Hot Water Music



I don’t think you need any stupid introduction to Hot Water Music, everyone into emocore or just cool music knows them anyway. Before their fantastic show in Schorndorf we had the chnace to talk to one of the singers/guitarists, Chris, who turned out to be one of the nicest guys around and who gave very long and informative answers. Thanks man, you rule.

How’s the tour going so far?

Oh it’s fucking awesome, it’s really great. It’s a really great tour in every aspect.

How many dates did you have, especially in Germany?

In Germany? Oh shit, we did like two weeks in Germany. We did like eight or nine countries…

At this point we were interrupted by some person who told us that the railway tracks were we sat were probably not the best place to do an interview because it would be still used by trains which we didn’t know. It looked really old and I didn’t see one single train at any show I attended. But ok, better than getting hurt, we walked some meters away from the tracks and then the interview could go on…

We did about fifteen shows in Germany. And then we played England, Scotland, France, Spain, Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland and the Czech Republic. And the tour is about a month long and I think a half of it was in Germany.

How many more dates will there be?

There’s tonight and tomorrow and that’s it, tomorrow is the last day.

So how are your feelings now, are you glad that the tour’s over and you will get back home?

No, this tour is perfect, we’ve been having a lot of fun every night. Today I’m starting to feel a little bit tired but we only have two more days so that’s perfect. Usually our tours are twice as long as this, like six or seven weeks, ‘cause in America you have to tour a long time just to get everywhere. It’s perfect, ‘cause I’m still totally ready to go, but you know, in another week I’m starting like ‘Oh fuck’, but right now it’s perfect, it’s a perfect tour.

So that’s the second tour for the ‘No division’ album in Europe?

This is our seventh tour total for ‘No division.’ We did like four tours in America, one tour in Japan and two tours over here. We have another tour next month in America. We’re doing the Warped Tour in America. And then after that we’re gonna stop ‘cause we’re working on a new album right now so we’re taking a few months off and just write some songs.

Did you already finish some songs?

We’re starting to get there. We’ve written a lot of stuff for the new album. We’re trying to spend a lot more time going in the studio and making demos for the songs so that we can do it a little but slower, make sure that the songs are as good as we can make them. So we have like probably nine or ten songs that we’re working on right now and some of them are real close to be done and some of them we still have a lot of work to do. We’re just gonna take it slow and try to make a real good record.

Will that record be out on Some Records again?

We don’t know yet. We’re not even thinking about it really. We’re not under contract.

So the Some Records deal was just a one album deal?

Yeah, that’s usually how we work. With No Idea, he’s one of our best friends, sometimes we do records with him and sometimes we do records with other people, but we always work with him. We always do something with him, we we don’t do everything with him. We have another compilation coming out of like just 7”s. It’s gonna be a full album like 12 songs. It’s actually gonna be a double album if you get it from us at a show or if you buy it from No Idea mailorder. It’s a double album with a bunch of demo stuff on it. But if you get it a record store then it’s just one album. So we always work with No Idea, he’s so fuckin’ cool. For the next album, everybody that we work with knows that we might do a record with them or we might not, it’s not a big deal. We’re very serious about the next record. Everybody knows that if we do it with them, cool, and if we don’t, cool. You know we work with our friends, it’s not like business. We work with people that believe in our band and they understand what we’re doing. They’re not gonna get all weird or anything else.

Most of the labels that we work with are like that. When we were doing an album with Some, that album is under contract, we signed that record over to them, they own that record. But the next album is like ‘Whatever’, it doesn’t matter. The agreement is, you know, if they are doing a real good job and we get along with them really well, then we’ll do another record with them. If not, then ‘No way.’ It’s a very open agreement. It sets it up so that everybody has to work at their job. Everybody does their end of the bargain.

So how did Some Records do for you?

They’re awesome, they’re a great label. They’re a tremendous label, but also No Idea is a great label. There’s a lot of great labels, so I mean, really I don’t know what we’re gonna do for the next record. All I’m really worried about is writing good songs and put them out. In the next few months I’m sure we’ll start talking about it, but right now we’re just trying to write some songs.

I don’t really give a fuck about which label a band is on. I don’t give a shit about that, that has nothing to do about how we write music. Most of the labels that are cool I don’t really like. We just operate a little bit different than a lot of pople do. I would almost rather put out our own records, but it is a hell job, that’s why were not doing it, haha. I’m doing a new label myself, but I’m only doing like small stuff, like side projects and stuff. But Hot Water Music, we demand a lot of attention, because we’re always on the road, so we need a lot of help, because we’re never at home to deal with the things we have to deal with at home. It’s very important to us that we work with friends because when you’re on the road and you’re in the middle of nowhere and you’re trying to figure all the shit out like records that are coming out or whatever, you gotta be able to trust the people that are putting out, because you just don’t have time. You have a show everyday, you’re busy doing other things, so you gotta work with other people that you trust. That’s why we work the way we do.

You were talking about side projects, can we expect anything from that direction?

