Interview: Hot As Sun
Fri, 12 Apr 2013 11:51:28
"That's my dog Sugar Cookie Jackson in the background," says Hot As Sun singer Jamie Jackson of the barking in the background. "We rescued her a few years ago. She's an American bulldog-Lab. She's currently protecting us from a squirrel."
Luckily, that squirrel didn't cause any serious damage because Hot As Sun are one of the most scorching bands out there right now. Their newest offering, Night Time Sound Desire, merges shimmering melodies with immersive soundscapes. It's easy to let it envelope you, and you'll be desiring that feeling over and over again.
In this exclusive interview, Hot As Sun—Jamie Jackson [singer, songwriter, composer], Deborah Stoll [lyricist, megaphonist, visual artist], and WAZ [songwriter, guitarist]—talk Night Time Sound Desire with ARTISTdirect.com editor in chief Rick Florino…
Did you approach the album with one vision or vibe in mind?
Jamie Jackson: Actually, it took us about three months to get the proper order. We took it song by song, and then we surfaced at the end. We were actually wondering, "Is this thing going to fit together?" We actually included every song we recorded. A lot of artists record a lot of songs and then they choose the best. We had fallen in love with all of them, so we were hoping to find the order that made it all work. We started to finding simple through lines that would connect each song, whether it would be a vocal style or certain synth I used. It ended up telling a story once we did find that perfect order.
WAZ: It's eclectic, but we thought there was a flow from start-to-finish. Sometimes, with an album, everything has a similar sound. Especially for Jamie with all of the different instruments she was using, it was important for Jamie to create a through line, yet also cover a lot of different genres.
Jamie Jackson: We gave ourselves permission to have songs that are different. I was inspired by Gotye's album, Making Mirrors. The songs are all so different, but with his presentation, everything worked together. It was important for us to have an album with a broad scope though. We decided to go for it.
What's the story behind "So Many Times"?
Jamie Jackson: That's my favorite! We were out late as a band one night into the wee hours. I came home, and I was pretty beat up from the night before. I watched Who Is Harry Nilsson (And Why Is Everybody Talkin' About Him)?, and I got really sad. I love Harry Nilsson's sad love songs. "So Many Times" started to come out. My favorite moment on the record happens in this song. I didn't want the last vocal note of the song to ever end. I wanted the note to ring out forever. We did a little technical trick on that. It came from a really sad intimate place that inspired me. I felt like I had the opportunity to do some orchestral work using synthesizers, which is my favorite thing in the world to do. Thank you for noticing that song.
Where did it come from lyrically?
Jamie Jackson: I'm happily married. Sometimes, you have ups and downs—not necessarily in my marriage—but I tapped into this sadness. I was feeling really sad that day, and I went with it. You're imagining what it would be like without the person you love. I don't know. It just came out of nowhere.
Where did "War With Time" come from?
Jamie Jackson: You get brownie points for picking my favorites [Laughs]. Deborah and I worked on the song together really closely. It started out as a song about the struggle of time and career and fighting to make it to the end. Then, it turned into this thing with Deborah and I. Then, WAZ got involved. Deborah had so many words that we were like, "We have to simplify it. How can I sing so many words?" We were calling it our "Gangster Song for A Woman's Biological Clock". We had the bells at the top of the song. WAZ helped us carve out some lyrics that said what we wanted to say. He wrote the melody on the verses, and I absolutely fell in love with it. We were running out of time. It was a "War With Time" to get it on the album, but it made it.
Is it important for you to paint pictures with the songs?
Deborah Stoll: I think the three of us work well together because we come from different places. We all have a sensibility that works together. I'm super visually influenced and motivated. We would have some kind of movie or visual looped while we were in the basement working on a song. The tripping scene from Midnight Cowboy would play on a loop. We'd pick things out that had the vibe of what we were trying to go for so we'd be in that space for the song.
Jamie Jackson: I can give you a visual for "So Many Times". It's from The Big Blue. It's about deep sea diving. In the last moment of the film, one guy is so connected to the ocean that he dives, disappears into the water, and goes away forever. That's one of my favorite films, and it really inspired me for "So Many Times". You should watch it!
If you were to compare the album to a movie or combination of movies, what would you compare it to?
Jamie Jackson: That's a really good question!
Deborah Stool: As an overall for me, Lost in Translation comes to mind in terms of a movie that's so musically driven. The music in Lost in Translation is so perfect for the feeling of the movie. That one always gets me. I don't know if our album is right for that film, but it comes to mind as a movie with such a perfect score. I can't imagine that music without the music. I think we gravitate towards that moodiness.
Have you heard Hot As Sun?