Angie Lalonde is from Canada. So is Hot Hot Heat. Makes sense, right?
ANGIE: Your new record opens with âNaked in the Cityâ, I thought that was a rad track to open on. Did you guys decide the sequence of the songs?
DUSTIN: Weâ¦ well I guess technically, we had the bottom line there and say but our guy Tony at Sub Pop suggested that. We really couldnât figure out what to do, we had all these ideas and then weâd just go back on them âokay this is going to work, no this is not going to workâ so he just suggested it and it actually is probably the best song to open the record with, I do agree.
Did things only really start getting serious and stable for you guys as a band when Dante joined two years ago?
D: Oh yeah, well two and a half years ago, I think somewhere in March early summer or late spring.
Where did you find him?
D: Are you familiar with Victoria at all?
Iâve never been there.
D: Well itâs on an island, a little community about 45 minutes North from Victoriaâ¦ The little place where he lived in, its kind of half way between. And we played this town called Duncan and Victoria and I guess he came down to shows at both places and weâd seen him play in a couple of bands and stuff, we met him at partiesâ¦ And one night we played a show in Vancouver and it was actually the last show that we played with our singer that was the last show ever. Well Dante was at the show and went to the party afterwards and him and Paul just started playing guitar together and Paulâs like âI found the guy!â and I mean that was it easy, quick and painless!
But you guys have always had the name Hot Hot Heat right?
D: Yeah, itâs been about four years now.
When it comes to tours do you guys make it a point on deciding which band youâre going to bring as support and what not? Like âThe Unicornsâ tonight I heard mentioned you guys wanted avidly to bring them alongside.
D: Oh yeah definitely, weâve been doing that for a while now. And I mean itâs not like weâve been headlining since square one either so weâd go out with bands that we thought weâre cool to open for, good support slots or whatever but unfortunately weâve done the mistake of going on tour by ourselves as the headlining band and being at the mercy of clubs to find bands to play with us. And I mean we got bands like anywhere from Incubus to just garbage, like pop punk and stuff like that so we decided I guess it was maybe like May that we were going to start bringing bands along with us so at least we were guaranteed to have a solid line-up time to time as opposed to like Good Charlotte clowns and stuff like that.
What do you think is the best about going on international tours, the culture shock, the cuisine or the shopping?
D: Definitely not the cuisine, the cuisine is terrible! Especially in Europe, yeah more so in Europe itâs actually awful, god-awful! Um the UK is kind of gross for the cuisine but weâve been there so often now that I kind of got used to it, I kind of know now what to eat and what not to eat! In Europe I swear to god they put tomatoes on everything! They put mayonnaise on everything. It even just seems like the food standards and their cleanliness is just a little low Parr, so itâs a gamble. Iâd say especially in Germany, Copenhagen and Scandinavia where you just donât understand the language so if you get a menu you donât know what youâre ordering, itâs just a crapshoot! I sometimes choose not too eat (laughs) but the culture shock though itâs pretty cool. I mean I do dislike one country in particular and some countries I really like. Britain actually I thought was pretty cool to go there and the shopping too, I bought this jacket there. Oh yes itâs very British itâs very current. (laughs)
Do you think more pressure is put on bands appearances these days where as there wasnât emphasis of this kind or that type even 20 years ago?
D: Yes and no, I mean yes there is a certain element within a certain group of bands that thereâs definitely that sort of fashion sense but when you look at bands like Nickelback or Staind, where if you look at them they wear what normal people wear, typical clothes and then of course you know the bands like The Strokes that are into fashion and definitely have a fashion sense right, I think it really just depends on what the band is thoughâ¦
Where was your first practicing space?
D: First one ever, when I first started playing guitar or with the band?
With Hot Hot Heat
D: Wow, weâve had like probably half a dozen but the first time we ever got together, the original line-up was in Steveâs parentsâ basement which oddly enough is where we practice now.
Props to Steveâs parents
D: Yeah definitely! Luckily itâs below ground so you canât hear anything outside so itâs perfect.
