Tuesday, May 12, 2009


Originally published in: Caustic Truths

Album: The New What Next (Epitaph)

Random thoughts: A couple of Hot Water Music pieces here, inexplicably they were written on the same day. Talk about a quick flipover. Was great talking to this dude though.

Hot Water Music
Learning to love The New What Next

By Jason Schreurs

So what do you do when one of your favorite bands releases a new album and you just can’t seem to get into it? Well, for starters you listen to that damn thing non-stop and force yourself to appreciate it. And, if you have the opportunity to talk to someone in the band about it, as I did with Jason Black of Hot Water Music about their latest, The New What Next, maybe you can even push for an explanation.
“We just wanted to do some different stuff and break it up a little bit more,” explains Black. “Everyone was really happy with Caution [their previous release] but it kinda got to the point where we were starting to do the same thing on every record and we didn’t really want to fall into that trap. It might be selfish of us, but it gets really boring.”
Out of the 12 songs on Hot Water Music’s new album, only about four or five stick with me after countless listens, but each time I put on this record, another tune starts to seep into my psyche. So, I’m starting to think The New What Next might be a real grower.
“It might be… It might be,” ponders Black. “It’s hard for me because I’m just so surrounded by the damn thing by the time we get it done, that it’s just like, ‘I like it or I wouldn’t have put it out,’ you know what I mean?”
Formed in Gainesville, Florida more than decade ago, with a handful of releases on the No Idea label, they were one of the bands who epitomized the emo scene in the mid-to-late ‘90s. With The New What Next, their third album for Epitaph, the band is almost coming full circle with their sound, although in much more mature way.
“We haven’t done any songs this slow or mellow in a few records, we haven’t done anything this slow and heavy in a few records either,” claims Black. “On the older records, there are a lot of different grooves on all the songs. We just wanted to try to make a record where there’s one of every type of song we can do on there, and it’s the best one we’ve got.”
At this point in their lifespan, Hot Water Music are so established in the punk/emo scene they don’t need to pander to their audience as much anymore. But considering how varied this record is, and how different it sounds than their previous two, exactly how much did the band keep their audience in mind while writing it?
“Kinda not at all,” states Black. “Only to the point where we’d call bullshit on ourselves, where we would never play anything like that, you know? But mostly we’ll try anything and it just has to feel good and work, and still sound like us.”
With the amount of experimentation and creative juices flowing with longtime producer Brian McTernan (Cave In, Snapcase, Thrice, etc.), it’s obvious this album was the result of a positive creative process for the band.
“This record was a lot of fun to make,” confirms Black. “We rewrote a lot of it in pre-production and, working with McTernan again, we kinda let go of everything once we went in this time and said, ‘Alright dude, here’s our songs. What should we do with them?’”
Okay, so they had fun making it and they think it’s one of their best albums, so that should be enough to make me sit down with this thing and learn to love it, right? Hey, anything’s possible over time, I guess.
“I think it will come,” reaffirms Black. “I think it will come.”

Originally published in: Chord Magazine

Getting Political With…
Hot Water Music?

By Jason Schreurs

When normally apolitical bands like Hot Water Music decide to spout off against the government, you know one hell of an awful President is running the country.
“This is probably one of the only things we’ve ever released that actually has some very vague political commentary on it,” says bassist Jason Black of The New What Next, their third album for Epitaph (out Sept. 21). “We try not to get political because that’s not the kind of band we are. Not that we aren’t as people, but we’ve never really wanted to be pigeonholed in any category, especially that one.”
With a nutcase like Dubya running the show, is it a necessity for bands of all genres, including hirsute emo bands from the state of Florida (where this big mess all began), to step up and make a stand?
“I think it is,” admits Black. “To us, it’s more just common sense than politics. I don’t think we are being political by saying things are pretty fucked right now. That’s just the truth.”
With every punk, hardcore, and metal release these days including at least one song about Bush and his maladjusted version of US foreign policy (heck, some bands, like Philly’s Anti-Flag write whole albums about it), it’s not a surprise to see Hot Water Music getting into the act a bit.
“I think it’s probably the first thing politically since we’ve been a band that’s pissed anybody in the band off enough to actually write about,” says Black.
“We’ve only been a band during Clinton and Bush. Clinton, I thought he was just kinda funny, for the most part,” he chuckles. “But it’s a sad state of things going on right now and traveling worldwide, which we’re privileged enough to be able to do, it’s really fucking things up everywhere. Things are fucked and it’s mostly his fault. It’s pretty insane.”
The New What Next, in addition to including some politics, also makes a brief jump into a music genre once defined by political action: reggae.
“We’ve always wanted to do a reggae song, but we’ve just never really had the balls to do it,” admits Black. “You listen to The Clash or you hear NOFX doing it… and I know we’re not really in the same world as either of one of those bands, but we were like, ‘Fuck it, let’s give it a shot.’”
“We were just fooling around and came up with that chord progression and it kinda worked,” he says with glee. “It didn’t feel too reggae, like, ‘Jesus Christ, Hot Water’s playing a reggae song?!’ But it just had a good groove to it when we got cooking on it, so we’re all pretty happy with that one.”
The album, again helmed by producer Brian McTernan (Cave In, Thrice) also found the band in perfect synch this time around. “I think everybody’s actually in a good place, for once. I think this is the first record we’ve made where we’re all in the same space, and it’s a pretty good one.”
So, politics and that dummy-head Bush aside, is The New What Next Hot Water’s happy record then? “This is our happy record,” he beams, “Ya, it is.”

For more info, go to: http://www.hotwatermusic.com/

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