The Hot Place is a four-piece dark psychedelic rock band from Atlanta, Georgia. The band was formed by Lisa King (vocals, bass, keyboards) and Jeff Calder (lead guitar) in 2008. Jeff Calder is a founding member of the well known new-wave act, The Swimming Pool Q's. Joined by Mike Lynn (Betty's Not A Vitamin) and Robert Schmid (The Swimming Pool Q's) in 2011, the band recorded their first LP, "The Language of Birds" at the legendary Atlanta analog studio Southern Tracks Recording. (Clients include Bruce Springsteen, Pearl Jam, Matthew Sweet, and Bob Dylan.) Guest guitarist Richard Lloyd, formerly of the proto-punk band Television, played on two album tracks, "Saturn Moved" and "Petals of Ruin (reprise)." After a selection of live shows in 2014-2015, the band is now recording their second LP at Electron Gardens Studio, with engineer Tim Delaney. The Hot Place has recently played a series of live living room shows in 2016, as opening tour support for gothic/post-punk artist David J, (founding member of Bauhaus/Love and Rockets.) They continue to support David J on a Southeast leg of his "Vagabond Songs" tour, in June of 2017.
Lisa King has completed her debut album The Language of Birds. She calls her group The Hot Place.
LK: A patrolman apprehended the boxer Jack Johnson for speeding through his little town. He fined him $100 on the spot. Jack said, “Here’s a $100 for now and another $100 for later, because when I come back through, I’ll be driving just as fast.” The cop said, “Boy, if you keep acting like that, you’re gonna’ go straight to the Hot Place.” I thought, now that is rock and roll, and that’s what I’m going to name my band.
She began work in 2008, alternating between her snug ADAT studio and Atlanta’s Southern Tracks Recording (Stone Temple Pilots; Pearl Jam; Bruce Springsteen; Matthew Sweet; Rage Against the Machine).
LK: Southern Tracks has a serious history. Mixing my post-punk and slightly gothic sounding background with their professionalism made for a very unique experience. I think recording in a big, one-room studio like that can never be duplicated in a small Pro Tools suite. The amount of Rock 'n' Roll juju that’s in the building, that’s in the wires and on the microphones, is something that a sensitive artist can feel, harness, and transform into magic.
Lisa wrote all of the songs on The Language of Birds. Although inseparable from her Mosrite bass guitar, she also played a roster of instruments, some raised from a steamer trunk of vintage guitars and analog synthesizers; others sprang from her wild antique menagerie like the 1920s Marxophone and the calliope-sounding Portatiev.
LK: I started piano when I was 5, although I did like my air organ and xylophone. I picked up a bass around 13. I ran it through my Marantz stereo speakers and learned bass lines by The Cure, Jesus and Mary Chain, and The Church. I started writing songs at a pretty early age, and right off the bat I found that crafting my own artistic style was very important.
Opening The Language of Birds is the cinematic “Petals of Ruin,” featuring an on-edge Mini Korg synth line mixed with a paisley whiff of 12 string guitars. The melody haunts you again as “Petals Reprise”, closing the album in a déjà vu of whirling tamboura drones.
LK: “Petals of Ruin” is about the disintegration of old habits of being and overcoming negativity. It captures a bit of Euro spy-thriller. I wanted a different version of the opening song to end the album to keep a cyclical feel.
The shimmering guitar pop of “Run Away Today” is the first song that Lisa wrote.
LK: They’re the first chords I learned on the Ovation acoustic my Dad gave me. It’s like a breezy, convertible top down sunshine day, but it’s full of young girl angst about running away from home.
Situated in the field of Titan, special guest Richard Lloyd of Television performs the guitar break on “Saturn Moved”.
LK: It’s a song about alchemy, which Richard picked up on right away—the cosmic sway. The album title comes from a line in this song, “Saturn awakes to the language of birds/And reclines on the shoulder of morning.”
“Nighttime Summerman” is a seven-minute circle of psychedelic pedal steel.
LK: It gets you into a trance and makes you miss your exit. It was the first time the album began to sound beautiful to me.
Lisa grew up listening to her Dad’s Ventures’ albums, which influenced the Spanish surf bending of “Really Not True”.
LK: It’s a bullfight throwdown, like a matador with a Jazzmaster in a Picasso etching.
“20th Century’s” Fender Bass VI twang crosses cowboy with New Order. It appears on Birds in stereo and mono versions.
LK: I built the song around a tremolo part on my favorite guitar, The Fender Bass VI. Our mastering engineer, Rodney Mills, was working at a time in the 1960s when recording was far simpler, with only 3 or 4 tracks of information. After tweaking “20th Century” for a while, he raised an eyebrow and said, “Lisa, I’m not sure if you were thinking in mono when you did this song.”
A force for continuity on The Language of Birds is the HH solid-state amplifier. Pink Floyd used the HH in the film Live at Pompeii, and it became a signature sound for Marc Bolan of T. Rex and for Daniel Ash of Bauhaus. A rarity on American soil, the amp was imported from Glasgow especially for this project, and its buzzy distortion enhances the slight punk sarcasm of “Sad.”
LK: “Sad” is about being betrayed by your friends, and you’re not mad, you’re just…disappointed. It’s my only guitar solo on the album, and I guess you could say it sounds kind of Neil Jung-ian.
The album finishes with the cactus juice slide guitar-based “Begin the Fall” and “Two Steps Ahead”
LK: “Begin the Fall” started as a Tele/ Vox AC-30 and Tremulator picking part which was very hypnotic, and I had the lyrics and vocal melody right from the beginning. As the song developed in the studio at Southern Tracks, the bass line started to move into a dub-reggae style, because I was playing my Fender Jazz fretless bass.
LK : I think of “Two Steps Ahead” as a walk down a California Boardwalk soaked in sunshine. It combines equal parts Nico and Brian Wilson.
Lisa may have begun The Language of Birds by herself, but she hopes it feels more like a band called The Hot Place. She co-produced the album with The Swimming Pool Q’s’ Jeff Calder, who also played guitar, and contributed his multi-instrumental diversity within the album. The Q’s Robert Schmid played drums. Southern Tracks’ Steven Morrison mixed most of the songs and performed on piano, 12-string and vibes. Mike Lynn, formerly of Betty’s Not A Vitamin, was a contributing guitarist, as well.
Lisa King has a degree in Fine Arts from Georgia State University, specializing in cutting-edge printmaking disciplines like non-toxic etching and lithography. She’s been a member of the Atlanta bands Unminded and Threshold, and she’s played keyboards with The Swimming Pool Q’s and Glenn Phillips of the Hampton Grease Band.
Lisa King: email@example.com
Official Website: http://www.thehotplaceband.com
Hear our Album Streaming or Purchase our Record on Bandcamp:
Artist: The Hot Place
Album: The Language of Birds
Produced by:Lisa King & Jeff Calder
Recording Engineers: Steve Morrison, Tom Tapley, & C.J. Ridings at Southern Tracks and Lisa King at No Big Wheel Studios, Atlanta GA
Assistant Engineers: CJ Riddings, Daniel Pope, Darren Tablan, and Steven Kaiser
Editing & Additional Recording: Tim DeLaney at Electron Gardens, Atlanta GA
Mixed by: Steven Morrison at Southern Tracks with additional mixing by Greg “Fern” Quesnel and Tom Tapley
Mastered by: Rodney Mills at Rodney Mills Masterhouse, assisted by Matt Leatherman and Rob Dyson