So we all know âBandagesâ got banned on certain radio air-waves in certain areas when Iraq was invaded, honestly it must have been to you advantage for whatever reasons they had, you guys got lots of free press out of it, New York Times etcâ¦
D: Like look it soon funny, I just got asked about this today, I mean itâs so funny that happened in something like March or April, something like that, yeah it comes up, I think in about every other interview I get asked about it so yeah I mean definitely it worked to our advantage but it wasnât all that insane or scandalousâ¦
Totally, thereâs really nothing to use against you in the song.
D: Yeah and the thing thatâs kind of funny about that is they banned our song but âSeven Nation Armyâ by the White Stripes came out that same week but they didnât ban that? Weirdâ¦
This is a personal question for me, I was so stoked in your âBandagesâ video you have women wearing halos, how come, whose idea?
D: Do we? Halosâ¦?
Oh yes! I took personal note, I wore one.
D: Oh yeah! Yeah! That was the directors, in hindsight though thatâs pretty cool!
So you guys got to not only play Letterman but Conan, Iâd tell my kids. (laughs)
D: It was pretty cool, knowing that even people wanted us to play on those shows, itâs flattering. It was pretty uneventful though we pretty much went in played then leftâ¦
So you never got to meet them?
D: We met Conan but I didnât actually talk to him a lot, Letterman though I didnât see him, I think I actually only got to shake his hand but Conan, it was pretty sweet. I think he really wanted to be a musician cause they have rehearsals during the day, trying to figure out what theyâre going to do and get the script down right and he just sat at his desk and was just strumming guitar in between lines and stuff like that. Walking around the back room and singing and stuffâ¦
You guys were all in bands before Hot Hot Heat, have any of you thought of side projects?
D: Um, itâs hard to say it really depends, right now we obviously have no time at all to do anything besides this but I plan on releasing a record sometime of stuff that Iâm going to do myself but itâs going to be more leftfield kind of hip hop kind of stuff
A different refuge from thisâ¦
D: Definitely I mean thatâs something I can do by myself quite easily cause I have a massive bunch of electronic equipment so itâs just I got to get the ball rolling with that, thatâs what I plan on doing but as far as starting other bands, itâs virtually impossible cause weâre never home, right.
How long would you say youâve been on tour for the last year?
D: Well weâve been on tour for something like eighteen months or something like that but itâs not consistently though, weâll go out and come back for eight days then go out again for another month and a half then back or whateverâ¦ I think the longest stretch weâve had off wasâ¦ I think November sometime, late November and we didnât actually leave again until about a month and a half we had off. But in that month and a half off we still flew out to L.A for two weeks, we played a bunch of shows it ended up only being about three weeks, wow yeah holy shit thatâs a long time (laughs). But weâre even to the point now where we refuse to go out for more than a month and a half. We did three months straight once and that involved touring the States twice and going to Britain and Europe twice, so yeah it was pretty ruthless and brutal.
Are you guys writing any new material right now? New releases?
D: Yeah when we get back we are, we finish this tour soon then weâre going to go home and take some time off, a few weeks or something like that and then weâll start writing I think weâre aiming on hopefully having the record recorded for like April, so usually itâs about 6 months after the record is finished before itâs released so probably like September or October, itâs about actually two years since the last record.
Whatâs the hottest venue youâve ever played?
D: Hot as in hot? Or physically hot?
Physically snorting sweat
D: Oh we did a couple that weâre pretty much on par, we played the Casa something in Montreal, I forget but itâs like a cafÃ© slash venue and it was in the dead of summer it was so hot and there was likeâ¦ It felt like a hundred million people crammed in there. I was literally drenched head to toe when we were done playing. We also played this place called Modified out in Arizona this summer and it was like forty degrees out and there was no air-conditioning, just fucked up it was crazy. It was insane the bottles of water we drank on stage.
Where if ever has HHHâs most heated argument happen? Most of guys have all been friends for really long lengths of time to begin with it must feel like family now.
D: Wow yeah, well Iâve known Steve for eight nine years now, I guess Paul five or six now. Um you know actually we donât really fight all that often believe it or not, of course thereâs definite squabbles but I mean I guess itâs gotten to the point where thereâs really no point in arguing a lot .
(Just then Dante walks in the room)
Perfect, last question, where did Dante get his dance moves?
(Dante starts squirming and going spastic)
DANTE: From Elaine on Seinfield!!! (laughs)