A big thanks to Chad Radford, and Flagpole Magazine in Athens, Ga. for the support of David J's show on Tuesday, 9/20 at The World Famous, with The Hot Place as opening act. You can click here for ticketing.
A nice bit in CL's Crib Notes today by Chad Radford. The David J Atlanta Living Room show is coming up in a few weeks. The Hot Place will be warming up the crowd with a few acoustic tunes. It's an intimate show, and sure to sell out soon, so don't forget to engage that ticketing link!
Photo: Uncut Magazine rates Lost at Sea reissue "9 out of 10."
Read more about The Glenn Phillips Band in a recent Creative Loafing Atlanta article.
Lisa King of The Hot Place talks to DJ Hermès Helena about the making of the band's second full-length album, and working with Jeff Calder & Robert Schmid of the Swimming Pool Q's, along with Mike Lynn.
The Language of Birds by The Hot Place (No Big Wheel Records) is among David Bash's Top 125 Albums, in his "Best of 2014" lists. The record was produced by The Swimming Pool Q's Jeff Calder, who also plays guitar on the album and performs live with the band. Featured both on the recording and behind the kit live, Robert Schmid of the Q's plays with The Hot Place on drums. Mike Lynn rounds out the lineup on guitar. Special Guest Richard Lloyd of Television makes an appearance on two songs from TLOB. Congrats, all!
Thanks to Ali at Buttonhead for this fantastic interview with Lisa King of The Hot Place! Ali made our pinback buttons for our LP Release Party and Kickstarter packages. Visit her shop online and on Etsy if you ever need buttons, magnets, custom temporary tattoos, and more!
Thanks to Bobby Moore for the interview with The Hot Place in Creative Loafing's "Crib Notes", Nov. 14th 2014!
New wavers' in-studio chemistry ignites the Hot Place
Posted by Bobby Moore on Fri, Nov 14, 2014 at 5:47 PM
When it came time for veteran Atlanta musician and songwriter Lisa King (Unminded, Threshold) to take a batch of solo songs into Southern Tracks Recording, she rounded up some old friends, including local New Wave staple Jeff Calder (Swimming Pool Q’s). The process of bringing her ideas to life using vintage instruments in a modern recording studio found King’s recording project,the Hot Place, gelling into a proper band. The unit forged while recording its debut The Language of Birds LP makes its second live appearance at its Sat., Nov. 15 album release party at Little Tree Studios. King and Calder recently opened up about the origins of the band and how they landed a guest appearance on the album by legendary Television guitarist Richard Lloyd.
Just for clarification, did the Hot Place start out as a solo project for Lisa? If so, or if this decision came earlier in the process, how did you decide to collaborate with Jeff?
Lisa: The Hot Place started out as a nebulous collection of songs I had written between the early ‘80s and the present. But when we began working in the studio, it became clear that this was more than just a recording project — it was becoming an actual band. I wanted to bring together a group of professional musicians and record an album the way the Cure or Echo and the Bunnymen would have in about 1984. Growing up in Atlanta, I was of course familiar with the Swimming Pool Q's, and I liked the new wave styling of the group, so I knew Jeff would understand the sound I was looking for with my project. During the Q's Blue Tomorrow years, Jeff worked with the British producer Mike Howlett (who cut “I Ran” by A Flock of Seagulls), so I was confident that he could help me create an authentic post-punk experience at Southern Tracks Recording, which had the best collection of analog tape machines and vintage gear in the city. I had already worked with Jeff musically, playing keyboards with the SPQ's during their Royal Academy of Reality era in the early 2000's, so I knew it would be easy to collaborate with him both musically and as a producer for this project.
Jeff, how much had you been exposed to Lisa and her music before this project?
Jeff: I knew about Lisa’s work with her band Unminded. Later, when she was playing keyboards with the Glenn Phillips Band and the Swimming Pool Q’s, I became aware of her newer songs, which I thought had a terrific creative vision, though I felt they could benefit from the focus that comes with brushing up in the studio. She had very definite ideas about the attitude she wanted to project, and how she wanted things to sound, in line with her goth and post-punk aesthetics, which I understood pretty well, having survived the original 1980s wave of deep flanging and continuous delay. I contributed a few lyrics and guitar parts, but this was her album. She performed nearly everything except drums, which were played by Robert Schmid (Swimming Pool Q’s, Kevin Dunn). I think I was most effective as an organizer and as an intermediary between Ms. King and the engineers, helping communicate her, at times, arcane ideas and finding common ground with modern rock’s recording methodologies, which easily can become overwhelming.
