CelebMix Music Interview: Hot Flash Heat Wave

Back in August, we hit up Outside Lands Music Festival and on the bill was none other than the Bay Area’s own Hot Flash Heat Wave. Doing a home show is a huge deal and even major for the band who grew up hanging out in that exact same place years before knowing they’ll be in front of thousands of people doing what they love. We had a chance to chat with one of the members post-Outside Lands to see what they’ve been up to since then. Check it out.

CelebMix: Hey guys, thanks so much for taking some time out to chat and answer a few questions! For those who haven’t listened to your music yet, can you tell us a bit about how you all got together to form HFHW?
Hot Flash Heat Wave: It originally started with Adam and Nick back in the day in our hometown Davis, California as a way to mess around with a weird sounding keyboard that Nick found in his house. They played garage shows as a duo for fun and then eventually started adding members–like Ted and our former drummer, Clayton–and developed into a full rock band set up.  When Nathan joined in 2014, all members of the band were living in San Francisco and the final formation of the group was solidified. The era of writing & playing the Neapolitan songs began then. All members of the band knew each other from high school / the garage show scene in Davis, CA. Jared, another Davis friend, joined the live performance in 2017 as a synth player.

You guys recently played at Outside Lands in the city where you’re all from! How was that experience like for you to be performing on that stage?
It was a dream come true honestly. Having lived and gigged around SF for years, we had always wanted to play such a big festival like that. It was the first major festival we’ve ever played and the fact that that experience took place in SF gave it a more intense layer of meaning. It was definitely trippy playing on a big festival stage during a classic cool, overcast SF day in Golden Gate Park. We’re used to just hanging out in that park for fun and then come OSL and we’re playing in front of 1000+ people. It was wild.

There are so many bands starting up in the Bay, let alone San Francisco. Was there ever a moment for any of you where you didn’t think you’d make it this far or doubted yourself? How did you overcome it?
We definitely had our doubts for sure. We gigged around the Bay for several years and weren’t really sure what was next, if anything. But we believed if we just focused on our love of music and making good music, then things would just work out. I think that’s how we overcame it – just sticking with it and putting in the work, putting out new music, new music videos, going on tours, and just having fun with it until people started to notice. We eventually got a manager, a booking agent, etc. which helped open up the next chapter for us of bigger tours and opportunities etc. When I look back it seems just to be hard work, patience, having fun, and never losing that connection of why you love music so much, because that’s the main spiritual energy that drives the whole thing and makes it meaningful.

Would you say the Bay Area scene influenced your music in any way? If so, how?
Somewhat. We have a lot of influences all across the board, from different eras, genres and locations/scenes and are more inspired by specific artists rather than music scenes/communities.

You all have some sort of hand in the process of making new music. This includes tag teaming on the vocals for the songs. How do you guys go about deciding who will do what for each song?
Our songwriting approach has evolved over the years but typically how it happens now is that someone in the band writes a song primarily by themselves and then they bring it to the group to jam on and tweak and source ideas/critiques to collaboratively hone it. That lead songwriter tends to sing lead on the track, unless they specifically want another member to sing lead on part of the song for vocal tone reasons.

Individually, who/what influences you? As a band, who/what influences you?
On an individual level, of course our main influence is our personal experience – past events, relationships, struggles, traumas, memories, dreams. Each of us has our own existential paths and I think the songs we think up help us make sense of those paths and our life experiences and help color it all in. Aside from that, some of the members of the band our interested in and influenced by practices like meditation, yoga and Buddhism.

As a band, I think we’re collectively influenced by artists and music that we love. We all coalesce around artists who make cool music and our inspired by them to do the same. Some artists that have inspired us over the years: Ty Segall, Chaz Bundick, Kevin Parker, Ariel Pink, Broadcast, The Beach Boys, Jons, etc.

You’ve guys have been on the road for a while! How has the tour life been and what is the one thing you missed while being on tour?
Yes, it was a long tour! Tour went pretty well honestly. It’s wild and a lot of fun and pretty chaotic at times. We love playing shows and it’s a novel experience and blessing getting to do that night after night. I personally missed on tour all the stuff that I rely on in regular life to keep me sane: yoga, sleep, eating well, nature, solitude, etc.

Now that you have some time off the road, what’s next?
We don’t have that much time off actually! We were booked back to back tours with a little less than 3 weeks in between them. And so it would have been ideal to just rest up, but instead it’s been a mad dash to knock out a bunch of stuff before the next tour, namely finishing up recording our upcoming release (likely an EP, which will be out next year) as well as gearing up for the next tour (rehearsals, getting merch, tour management prep, etc.). We’re touring across the US for 7 weeks with The Frights and HUNNY starting Sept. 8 at the Observatory in Orange County (which is sold out)!

Stay connected with the band: Website / Facebook

Listen to Hot Flash Heat Wave? Let us know some of your favorite songs! Tweet us.

Written by Ashley Bulayo

I reference anything and everything to Lizzie McGuire. Follow me on Twitter + Instagram: @ashleeeybash. I respond 99.9% of the time.