Oh yeah, everybody is in another band. Me and the drummer, a couple of years ago we did a band and we put out a record, and right now we’re gonna re-release it on No Idea, and then we have another 10” that’s coming out, too, so that’s couple of albums for that band. After that, me and the other guitar player did a band that was like an acoustic band, and that was called Rumble Seat and we put out like a few 7”s. Some more are coming out and we got an album that we’re working on that’s almost done. That’s on No Idea also. And then Jason’s been in a band with some of the Discount guys. I don’t know what they’re gonna call that, but it’s a new band. And Chuck, our other guitar player, he is playing as a backup musician with another guy in Gainesville. It’s like a country project, but all punk rock guys in it. George is in a couple of bands that are just really mellow, I don’t think you’ll be able to find anythiny from them right now. And then I’ve got a new band that I’m doing too that’s called the Sheryl Cro Mags (what a fuckin’ great name!!! – Stefan). My roommate is my drummer. I just wanted to start a band with my roommate. I’m putting out a 7” of that band myself. All we do is music, no one in the band does have jobs.

So can you live off your music?

It’s pretty cheap to live where we live, it’s like a college town. It’s pretty easy to be poor. So all we do is play music and write songs. With Hot Water Music, when we’re at home we practice like five days a week, and every afternoon we’ll practice for a couple of hours, and then at night we go out and hang out with ou friends and practive with some other people. For me, when I’m working on an album for Hot Water Music, it takes a lot. We really push ourselves as hard as we can. If you play with other people outside of the band, you kinda have to play a little bit differently. There’s different sounds being made. You gotta change the way you play, so that kinda helps you look at your instrument a little bit differently. Right now we’re writing an album for Hot Wtare Music and that’s the most important thing for anyone of us. Also we play with other people, so that we can kind of get different influences and just kinda bring everything we can into this band, ‘cause with the next record we’re really trying to make a good one, haha.

I bet you will succeed, haha.

I really hope so, haha. It’s gonna be a lot bigger.

So how will the songs sound like?

I really don’t know, haha. You know, we’re just like going crazy, haha. On the last record we started using some different instruments.Like I said we’re doing demo tapes all the time, so we’re trying to write like 20 songs and record them all, and then pick out these songs out of them that make a relly good album, and take those songs and then go to a real studio and record them differently with all of this crazy shit. Then we’ll take all the extra songs that aren’t on the album and put out some 7”s. We’re just like writing as much as we can, because it’s just so open. When you start looking at a record and trying to shape a record you can do anything you want as long as you are willing to take the time the way you do it.

We already demoed eight songs, and right now we have about four other things that we haven’t even done anything with, we just started them on this tour. We’re constantly changing songs if we’re writing all the time. We make a demo, the we listen to it, and then we’re like ‘Ok, that can be better, that can be better.’ We just keep doing it over and over until we’re done, until there’s nothing that we can think of to make it any better. That’s a really hard way to do an album, ‘cause YOU will think that it’s great, and somebody else is like ‘That could be better’ and you’re like ‘Fuck!!’. That’s why we practice. We used to practice like two days a week for like eight hours, we practiced all night long. And you start getting real tired. So now we practice like five days a week but only for two or three hours. So we go in there and just jam, work with the songs. Right when we start getting slow we’ll take off and come back later. So it keeps all the songs really fresh, but it takes a lot longer.

Do you think that this hard work pays off?

Well, for our band that’s the way to work. That’s the way we work the best. For other bands it’s different.

Concerning the covers for the 7”s and albums you did: You recognize at once that this must be a Hot Water Music release…

Yeah, it’s the same guy. There’s this atr school where we lived, and so naturally we were meeting  lot of cool artists. When we’re getting ready to put out an album, and we didn’t have any idea… like we don’t know what we’re doing, we don’t know how to make anything look good (but you definitely know how to make something sound good! – Stefan), we don’t have a fuckin’ clue how to do anything like that. So we just called up one of our friends and it was like: ‘Hey, you have any paintings sitting around?’ And he was like ‘Yeah!’ so the first couple of albums was like whenever he had sitting around. And now we always used Scott to do our album covers and now he paints the covers while he’s listening to our record. Right when we start working on an album I’ll call him up and tell him that the idea is that we’re writing about, like ‘This is what the album is about.’ And that’s what he paints about. He gets images in his head about the subjects that we sing about and that’s the album covers. So it’s like his represantation of our music. So he’s like another member of our band. Lately also some of the photographers that we’ve been using for the live shots and even other things, we’ve been using a lot of the same people a little while now, so it’s getting very comfortable. Everybody’s friends, everybody works together really well. We’ll get John Yates to do the layout, Scott to do the painting, this guy Jeff to do the pictures and this guy Eric to do the pictures. We’re always trying to work with people who are really close to us. We got like a box set that we’re working on, ‘cause we’re getting ready to put out our 50th thing.

Really? Wow.

Yeah, if you count like all the compilations and everything we’ve ever done, this year we’re gonna put out the 50th thing. And it’s gonna have every record that No Idea put out for us. There’ll all gonna be cool vinyl, there’s gonna be cool shit in there. We’re tyring to figure out what we’re gonna do with the artwork, and there’s all these people we know, so we’re tyring to figure out a way to combine all the shit, so it’s getting really weird.