The material you sent me makes this sound like a recording project that might lead to the occasional show. Are you guys going to play regularly, a few times a year, or is that still up in the air?
Lisa: We debuted at the International Pop Overthrow in September, and I believe we'll start playing out regularly, including some regional tours. In the studio, we realized it was very comfortable playing together because we had already all played with each other over the past two decades, in different combinations: Our guitarist Mike Lynn and I were in Unminded, and I played with Robert and Jeff in both the Glenn Phillips Band and the Q's. So we had a lot of live chemistry right off the bat.
The press releases you sent me already read like some of these songs took shape over time. Lisa, are you constantly working on new material? If so, is there a chance some of it might become the Hot Place songs down the line?
Lisa: Right now all of my songwriting focus is on material for the Hot Place. Unlike some of the songs on The Language of Birds, which I had been toting around from the past, we are writing new songs for a second record more as a band. I really look forward to creating collective material with Jeff and Mike, who are both strong songwriters themselves, and I’m inspired by the energy that Robert brings to the drum kit.
What I think would interest a lot of readers is the Richard Lloyd collaboration. How long had you all known Richard? How did he become part of the record? What was it like working with him?
Jeff: I was at Southern Tracks studio in Atlanta when he was recording with my friend Matthew Sweet in the late '90s. Then, in 2008, Glenn Phillips and I opened for his band in Savannah. I held on to his business card, so, when Lisa insisted that Richard play on “Saturn Moved” — given its cosmic subject matter and Richard being an “alchemical guitarist” — I called him on the spot and asked if he would like to do it. He said he “had a lot of planes on the runway,” but he liked the tune nevertheless and cut a solo for it on his own in Manhattan. At Southern Tracks, we mixed it into the song, just as you hear it. Richard was a pleasure to work with — even by mail. Very professional. A true artist. He has a tart sense of humor and is a brilliant, if unorthodox, guitar instructor.
The Hot Place plays a record release show with Kevin Dunn and DJ Gori on Sat., Nov. 15 at Little Tree Art Studios. Free. 7 p.m. 2834 Franklin St., Avondale Estates, GA 30002.
A nice piece on The Hot Place by Georgia Music Magazine, for their Fall 2014 issue.
Members of Television, Pool Q’s Converge In The Hot Place
NOVEMBER 3RD, 2014
Two members of The Swimming Pool Q’s (including group leader Jeff Calder) combine with two former members of an Atlanta-based group of the 1990s called Unminded to make up The Hot Place. The group’s ten-song debut album, The Language of Birds, is now out on tangerine-colored 12” vinyl, with a coinciding release show scheduled for Nov. 15th.
Led by singer/songwriter/bassist Lisa King, The Hot Place create striking, reflective pop-rock, dreamy and seductive with dashes of measured volatility. King is joined in The Hot Place by her onetime Unminded bandmate Mike Lynn along with Calder and his Pool’s Q’s comrade Robert Schmid. Additionally, guitarist Richard Lloyd, best known as a key member of pioneering New York City band Television, guests on two cuts.
Free to the public, a release party for The Language of Birds is being held Nov. 15th at Little Tree Art Studios, 2834 Franklin St. in Avondale Estates, just east of Atlanta. The event begins at 7 p.m. with an opening set from veteran Atlanta guitarist Kevin Dunn. Copies of The Hot Place’s record will be for sale.
Ladies and Gentlemen, Jeff Clark has spoken. You guys pick up a print copy of Stomp and Stammer magazine while you're out and about in THE ATL. The Hot Place gets a mention in this month's 18th Anniversary Issue (Nov. 14). You'll find us in the Support Our Troops section.
"The debut LP from Lisa King's long-simmering group The Hot Place is finally out in a fancy tangerine-color 12” vinyl package showcasing ten cuts of seductive, impeccably crafted pop-rock with a smudge of goth-girl eyeliner. The mood throughout The Language of Birds is largely wistful, the songwriting is top-notch and the sound, production, and musicianship are pristine, which is no surprise considering the veteran players she's enlisted (Jeff Calder and Robert Schmid from The Swimming Pool Q's, guitarist Mike Lynn from King's 90s group Unminded and ex-Television guitarist Richard Lloyd guesting on two tracks) and the time and work they've all put into this project. After only making their debut performance in September at the Star Bar, this month they're throwing a record release party at Little Tree Art Studios in Avondale Estates. The Nov. 15th event is free, BYOB and non-smoking. Copies of the vinyl will be for sale, and because there weren't enough old men already involved, Kevin Dunn will also be playing."
