Late last month, when Hot Work dropped their debut EP Clean Living, we were immediately on board with their 60’s-inspired garage-rock sounds.
So fresh off the EP’s release, we caught up with the band to chat their origins, early rock n’ roll, and Sydney’s thriving garage music scene.
Fresh off the release of their debut EP Clean Living, we caught up with Sydney outfit Hot Work to chat the origins of their name, the Sydney garage scene, and early rock n’ roll.
HAPPY: Hot Work, what’s with the name?
RILEY: We struggled on a picking a name for a good 6 months. I personally love it, but we still get people telling us that it’s a shit name. But what band name isn’t terrible? Plain White Tees could be a sweet band name if the music didn’t suck.
MIKE: I wanted us to be called Coldplay. But a band in England beat us to it.
LIAM: Such a shame.
MIKE: It actually came about, well… my housemate claims that it was her idea to do the opposite of Coldplay and to be honest, I’m not going to challenge that, but yeah, turns out the opposite of Coldplay is Hot Work. So, that’s what we settled on.
RILEY: I think it’s ultimately about making the music good enough so that the name becomes irrelevant.
HAPPY: How did the band come to be?
LIAM: Mike and I shared a flat in Enmore after Mike moved to Sydney from Wellington and we just started jamming together and showing each other songs. Jack and I had been mates for a while and were in another band until that ended. We just keep saying we should all get together and jam sometime but never did… and here we are.
RILEY: Yeah, I’d met Mike at a house party like 3 times and each time he was like “I got this mate Liam who plays guitar we should have a jam soon.” But it wasn’t until we all met randomly at a party in Redfern that we finally locked it in. It was like Harry Potter when he finds all the Horcruxes… it was that big of a moment.
MIKE: Did you just reference Harry Potter??
JACK: Rock n’ roll!
HAPPY: You’re sound is unmistakably early rock n’ roll. What drew you to the 50’s as inspiration for your sound?
JACK: 50’s and 60’s rock n’ roll just has this magic to it. I think it’s because recordings were just people in a room giving it until they got the perfect take. It’s a high stakes game that only the best performers could do well.
LIAM: It was a weirdly romantic and emotional time in music. Everybody was singing about love and heartbreak and that was considered edgy but that’s not really the case anymore hey?
MIKE: Yeah, we love playing around with those old 50’s rock and doo-wop tropes and giving them a bit of modern spin. The old crooners were always talking about ‘their’ women in a possessive way and I’m not about that, so we like to create characters in the songs that highlight just how pathetic that kind of attitude is.
RILEY: Yeah all that… and The Phantom.
HAPPY: So run us through the debut EP, why the title Clean Living?
MIKE: It’s kind of an ironic title because it really has nothing to do with Clean Living as the term is coined today. We’re not exactly drinking kale smoothies or going on fun runs. It was more a way of collecting our attitudes towards being people today.
RILEY: Yeah, rock n’ roll especially can have this real bro-y culture and we’re not really big fans of that. I personally haven’t drunk beer out of a shoe. Have you guys?
JACK: Not for ages
RILEY: It’s probably a bit of a pompous thing to admit out loud but Clean Living is more of a morality thing… you know, trying not to be a dick and having your conscience be clean as a result.
MIKE: Yeah, I don’t want to be preachy about it so I’m just trying to keep it simple. I like to use a lot of irony in the lyrics so I can have a bit of fun with them.
HAPPY: Sydney’s buzzing with rock n’ roll at the moment, especially this 60’s inspired garage, psych and surf rock. Where do you guys feel you fit in the mix?
MIKE: We didn’t really start out with any specific intention to be a part of a scene but it’s been great to play alongside some really amazing bands in Sydney. The Rosa Maria guys gave us our first support slot and just through seeing them play a bunch of times we’ve discovered some real shit hot bands.
JACK: …Straight Arrows.
LIAM: I feel like we’ve got a bit more of a poppier lean than most. Our tastes within the band are so varied that I think we can’t commit to a single sound for very long.
JACK: Nor should it. I reckon it should keep evolving.
HAPPY: So can we expect to see Hot Work on the stage soon?
MIKE: Most definitely.
JACK: Yeah we are lining up as many dates as we can over the summer.
RILEY: Hot Work needs the heat!
EP Launch Date:
Thursday 29th Nov – Lazy Bones Marrickville