- 12 Songs
- See album details
Hawthorne and Bays had been in many different bands together since 1995 and met Hawley in 1998. In 1999, Hawley bought a Juno 6 keyboard and asked Bays to try playing it, as no one else knew how. Hawley took over the drums from Bays and Hawthorne played bass. Matthew Marnik, who was a friend of the band, sang vocals. The band's original sound can be considered synthpunk.
The band soon changed direction to a more melodic, pop-influenced style, losing Marnik and adding guitarist Dante DeCaro. Strongly influenced by the New Wave sound of 1980s bands XTC, The Clash, and Elvis Costello and the Attractions, the new lineup, with Steve on vocals, quickly released a series of 7" singles and toured extensively in Canada and the American Pacific Northwest, joining up with similarly-styled indie rock bands such as Les Savy Fav, The French Kicks, Radio 4, Ima Robot, and Pretty Girls Make Graves, and opening for established Canadian rockers Sloan on a national tour.
The band's touring exposure attracted the interest of Seattle record label Sub Pop, who signed Hot Hot Heat in 2001, leading to the early 2002 release of EP Knock Knock Knock, produced in part by Chris Walla of Death Cab for Cutie. Although Hot Hot Heat got its start as a hardcore band, by the time it made contact with Sub Pop, its sound had mutated into what would soon be known as dance-punk. The band stood at the forefront of a movement that would explode on the indie rock scene within another year. That release was followed up quickly by the band's first full-length release, Make Up the Breakdown, produced by Nirvana and Soundgarden producer Jack Endino.
That album quickly found critical acclaim, and its singles "Bandages" and "Talk to Me, Dance With Me" received regular airplay on MTV and radio, including influential Los Angeles, California station KROQ, on whose charts both reached No. 1.
However, their track "Bandages" was removed from radio in the UK, from the playlist at BBC Radio 1, in the light of the war in the Middle East. This was thought to have hindered its position at #25 in the UK charts. The track had been on the B list on the station, guaranteeing 15 plays a week and a potential audience of millions. It was removed because of a "prevalence of the word 'bandages' in the song", a spokesperson said.
In 2003 the band re-released the 2001 album of tracks recorded prior to their Sub Pop recordings, Scenes One Through Thirteen, on the OHEV Records label. Reflecting the band's transition period between their original sound and the present, and thus very much unlike what fans had heard on Knock Knock Knock and Make Up the Breakdown.
In 2004 Make Up the Breakdown won "Favourite Album" at the Canadian Independent Music Awards by popular vote. Guitarist Dante DeCaro announced his departure from the band in October 2004, but stayed to complete their next album, and in 2005 joined Montreal band Wolf Parade. That album Elevator, the band's major label debut, was released commercially by Warner Bros. in April 2005. Dante handed over to replacement guitarist Luke Paquin when the band started their 2005 tour.
Hot Hot Heat played an opening set for American synth rock group The Killers at Red Rocks Amphitheatre on May 17th, 2007. However, The Killers were forced to pull out after three songs because lead singer Brandon Flowers was suffering from bronchitis.
The follow up to Elevator, Happiness Ltd., was released on September 11, 2007. In late March 2007, the band posted the song "Give Up?" on their MySpace page as a sample of the album, and it was released on iTunes as a single on May 15th. A second single entitled "Let Me In" was released on July 16th.
Hot Hot Heat toured in 2007 with Snow Patrol as their opening act on the U.S. leg of their summer tour. Their headlining tour of Germany, Canada and USA started September 3rd, 2007.
"Let Me In" debuted on KROQ at number 8. On August 8, 2007, the music video for "Let Me In" premiered on Myspace Music. Also, on September 6, 2007, Hot Hot Heat posted their new album on their MySpace.
Hot Hot Heat is currently working on their latest studio album which is expected to be finished in November 2008 with Parker Bossley from Fake Shark - Real Zombie! on bass. They are expected to go back on tour and release the album in early 2009.