Curiocity Interview: ‘Hot Water Music’ Dominating Punk Since ’93

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(credit: Marco Krenn)

( right to left: George Rebelo, Chris Wollard, Chuck Ragan, Jason Black – credit: Marco Krenn)

“I’m hardly feeling human anymore … enough to drag my body from the floor. Stand to hold steady. Now take a breath and somehow take a step to begin again. After all, we can only do our best.” – Hot Water Music’s “Drag My Body”

Like their new hit song implies, Hot Water Music is back. The multi-talented, angst-filled punk rock band from Gainsville, Fla. recently announced that they will begin a two-month headline tour in January – their first in eight years.

Not only are they back headlining tours, they recently released a full-length studio album, “Exister,” which reached the band’s highest charting position to date (No. 33 on Billboard Top 200). It’s an impressive feat, considering the band members all live in different areas of the country.

On Feb. 1, 2013, Hot Water will be playing in downtown Minneapolis. It’s a show they are looking forward to – except the cold, of course.

Recently, Hot Water’s bassist Jason Black (pictured above on far right) took some time to chat with us about the band’s background, their experience recording the new album, his dominating bass sound and more.

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The new album has been called by critics, as well as Chuck and Chris in interviews I’ve seen, a back-to-the-basics kind of album, a simple yet carefully crafted collection of songs. But in what ways does the album set itself apart from the others, what ways does it progress?

We spent a long period of time getting ready for the record and writing for it, but we didn’t spend a lot of time as a band getting ready for it. We were like, ‘here’s the song, let’s go.’ We kind of let the songs do their thing – if they work, they work, if they don’t, they don’t. What makes this record different – at least from our standpoint – is that we didn’t write it over the course of three months or whatever in the warehouse hashing out ideas … It was more trading tapes and working on stuff when we were on the road together. Because of all those factors, we’ve just kind of eventually picked a day and said ‘we start recording on this day.’ All of those logistical factors really played into making it a super direct record, although that’s what we wanted to do also … but the actual reality of the situation kind of helped us along that way.

After three albums with Brian McTernan at Salad Days Studio, what made you guys choose The Blasting Room over Salad Days studios? What did/didn’t you like about the experience in a new recording environment?

I think to just do something different – pretty much what you said. I mean, we’ve done three records with Brian, we’re all really good friends with him and I still talk to him on a pretty regular basis. We did The Draft record there and I had done two records with Senses Fail as well. We were trying to a different record, a different thing on a different label – so we tried something different all around. It’s not like we didn’t have faith or didn’t like working with Brian or how those records come out, but I think to try something different you have to change everything.

Why did you guys decide not to put out “Exister” on Epitaph records? How is Rise Records treating you at this point in your career?

They’re treating us really well. That figures into the same reason we used a different producer and studio. We’ve always kind of done different stuff as much as possible. After three records with Epitaph, we had a pretty good idea about how that was going to play out – at least on some level. I think for anything to play out differently would have been a stroke of luck for both of us.

When you play with a band for a long time, it’s really easy to feel like you’re doing the same things over and over again. It’s nice to be in a position where you can sort of change things up, to freshen things up for youself and everyone else.

For more, read the CBS Minnesota article.

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