Kevin Winter, Getty Images T.I. and Lil Wayne are teaming up once again, only this…
- Posted on Jul 12th 2010 3:30PM by Richard Trapunski
"When people talk about maturing, that's usually synonymous with starting to suck," lead singer Steve Bays tells Spinner. "It's doing something safe, something stock. We're more immature than ever and, if anything, we've devolved."
After a tepid critical reception greeted their last two pop-leaning albums, the band bought their own Vancouver recording studio, cut off all ties with outside influences, and learned to produce and record from the ground up.
"In the beginning it wasn't even about the music really, it was more about getting the right sound," Bays admits. "We were learning to do everything from scratch. We put microphones all over the studio and just recorded everything."
Intrigued by the possibilities a DIY approach would afford them, the band employed a playful, experimental method of recording, integrating everything from a keyboard note randomizer on 'JFK's LSD' to a chopped-up string section on 'Times a Thousand' and an improvised sax solo from a homeless busker on 'Zero Results.'
"Paul (Hawley) wrote this awesome guitar riff [for 'Zero Results'], but we couldn't figure out how to make it work," Bays recounts. "Then one day we were listening to the riff on a loop and we heard this guy busking outside on his saxophone, and he just so happened to be playing in the same key as the song. It just sounded so perfect that we had to invite him to come play in the studio.
"We ended up smoking a ton of pot with this homeless guy and recorded him playing through four different microphones set up throughout the room," Bays continues. "The next day I spent about eight hours cutting it up and treating it more like a collage than a solo. I think it's probably my favourite part on the record."
Liberated from major label pressures (the band recently split with Warner Music), Hot Hot Heat were able to embrace an "anything goes" attitude that had been missing from their recent efforts. For every experiment that ended up on the album, there were a dozen that didn't work. But Bays says the band didn't let that discourage them from trying anything and everything they could.
"When you're paying (for) an engineer and a producer and a studio, you can't afford to try something that doesn't pan out," Bays says. "In a normal scenario, that's a $500 mistake."