Support Our Troops
Stomp and Stammer, Nov.14
18th Anniversary Issue
A very nice Creative Loafing "Crib Notes" article about The Hot Place, from September 15, the Monday after our debut at the International Pop Overthrow festival at The Star Bar, in Atlanta.
The Hot Place sizzles on debut LP
Posted by Bobby Moore on Mon, Sep 15, 2014 at 10:04 AM
Following the Hot Place’s Sept. 12 live debut as a part of the Star Bar’s International Pop Overthrow, the group unveiled a solid first LP with The Language of Birds (No Big Wheel Records). Comparisons to '60s loving throwback acts are unavoidable, as the overall vibe of the album evokes the slick sounds of garage mainstays Detroit Cobras, with less bite and more saccharine. Also, singer and bassist Lisa King’s voice is reminiscent of pop legend Leslie Gore. But the album does not strictly pay homage to one era. Album highlights such as “Run Away Today” and “20th Century” give an updated twist to equally catchy new wave and college radio influences, creating a sound that's both fresh and familiar.
The recording project-turned performing band is the creative vision of King and producer and guitarist Jeff Calder, best known as a founding member of new wave rockers the Swimming Pool Q’s. Rounding out the lineup for the LP is guitarist Mike Lynn and original Swimming Pool Q’s drummer Robert Schmid. Further adding to the group’s legitimacy Television guitarist Richard Lloyd makes a guest appearance on the song “Saturn Moved.”
You can now stream the recent 2 part extensive interview with Lisa King of The Hot Place with DJ Hermes Helena in real time on YouTube! Looking for something interesting to listen to over coffee? Just hit the play button! LK talks about recording her debut album The Language of Birds at Southern Tracks studio in Atlanta with Jeff Calder of The Swimming Pool Q's, her vintage Joe Maphis Mosrite and Fender VI Basses, her artist-owned label No Big Wheel Records, how to make vinyl in 2014, and her philosophy of art rock.
Blog Talk Radio-Arts Talk Interview #104 with Lisa King and Jeff Calder of The Hot Place
With hosts Dennis and Duane Johnson-5/19/2013
Arts Talk with the Johnson Brothers is a weekly online live blog talk radio program where the brothers interview artists, musicians, actors, dancers and other creative people.
Arts Talk: Today our guests are musicians Lisa King and Jeff Calder. Welcome to the show Lisa and Jeff.
LK: Hi, how's it going Dennis and Duane. Nice to be here!
Arts Talk: So Lisa, give us a little background into how you got started in music, and when...and all of that.
LK: Well, I have a long history of writing songs that actually started in my teens in high school. I started playing piano when I was around five, and even as a small child I wrote little ditties on the piano and on my xylophone which I both adored. When I was about 13 one day my Dad came home from work with an Ovation acoustic guitar, and I thought, “Wow, okay, here's my chance. I'll get to learn to play guitar and I can rock out with all my punk rock friends in garage bands!” So, I did like a lot of musicians, and I got myself a Mel Bay Chord Book and I learned all the first position chords that I could and I started writing songs immediately.
Actually two of the songs on my new album, The Language of Birds, “Run Away Today” and “Two Steps Ahead” were some of the more sophisticated songs [that I put together in high school], I guess if you can call three chord rock and roll “sophisticated!”
I went quickly from acoustic guitar to electric guitar, because I decided I wanted to play at Cop Calling Volumes! My first rig was a Telecaster blasted through a Fender Twin amp, so I wanted to play really, really loud. So, I started playing in garage bands in high school. My first band was a punk band called Grave Shift. I played with my friends Travis Kotler and Rob Knight. Travis went on to play with an Atlanta band called Pineal Ventana, and he recorded with Steve Askew at Microgroove Studios. My friend Rob is now a really popular tattoo artist (Rob Knight Ink) and a drummer [who played with The Blacktop Rockets in Atlanta.]
Grave Shift, 1988-Rob Knight, 2nd from left, Travis Kotler, Far Right-photo by Lisa King
So, I rocked out in those garage bands, and moving on through there I started realizing there were a lot of guitar players around, and if I really wanted to stick around I needed to learn how to play bass. I was always attracted to bass, and bass lines, and the grooves of most songs, so I picked up a bass, and actually I didn't have a bass rig. So, I just plugged in to my Marantz stereo speakers, and I still don't know how I didn't blow those. But I started rocking out the bass and playing along with a lot of post-punk bands like The Cure, The Jesus and Mary Chain, and The Church, and I started playing bass that way.
Arts Talk: You went to college and studied Prinkmaking there, right?
