Saturday, November 8, 2008

20 Questions with Hot Seconds Frontman James Love

If you’ve been following my blog, then you no doubt already know one of my favorite albums of the year is Hot Seconds self-titled debut. While listening to the album one evening, I realized that I really didn’t know much about the band. It was then that I decided to do what any inquisitive gal would. I set out to remedy that! So, I sent over some questions to their frontman/guitarist/lyricist, James Love. To my delight, Mr. Love was kind enough to answer them. Not only that, nice guy that he is, he agreed to my quirky desire to use a self-portrait instead of a promo picture and sent one in … thanks!

Check out what Mr. Love has to say!

QuirkyNYChick (QNYC): I’ll start with a question that has bugged me a little for a while. The band name, what’s the proper spelling … all lower case or proper capitalization? I’ve seen it both ways.

James Love (JL): Either or really, we like both.

(QNYC): Who came up with the name for the band and is there a story behind it?

(JL): Eran came up with it. We were passing round emails with tons of names and all were getting shot down. We were almost called Chinese Helicopter Pilots! Hot Seconds was one of the first that seemed cool in retrospect. We had to decide and that was the one.

(QNYC): In a way, songs are a bit like children and playing favorites is unfair. But, let’s be unfair. What’s your favorite track from the album and why?

(JL): Hmm, that’s tough one. I love Pieces of You. First, ‘cos it’s a total banger and second … it’s an old one that finally sounds the way it should. But, I think Clam Man is my favourite overall. I love how it sounds … the structure of the song. We love playing it live.

(QNYC): What inspires you to write? Do you write from personal experience or do you observe the world around you and draw from that?

(JL): Lyrically, definitely experience, although not 100%. Something just comes and if it’s lucky enough to be written down and not lost, then it gets worked into a song, often about something completely different than what it first was.

(QNYC): Does the writing come easy?

(JL): Never.

(QNYC): How long did it take to make the album from beginning to end? Was it a work around “day jobs” prolonged process? Or, were you able to just set aside a block of time and focus on putting the record together?

(JL): It was a work around, about a year and a half.

(QNYC): What challenges have you had to face being a DIY band? Do you think doing everything yourself has made you appreciate and savor the little things more?

(JL): No savoring here! We’d love to not have to do everything ourselves and just do music, but that’s not reality for us right now. We’re very proud of being self-sufficient, from the art to the videos and the tunes.

(QNYC): Did you have an idea of what you wanted to sound like when you started writing the songs that ended up on the album? Or, did it just take shape as you went along?

(JL): There was some idea. Eran produced the album. He has total trust in that area. I like to think that he makes it sound like what I would’ve wanted to say had I been able to articulate it. But, he’s the man in that department.

(QNYC): Being a reasonably new band and this your first album, where the songs written specifically for the album? Or, were they mostly written prior to the band coming together?

(JL): Combination, mostly prior.

(QNYC): I’ve seen the video for “Holy Moly” and the hilarious infomercial for the album. Are there any other videos in the works?

(JL): Given the time and the $’s, Marcel would make a video for each song I think. He always has interesting ideas. He wrote and directed all the vids and we just showed up and did what we were told.

(QNYC): I just saw you perform recently and witnessed what a good live band you are. Have you considered doing a live EP or DVD to introduce those who haven’t seen you yet to the Hot Seconds live experience?

(JL): Not really, we would if it would look and sound good. But that takes time and tons of cash and a great rig at a great venue with a great crowd. The audience is part of good live vid. Until we have a big one that knows and love the tunes, it’s not really on option.

(QNYC): How did the five of you come together?

(JL): I met Eran through work and hired him to produce a few songs. Then, we really loved what we did and decided to make a band. Found Bob through craigslist, Marcel and I have been friends for years and we met Ian at a Black Rebel Motorcycle Club gig.

(QNYC): What were you doing prior to this? Other bands … solo stuff?

(JL): Pretty much everyone has been in other bands, some solo stuff too. Eran was working with Front 242 back in the day.

(QNYC): I know that in addition to writing and playing, Eran also produces. Does anyone else in the band branch out into other facets of the music business?

(JL): Pretty much only Eran. Marcel is a full time actor and sometimes gets music related parts.

(QNYC): If you weren’t making music, what would you be doing?

(JL): Wishing I was making music.

(QNYC): You’re a New York based band. But, some or all of you aren’t native. What drew you to New York? How long has it been home?

(JL): No-one is native, perhaps only Bobby, he’s from NJ. It’s been home for many years for most of us. Eleven for myself, I came by chance in ‘94 and couldn’t stay away, moved here in ‘97. Eran’s been here since he was seven, Marcel about as long as me and Ian a few years too.

(QNYC): Has being in New York changed how you view things? Made you more jaded?

(JL): New York kicks the shit out of you one day and then gives you candy the next. But, I wouldn’t say I was jaded, cynical yes, but New York’s not to blame for that.

(QNYC): What have you been listening to most recently?

(JL): Just got the new AC/DC album, love it. Doves, Elbow & Massive Attack always … Ray LaMontagne, Feist, The Duke Spirit, Glasvegas.

(QNYC): What’s next for the band? Touring?

(JL): Working on new stuff, no plans to tour, too expensive … unless we get to open for an established act.

(QNYC): Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions. In parting, is there anything you wish to say to your fans … old, new & future?

(JL): You’re welcome. We love that anyone enjoys the music and especially like to hear them say it. So, feel free to drop us a line anytime or say hi at a show. Cheers.

My thanks once again to Mr. Love for taking the time to answer my questions.

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