Interview: Hot Chelle Rae — "My iPhone makes the Lightsaber sound when I pull it out!"
Tue, 23 Feb 2010 08:34:34
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"We tried to make an album that's worth listening to from front to back in a singles world," says Hot Chelle Rae singer Ryan Keith Follese.
Mission accomplished. The band's debut Lovesick Electric is bound to send shockwaves throughout the modern alternative rock scene. From top to bottom, Lovesick Electric remains a rollercoaster. Songs shift from infectious, danceable choruses into distorted instrumental twists and turns. Hot Chelle Rae have got the power to change rock 'n' roll.
For now, they just want to go sledding though. Ryan laughs, "We're getting our biggest snow storm that we've had in a long time here in Nashville. It's pretty awesome. I'm thinking about going sledding here in a little while. I've got to get out there and take advantage of this!"
So before he ran to the hills sled in hand, Ryan sat down with ARTISTdirect.com editor and Dolor author Rick Florino for this exclusive interview about the stories on Lovesick Electric, a rather inspiring letter and why Star Wars rules.
Lovesick Electric is very visual. Do you feel like you're telling stories lyrically?
That's awesome that you would say that because no one has actually thought that or said that to us before [Laughs]. We wrote a few of the songs to hopefully paint a picture. It's pretty awesome you noticed. I do see a lot of the lyrics as thematic.
Is there one consistent theme that runs through the album or is it just a snapshot of life in general?
It's basically a snapshot of life. Some of the songs are more near and dear to the heart, but most of them are snapshots of our lives.
"Bleed" definitely hits. What's the story behind that one?
Thank you! "Bleed" is definitely a personal account for sure. It's actually weird. There aren't any rules or boundaries to how we come up with songs. We wrote a song for our record called "Let Down." We recorded it, but it didn't actually make the record. While we were writing "Let Down," we hit a snag. Sometimes when you're writing, that happens and you get sidetracked. When you have a couple of ADD writers in a room, you start to think about other stuff. I started to play the riff for "Bleed" on guitar. Then I walked into the other room and recorded it. It actually turned into the song it is now a couple weeks later.
Were those lyrics something you had written for awhile?
It's funny because I'd actually written something along the lines of those lyrics in a letter to a girl. I didn't actually get to say what I wanted to say in the letter so I decided to do it in song. I think it conveys emotion much better than just writing it down on paper.
Songs can convey emotion better than anything because they're like short novels.
I totally agree with you! A long time ago, John Mayer said, "You'll learn more from me by listening to my album than you would be doing an hour interview with me." That's really the truth when it comes to songs. There are no boundaries to songs, and you can convey a feeling. You can make someone feel what you feel if it's done in the right way. I don't think you can do that in any other form.
Your sound can get dance-y and fun, but you're also saying "something" on tracks like "Bleed."
Our biggest struggle forever was trying to find a sound. The minute that we stopped worrying about finding a sound, the sound found us. You can put a collection of songs together on a record that are all meaningful and you're proud of, and it will sound like "you" no matter what. The second we stopped worrying about it, we realized that all of our songs were going to sound like Hot Chelle Rae, as long as we write them from the heart.
That's all you can do!
What's the story behind "Last One Standing?"
That's actually an interesting thing. "Last One Standing" is the most cinematic song on the record. This is going to sound so cheesy, but we wrote that song from the perspective of Twilight. I had read the books, and I hadn't seen the movie yet. We wrote the song from the perspective of two people trying to being forced apart due to the circumstances of the life that they're in, which is what the book is about. We tried to convey it as best as we could. We tried to create a movie scene in that song.
Are you especially looking forward to the Sherwood and Owl City tour dates?
I'm very stoked! Over the past weeks, we've played a couple shows with Owl City. They were incredibly nice to us. Some of them are Nashville natives, and we have a lot of mutual friends. Those shows were amazing. We're very excited for the Sherwood tour too. Everyone's fans are definitely different. We're looking forward to playing for some of our own fans and meeting some new people. In all of our eyes, Warped Tour is a rite of passage. You've got to do it to even be legit [Laughs]. We are more than excited. We're playing on the Kevin Says stage, and we're super stoked to be out there. I've been to Warped before, and it's a pretty gnarly experience.
Given the album's cinematic undertones, what are your favorite movies?
My favorite movie of all-time is Star Wars. I have a top-ten funny movies and a top-ten action movies. I love Requiem for a Dream. You don't really feel that great after you watch it, but it's such a fantastic movie. It's made so well.
You can't beat Star Wars! It's got everything.
[Laughs] It does! My iPhone makes the lightsaber sound when I pull it out. I just love Star Wars.
Check out Rick Florino's new novel Dolor available now for FREE here…