Listen closely to Hot Hot Heat, and you may be surprised to learn that for their latest single, the dance-rockers have cribbed a page from the playbook of America's heartland rocker, Bog Seger.
But while the Vancouver, British Columbia, quartet isn't exactly shilling for Chevy, it is fitting that Hot Hot Heat's next single, "Middle of Nowhere," laments losing love to the rigors of the road just as they prepare to hit American highways for a new tour.
"I haven't slept a single night in over a month/ And not even once did you start to make sense to me," singer Steve Bays howls on the track, whose sentiment is reminiscent of Seger's on-the-road classic "Turn the Page."
"I was putting my cards on the table and got to be more honest," Bays said of the group's new record, Elevator. "['Middle of Nowhere'] deals with feelings of emptiness and loneliness ... so it definitely highlights that attempt to be honest. It's a love story, a true love story."
To go along with that story, Hot Hot Heat just finished shooting the video for the song, which gets its inspiration from a classic '60s film directed by Michelangelo Antonioni and was created using vintage film equipment. "The whole thing is based on the movie 'Blow Up,' "drummer Paul Hawley said. "It has this feel of an old film, and it's being edited like a film, not [with] fast, flashy rock video cuts. It's mod without being too mod."
The stylish video also attempts to have some visual heart and soul to it, something Seger might be proud of. "We had to connect with people on this emotional song," Bays explained. "So we said, 'Let's have the video connect with people.' So the video tries to actually have a bit of an impact emotionally, which is hard to do in three and a half minutes."
In fact, much like the whole recording process of Elevator, the anticipated follow-up to the breakthrough Make Up the Breakdown (see "Hot Hot Heat's Ups And Downs Inspire Elevator"), the band said they felt pressure to make the "Middle of Nowhere" clip live up to the song.
"To say that we're totally secure people would be a lie," Hawley said. "I'd like to think that everyone has a bit of 'What the hell am I going through right now? What does my life mean?' I mean, I think that's just what happens when you're in your mid-twenties."
Still, just talking about the apprehension and worry that often surrounds the difficult second-album hump can make it communicable.
"We never started feeling pressure until people started asking us, 'Did you feel pressure?' and [by then] the record was already done!" Hawley said. "I'm going to start campaigning to have the word 'pressure' removed from the English language."
Still in the midst of a Canadian tour with Louis XIV and the Futureheads, Hot Hot Heat will launch an American leg of the trek on May 20 in New York. According to a representative for the band, the excursion will be supported by Robbers on High Street.
Hot Hot Heat tour dates, according to a band spokesperson:
- 5/20 - New York, NY @ Webster Hall
- 5/22 - Philadelphia, PA @ The Trocadero/ Balcony Bar
- 5/23 - Boston, MA @ Avalon
- 5/26 - Cincinnati, OH @ Bogart's
- 5/27 - Columbus, OH @ PromoWest Pavilion
- 5/28 - Cleveland, OH @ Scene Pavilion
- 5/30 - Detroit, MI @ 89X Festival
- 5/31 - Milwaukee, WI @ The Rave
- 6/1 - Minneapolis, MN @ The Quest