Besides being at the forefront of yet another recent musical movement, the Canadian quartet Hot Hot Heat just might be able to break Artsweek’s habit of cracking totally unfounded Canadian jokes on the basis of them being, well, purely Canadian. See, it’s just so easy to “blame Canada,” as the “South Park” movie merrily sang, and, honestly, who knows the difference between Winnipeg and New Brunswick? And who still uses territories? Point being that Hot Hot Heat, hailing from Victoria, graciously handed over its bassist, Dustin Hawthorne, so that he might be able to shed some northern light on why we Yankees need to wise up and prepare for the Heat.
“All people think about [Canadians] is ‘Canadian Bacon’ the movie or Nickelback,” Hawthorne said. “And when people ask me where I’m from and I say, ‘Victoria,’ they’re like, ‘What? Detroit?'” and I have to explain where it is or just point out Vancouver.”
Besides Hawthorne, Hot Hot Heat consists of Steve Bays on vocals and keyboard, Dante DeCaro on guitar and Paul Hawley on drums. It was after the breakthrough success of the EP, “Knock Knock Knock,” that the almost-four-year-old band finally released “Make Up the Breakdown” in October. It didn’t take but a whiff of the spastic, fiery dance-punk created by Hot Hot Heat for critics, as well as major label Warner Bros., to begin clamoring for more. All this taken into consideration, locals might have found themselves boggled upon hearing that this burgeoning band is coming to one of the most obscure local venues, the Hard to Find Showspace in Goleta.
“When I found out we were playing [in Goleta], it kind of caught me off guard,” Hawthorne said. “But at the same time I was totally stoked. I’ve been to Santa Barbara before once, in like 1996, and I loved it. It was an absolutely fabulous city. The scene was really cool.”
With cheeks now blushing, the interview forged on, though all those little aboots scattered in sentences suddenly started sounding almost appealing. More important than ogling over quaint accents, though, is understanding the point when a band begins its ascent and is suddenly “bigger,” or, in this case, “hotter” than they once were.
“It’s kinda cool going back to spaces like that,” Hawthorne said. “I grew up in the punk/hardcore community, and we’re used to playing in small clubs where you’re just playing on the floor or on a little riser that’s like a foot tall. It makes it feel like it’s just that much more crazy when everyone is practically falling on the stage.”
That crazy, frenetic release is something blaringly present in Hot Hot Heat’s music, but evermore integral in the band’s live show.
“Expect a freakout, more or less,” Hawthorne said. “There is a lot of energy. A lot of energy, actually. We’ve been cooped up in a van for like four or five hours at a time, and it definitely helps with that.”
Touring with bands like the Pattern, Radio 4, Moving Units and, currently, the Walkmen, seems to have helped spark notice as they grace the pages of Spin, Rolling Stone and rotate their current single, “Bandages,” through MTV2. Even still, it’s only a matter of time before anything not n