like being a meme of yourself. Nothing slides through the cracks, everything is on full blast and people’s attention spans are slim. Overall making music with your buds a fun time. It’s liberating to have an outlet to express yourself.
Any final words or bits of wisdom you’d like to share with our readers?
Don’t compare yourself to other people - stay unique and true to you. It’s easy to think “i’m not good enough at ___ yet to try actually making something”.. but creating/failing is part of learning. When you feel uninspired take the time to practice and get better at your craft. Let new ideas flow organically.
CHECK OUT HOT FLASH HEAT WAVE’S NEW ALBUM SOAKED OUT JUNE 2ND
interview by LYDIA VELAZQUEZ
photo by MIRANDA DE LAY