Exclusive: Life On The Sideline EP announcement, music video premiere

Since releasing Honesty Is A Dying Breed two years ago, Life On The Sideline has remained active on the road and is now ready to unveil its upcoming EP, Never Settle. To kick things off, we're premiering the music video for the band's new single, "Echo", which tells the sad story of a young girl reminiscing times spent with her deceased partner. While not a pop punk song per se, it's as catchy as one with an infectious chorus that you'll inevitably get stuck in your head. The band's sound could be compared to that of Transit's and The Early November's. Fans can pre-order the EP on iTunes and CD here, before it's released on June 7th. […]

Friday, February 1, 2013

Interview: Hot Damn

The collective voice of the pop punk scene within the UK has grown and become more boisterous in recent years, constructing a bold relevance within the general flourishing scene. One of the bands which are set to cement themselves within these paves in the near future are South Wales natives Hot Damn. With two EPs and a split under their belts, the Welsh young hopefuls are set to seize the attentions of the masses with the new 8-song EP. I spoke with frontman Chris Evans to pick at the brain and gain a glimpse into a band at the height of what is set to be the band's prolific year yet.

Thanks for taking the time to speak with us, appreciate it. Could you start by saying what your name is and what you do in the band, and where the band is from?

Chris: Hey guys, my name is Chris Evans and I sing and play guitar in Hot Damn. We are a pop punk band from Bleanau Gwent, South Wales.

For those who are not familiar with the band, how would you describe Hot Damn, in terms of sound, aesthetic, and what the band’s overall aim is?

Chris: Well we are classed as a pop punk band but there's a lot of hardcore-influenced bits in the music we put out. Basically our aim is to always put out music that we would want to listen to and try not sort of tag on to any trends going round at that particular time.

It seems as though within recent years there has been a strong resonance of pop punk within the UK. What are your thoughts on the numerous bands which have sprouted from the UK, especially within Wales recently (such as Neck Deep, Save Your Breath, etc.), and what this could mean for bands like Hot Damn?

Chris: Yeah there has been a bit of a boom lately for pop punk, I think it’s great 'cause when we started out there was not much of a scene for it around Wales besides bands like Save Your Breath and The Arteries. It was much more metal band-driven, so I think it’s good now how more bands are putting out good quality pop punk based music like Neck Deep, Forrest and a whole bunch of new of other bands makes for a much more diverse scene without having to go miles away to find one of these shows.

Hot Damn have been active since 2010 and have been prolific during its span, having been granted the privilege to tour with Tag Your Targets last September and Carridale in March. What do you think are the most significant benefits you have gained from going on these tours?

Chris: I think the best things we have gained from touring in the past is just meeting loads of new people and getting our music out to so many people who maybe would never have known we existed before coming to a show, and playing every night as well it just makes the band so much tighter to the point everything just becomes second nature.

With being a pop punk band from the UK do you think there are any hardships a band has to face from the prejudices which are evident within the scene that might hinder a band's success compared to a band in the States? How does the band combat and deal with this ignorant perception of pop punk bands in the UK?

Chris: I don't think we have really had any grief really from people. I think 'cause the pop punk scene is so much smaller than in the States, it is harder getting off the ground but it really comes down to how hard you’re willing to work and how far you're willing to push yourself. I mean you will always get people, no matter what genre of music you play, that have to pipe up and say something negative but you just have to ignore those people and crack on with what you are doing, 'cause for that handful of people that only have bad things to say about what you put out, you can guarantee that there’s a lot more people that will really enjoy what you do, those are who you should be thinking about.

You have just recently finished work on a new EP, titled Sleep Alone, which is due for release on the March 2nd. What were your musical influences were while you were writing the EP? What other influences inspired the lyrical content on the record?

Chris: We all listen do different types of music really, like we all have bands in common we listen to like The Story So Far, Balance And Composure, Such Gold and a few more, but basically how we write is one of us might record an idea or two onto a computer, send it round to the rest of the boys, we all listen and come up with our own bits, so by the time we get in the practice room after that first bit of music is sent out we have already got a solid foundation to work on. Lyrically the new record has a very honest vibe to it, like the opening few lines in Worn Out are taken from a conversation my Grandfather and I had whilst I was in the middle of working on some of the lyrics for the record and each track kind of relates to that, like trusting in someone so much that they eventually take advantage of you completely. I’m not taking credit for them all because myself, Liam, and Morgan all have a part in them. I think the fact that the three of us all work on them helps make them fit so well because its different scenarios being seen three slightly different ways.

In what ways would you consider this a progression from Hot Damn’s previous efforts from the content on it and how it represents this current phase of the band? What do you think is particularly significant about the progression of the band to now with the latest effort, Sleep Alone?

Chris: I see this new record as being a huge step in the right direction for the band, When we recorded This Weather... we sort of rushed into recording it and putting it out. I'm very happy with how it turned out but I feel it didn't really get the exposure we would have hoped for, where as with Sleep Alone we gave ourselves heaps of time whilst writing and waiting to release it to make sure we had everything in place. I think that has reflected on the music for this record a lot.

I noticed you also choose to re-release Willows and Nosebleed, which appeared on your previous EP, This Weather Makes It Feel Like Home, what were the reasons for doing this?

Chris: Again with the 2 b-sides we just thought they are really strong tracks that always go down great live and just thought they deserve to be heard by those who may have never listening to This Weather....

In support of the new EP Hot Damn have also released a video for I Am Not An Island (You Have Nothing to Stand On) . Why did you choose this song as the first single?

Chris: We chose to release the video for I Am Not An Island because we all really love the song and we think it gives a good indication as to what you’re about to hear on this new record.

It was recently announced that the band has signed with We Are Triumphant Records. How did this come about and what was the recruitment process onto the label like?

Chris: Yeah we are all totally stoked about signing to such a good label, it came round just out of chance really. Our guitarist Liam sent Greg of WAT a message and we weren't really expecting anything, just thought it was worth a shot since we were all a fan of the label anyway, then they got talking he said he liked the band, then we sent him Sleep Alone to see what he thought and before we knew it we were signing the contract. It was all a really fast and relaxed process and I have to say we couldn’t be happier with everything right now.

The record label is based in Boston. In what ways do you think this could now benefit the band?

Chris: The fact that the label is based in Boston, I personally see as being a massive benefit since the pop punk scene in the States is so strong right now and it helps us reach out to so many more people and it could give us a chance to be heard by some of our favorite bands and maybe lead to us getting the chance of playing with these bands.

What new opportunities do you hope will be granted to the band now that you have signed with We Are Triumphant Records?

Chris: Hopefully being signed We Are Triumphant might, somewhere down the line, see us touring in the States as well as the UK which would be a dream come true to me. I’m just more than happy with the whole situation right now. We have a great team backing us with WAT and our management I can see this year being huge for the band.

What is set in the future for Hot Damn in terms of touring plans?

Chris: Where touring is concerned we can’t really say too much until everything is confirmed and ready but put it this way - we will be doing our best to get out to as many people as we can nationwide throughout the coming year.

Lastly, why should people go out of their way to check out Hot Damn in the future and keep following the band closely?

Chris: Basically people should check us out if they are looking for catchy, slightly-aggressive honest music. I can almost guarantee they will have the tracks stuck in their head straight away.

Interview by Aaron Akeredolu
Edited by Mario Parra