Hot Hot Heat Talk Their Final Goodbye and Lasting Legacy

Hot Hot Heat Talk Their Final Goodbye and Lasting Legacy
Photo: Joshua Peter Grafstein
Hot Hot Heat should be well into the reunion phase of their career. Instead, though, the Vancouver quartet emerged from hibernation to announce that their latest self-titled record, out Friday (June 24) Culvert Music, will actually be their last.

"It seemed like that was the direction we were going anyway," frontman Steve Bays tells Exclaim!

Their last album was 2010's Future Breeds, and band members have busied themselves with other projects in the years since. "The band felt like it was over, so let's make that a cool positive thing."

While Bays maintains that everyone remains on good terms, he says that he personally was "burned out on making music after that many years of the band format," singling out the promotional commitments that come with an album release. "I want to wake up and work on something new every day."

The band will at least be going out on a high. Hearkening back to the Make Up the Breakdown/Elevator days, Hot Hot Heat feels like a natural progression — one that finds the band embracing their pop instincts.

"I wanted to make a record that I would listen to now. I didn't think too much about the band's image or message," Bays says. "I just wanted some catchy songs that were fat and dirty."

The songs themselves were written between 2011 and 2014 and were recorded twice: first, the band tried to capture them in a similar way to how he and bass player Parker Bossley made their Fur Trade album, which Bays describes as "a production experiment. It was good for the songwriting process, but it didn't feel like a Hot Hot Heat record."

They tried again after Bays, Ryan Dahle and Hawksley Workman made their debut as Mounties. Recording with Dahle, whose studio is next door to Bays', Hot Hot Heat knocked out the tracks in short order while Bays mixed it himself.

The band currently have no plans to support the album, though the idea of a Make Up the Breakdown-themed tour was jokingly batted around after former members Dante DeCaro and Dustin Hawthorne jammed out the record for fun.

Asked what he sees as Hot Hot Heat's legacy, Bays says that he enjoys hearing from peers, like the Killers' Brandon Flowers, that Hot Hot Heat's music was an early inspiration. He also notes that when the band started in 1999, the term "indie rock" — a genre into which they were regularly slotted — meant a lot of different things to a lot of different people.

"Now there's a recipe," he says. "I'm grateful to have come out at the beginning of that and maybe played a role in shaping in. Possibly. Without sounding like a dick."