It’s Heady Times For HotWax

HotWax interview with Northern Transmissions by Conor Rooney
HotWax photo by Ethan Porter

HotWax are just getting started. Fresh out of school (where they met), the group has skillfully refined their explosive stage presence and fiery sound, fashioning music that brilliantly taps into the formidable energy of grunge pioneers. Just this year, the group released their debut EP A Thousand Times, which set off a firestorm of attention that led to bills like All Points East (where Yeah Yeah Yeahs dedicated “Maps” to the band), Reading + Leeds, Mad Cool and more.

Before HotWax embark on a supporting North American and UK tour with Royal Blood, they’ll be releasing their new EP “Invite Me, Kindly” on October 18th mixed by Alan Moulder (Wet Leg, Foo Fighters, Arctic Monkeys). The first single from this EP, Phone Machine, is out now. Northern Transmissions spoke with the group to chat influences, live performance and getting a shoutout from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs.

Northern Transmissions: You began this band at a young age, while still in school. After playing together for many years, how have you observed your songwriting process evolving?

Tallulah Sim-Savage: When we started, we had less experience because we’d only just started songwriting, but those songs definitely had a special sort of feeling about them. I think now it’s like, you kind of learn new things like not to write every song in the same key – because you naturally would do that when you didn’t really know even what that meant. Things like that, I guess. You just become a bit more clever in those ways.

Lola: Yeah, I would agree with you.

NT: Tell me about the Hastings music scene and how you believe it played a role in shaping your identity as a band.

Tallulah: Yeah,I’ve lived here all my life and Lola’s lived there for ages as well. It’s just been so amazing. We started playing music in a band when we were like, 12. It’s such an amazing community, because there’s so many artists and musicians and people who will give you guitar lessons for free, vocal lessons for free and do your music videos. You go out, and you know everyone.

NT: Have you noticed any changes in the availability of DIY spaces for up-and-coming acts over time? Are there more or fewer of them now in Hastings?

Alfie: I mean, it decreased locally. Like, before COVID there were a lot more and then after COVID there were obviously a lot less – but it has grown again. In lockdown, a lot of people went to learn how to do something; [something] maybe they hadn’t had the time to do before. So there’s been lots of new bands.

NT: You’ve been performing for quite some time, but it’s only this year that you’ve started touring extensively. How has the experience of being on the road influenced your approach to live performance?

Tallulah: For the however many years we’ve been playing live up to this year, we’d be playing at least once a week, but it was all pretty local. Never really farther than London. And then this year, we’ve been away a lot – like six days at a time. So when we’re away with Royal Blood, that’s going to be our first proper tour were we don’t come home for like, a month or whatever.

You know, we do gigs and loads of people we know were there and loads of friends – but playing in new places where we don’t know anyone, I think it’s allowed us to kind of come into our own with performing a bit more. Because, you’re not thinking “all of my friends are there.” It’s kind of just easier to completely let loose, and just be the person you’d want to be on stage a bit more.

Alfie: So a lot of learning.

NT: Totally, and then you kind of come back from tour with a lot more energy and confidence, because you’re kind of figuring everything out on the road there. I can imagine the past two years have been quite exhilarating for you. What has the experience been like, especially with notable moments such as supporting The Strokes and receiving a shout-out from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs during ‘Maps’.

Tallulah: Yeah, they’re my favorite band! And that lineup was just crazy to be on, so it’s been something we’ve been building up to, but it was just the best day and we had such an amazing time. And the fact she shouted us out was insane.

NT: Do you have any? And this is a question for all of you. Do you have any albums that you can point to as deeply formative?

Tallulah: I’d always just sort of listened to a lot softer music. My mom showed me Live Through This (the Hole album) and Fever to Tell to Tell by Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Those two albums really changed things for me, and hearing a woman singing in that sort of way as well really, really inspired me.

Lola: I was never really into music, but then learning guitar and your guitar teacher gives you a few albums (like Foo Fighters) I was just like “Oh, I really want to do music.”

Alfie: I started playing drums and then I found [Nirvana’s] Nevermind, and I was like “Well, I’m gonna learn all of this.” And I learned how to play all of that. But recently, in the last couple of years, an album by Stereolab called Dots and Loops is like my favorite album.

NT: Supporting Royal Blood must be exciting!

Tallulah: It’s crazy, like growing up, learning to play guitar – they really, really inspired us. II never thought this would happen – I still can’t really get my head around it.

Order tickets for HotWax HERE


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