Steve Bays of Hot Hot Heat
Contributed by MarkRowan, Posted by Warner Music Group Interviews

Mark Rowan sat down for a quick chat with Steve Bays of Hot Hot Heat right after their tour with Weezer last year.

The band is writing and demoing tracks for a follow-up to Elevator.

Where’d you get the name ‘Hot Hot Heat’? Steve Bays: A psychedelic movie from…nah actually, Paul [Hawley, drummer] thought it sounded cool. I always wanted to have a cool story. But, it just really came out of no where to be honest. I really don’t know. There’s zero background story.

We all lived together in a house with about 8 people in it. It was basically in the ghetto of Victoria [British Columbia], if you can say that. It was just so we can jam all night. It was this old retired crack house that was kind of famous because police had shot all these dogs in the front yard that belonged to a bunch of dealers. It was an awful house that smelled like cat piss, but it was really cheap and we all used to jam there. We were in tons of different bands together and this is just one of them. Originally it was going to be a band that we didn’t take seriously, but it just caught on.

A handful of songs in the UK were banned because of the war in the Middle East. ‘Bandages’ was one of them; do you think that was justified?
Well no, because ‘Salvation Army’ by the White Stripes wasn’t banned. Obviously if you listen to the lyrics ‘Bandages’ is not a reference to war. I don’t know why we got banned. And they only have one main radio station that reaches all of the UK, it was maximum rotation. We filmed an episode of ‘Top of the Pops’ and they had to ban it for some reason and that kind of just fucked up everything.

You guys turned out 25 songs writing the new album ‘Elevators’, but only used 12. Are we ever going to hear these other 13 songs?
We released 3 of them as b-sides that I just recorded myself in our jam spot. B-sides on UK singles. I think you can download them online. One is called, "Wait a Second", another one is called "When We Were Kids" and another one is "Eyes, Ears, Mouth", but I really like those songs. For the new album, we’re half way done writing it. We’re kind of doing it differently this time, where by the time we finish a song it’s definitely a keeper. We’re not writing a bunch of songs. Because it’s so hard to get time to practice on the road, usually it’s just during sound check. We only practice songs that blow our minds. Definitely writing an album on the road is a way different experience. I think it’s shaping the album to be a lot different, which is cool.

Since Dante DeCaro, your last guitarist that you wrote ‘Elevators’ with left, do you think that is going to change the sound of the new album?
Definitely. On one hand not a lot because Paul and I are generally the main song writers. Mentally when you have a new member it’s a new chemistry. Knowing that he wanted to leave, a lack of band unity seeped into our subconscious and definitely messed with our heads for a while. Whereas now Luke is probably the best guitar player I’ve ever played with and he’s so committed to being in the band forever, basically. We just have a renewed faith in the band, and this renewed youthful excitement. Which definitely makes the songs different. On ‘Elevators’ a lot of it was still upbeat, but there was some darker undertones that seeped in it a bit more than I would have liked. Our new material is a bit darker and a bit heavier, but it still has this party atmosphere in the background.

What would say your top 5 albums were of 2005?
That’s a good question. That’s a tough one…well I really liked the Arctic Monkeys. So I’ll say them. The Futureheads, was a big album for me. Arcade Fire was good. World Leader Pretend, they’re on our label as well. They are like old Radiohead mixed with the Walkmen, it’s really good. That’s probably my number 1 favorite album