Sounds like the Rolling Stones, haha.

Haha, yeah, it’s fuckin’ awesome.

Do you like the Gainesville scene?

I love Gainesville. When I was younger and till lived with my family there were two bands from Gainesville. Well there were tons of bands, but there were to bands that I really loved from Gainesville. And one of them was called Spoke (I hope that’s the way they were spelled… - Stefan) and one of them was called Raid On (same as above… - Stefan). And they were both on No Idea. And they both were local bands and they always played at the Hardback and it was like three hours away and I drive there every weekend to see these bands. And these shows were fuckin’ incredible, really small punk shows, but everybody was freakin’ out, just fuckin’ freakin’ out. The first time I ever went there to the city I went to one of the houses where everybody lived. There was this huge house. You know I lived in suburbia, I didn’t know what was going on. And I went to this house where like ten punk rock guys were living and there was just shit all over the place and I walked into this house and I was just like ‘Wow! This is what I wanna do!’, haha. Like a year later I met the guys in Hot Water Music. I met them in the city we lived in and I did another band with the bass player and the drummer and the drummer was in a band with the guitar player Chuck, so we had like two bands. And we were ‘Let’s go to Gainesville’ and play our music. And so we all moved to Gainesville. I knew these guys for like a month and we all move up there and about a month later both bands broke up, haha. So there was two guitar players, a bass player and a drummer who had no band. And we all lived in the same apartment complex, so were: ‘Bassplayer, drummer, guitar players, there we go. Let’s start a band.’ So we started a band and that’s what we’red doing, haha.

It was really cool, the way it happened was really cool.

And the scene in Gainesville is awesome. It’s a lot different than it used to be, but it’s a city where there’s a houndred thousand people that live there and there’s fifty thousand students. So there are so many kids, tons of kids, and it’s a really small town. So you walk a couple of blocks and you’re gonna see half the people, because everybody hangs out in the same area. It’s fuckin’ awesome, I personally just fuckin’ love it, but it’s not on the water. We’re still living by the ocean, I still wish it was on the ocean, I really miss it.

So what about the death metal scene in Florida, is it still alive?

Oh, that’s Tampa, that’s where we used to be.

In the lates eighties / early nineties the scene exploded over there…

Yeah, that was when we were there. W moved to Gainesville in ’94 and it was pretty much over by then, but the death metal scene used to be huge.

Yeah, there were Morrisound Studios.

We recorded our first three records at Morrisound. We recorded a lot at Morrisound, but in the late eighties / early nineties you had this fuckin’ huge metal scene, and it was fuckin’ ridiculous. And you also had this punk scene that was just completely out of control. Basically you had the skinhead scene, and then you had punks and you had metalheads, and there was just a shitload of all of them. You’d go to a show and every year there was this thing called Slamfest and it was only for the bands playing. It was seven bands every year and around like 1990 or 1991 you’d go there and there’d be just this huge mob of skinheads and then this other huge mob of just fuckin’ mohawks and then this other group of random metalheads that ended up at the show, ‘cause there’s kind of a crosover, so you can imagine the shit that went on. There fuckin’ huge fights, riots, it was absolutely insane. At that point I was really young and you’d just see the craziest shit. It was just like the melting pot for everything, just crazy shows back then… You know, that’s why I loved Gainesville so much. I went to Gainesville and it was really chilled. Everybody was just hanging out together. When I grew up with shows in Tampa it was really violent and it was a really scary place. But Gainesville rules.

Can you tell us something about the lyrics your writing? Both guitarplayers in Hot Water Music are writing them, right?

Yeah, both about half of the stuff. Right now we’re working on an album. I’m gonna take everything that’s happened to me from he last record till now and look through myself and figure out the biggest things that happened to me, like where were the turning points and where were the moments that I found something new. ‘No division’ is about the time period from the last album till then. We write about our lives. If you listen to all of our records it’s a storyboard of our lives. ‘Finding the rhythms’ is about this and this time, we wrote about everything we had going on then and then with the next record you can follow the things that happened to us. We’re not a political band or anything, but obviously sometimes politics get in there. I’m not super political as a person, but I am political in some regards. There’s things that really piss me off and there’s some things that I believe in a lot and they make their way into the songs. Sometimes they do and sometimes they don’t. Just the things with growing up. I have a four year old son so that’s a big influence on my songwriting. You take everything from your life, the friends that you make, the bands that you tour with, the people you meet that inspire you, the people you meet that piss you off. You take everything that you’ve experienced and you try to find the most important things, the things that really changed you. And hopefully that will translate good for everybody else. Hopefully pople will be able to understand, but if not, whatever. It’s like they say everybody has a song, so you just sing your song.

I don’t think there’s anything better to end an interview with, so that’s it. Chris then told us something more about his son and how at a show on his son’s birthday the little kid announced the band to the audience and then 700 people sang ‘Happy birthday’ for him. Isn’t that great? So remember: Just sing your song. (Stefan)


If you want to see some pictures from that particular show, click on the small pics below to enlarge them