LK: I did. First, right out of high school I went to SCAD, I went down to Savannah, at the Savannah College of Art & Design. Then, I came back from Savannah back to Atlanta, and I studied with Larry Thomas [at Georgia State University], and I fell in love with Etching. So, I earned my BFA in Printmaking and Painting, and studied with painter Ralph Gilbert. I went up to Canada for a while, and I learned a lot of non-toxic etching techniques with Keith Howard, up in Peace River, Alberta, Canada. Etching, especially in a home studio, can be really toxic because you are dealing with stuff like nitric acid, and toxic grounds on your plate, so I started focusing in on non-toxic etching and went from there.
Shall We? - Electrik Engraving by Lisa King, 2005
Arts Talk: What was it that guided you towards Printmaking instead of Music as a study during school?
LK: Actually, while I was in college I did play. I played with a band called Unminded. I played with my friend Andy King on drums, and my current guitar player, Mike Lynn. Mike was in a band called Betty's Not A Vitamin in the late 80's and early 90's with Ivan Ruyle [on bass]. So we were all rocking and rolling [as Unminded] in college. So I was kind of working in tandem with painting and printmaking, and playing in Unminded. So, actually I did them both at the same time.
But I was always attracted to handmade books and bookbinding, and there was just something about etching . I love to draw, and there was just something about the process, because you really don't see what you are doing until you pull that first print. And I always found that really intriguing. You're working on the plate and you are manipulating this [metal] plate with acids or directly engraving. I do a lot of electric engraving right on the plate. I saw a lot of similarities between that process of building a song and making a print. So, they worked really well for me, to work in tandem.
Unminded-1995, Vic Richard, Andy King, Lisa King and Mike Lynn, photo by Peter Heckman
Arts Talk: Are you still doing a lot of artwork?
LK: I haven't been doing a lot of stuff, I have been doing some drawing and painting. But, I'm really immersed right now in The Hot Place working on some live rehearsals. Robert Schmid, who was the Swimming Pool Q's original drummer plays drums with us, and again, Mike Lynn, who has been playing guitar with me for over a decade [is playing with us], and Jeff, we are all working on getting our live show together with the band. So that's what I have really been focusing more on. Just getting ready to play live, and working with The Hot Place.
Arts Talk: Talk about your new album a little bit. How long did it take you to work on this, or how long have you been working on it?
LK: We went into Southern Tracks Recording around 2008-2009. During the “early 00's” I played keyboards with The Glenn Phillips Band. Glenn Phillips is a well know Atlanta guitar player, who played with The Hampton Grease Band in the '70's. And I've always been a fan of the new-wave scene in Atlanta, Pylon, R.E.M., the B-52's, and The Swimming Pool Q's, and I started playing keyboards with the Q's, when they released [their album] The Royal Academy of Reality. And so I started working musically with Jeff around that time. I presented him some songs, he listened to some of the demos that I had been recording in my home project studio, and I asked him, “Would you like to make a record? Would you like to produce it?” And he said “Yes,” so we went into Southern Tracks in 2008 with Robert and with Mike, and we started laying down the tracks that would become The Language of Birds.
Jeff Calder and Lisa King, beginning The Language of Birds in 2008-Photo by Lisa King
Arts Talk: Jeff, give us a little bit of your background.
JC: Well, I started the Swimming Pool Q's in 1978, and we put out a record in 1980-81 called The Deep End, it was our first album that was on DB Records which was a pioneering Atlanta based new-wave independent label who put out The B-52's first single, Pylon, Love Tractor, and many records from the Atlanta and Athens music scene. The Swimming Pool Q's have continued into the present day. We had two records in the mid-eighties on A&M Records, which that is a forthcoming reissue later in June. We have made records in the intervening years. And I have a background as a writer before that in the 70's.
I've been a studio...um...”rat” for a long time. I helped manage Southern Tracks Studios for many years. And that was a lot of fun. I love being around recording, whether I am the one doing it, or someone else. I just love the studio.
The Swimming Pool Q's-1980, photo by Richard Perez
Arts Talk: Jeff, have you worked with Matthew Sweet?
JC: Matthew and I are close friends. I haven't worked with him, but I did fairly extensive liner notes for his album To Understand, it was a compilation of all of his early recordings. So we are good friends, and I like him quite a bit. I was in Southern Tracks whenever he made two albums in the 90's, Blue Sky on Mars and 100% Fun.
LK: And guitar player Richard Lloyd [of Television] has worked a lot with Matthew. And Richard is actually playing on a song on our album, a track called “Saturn Moved”. We met Richard both at Southern Tracks, and The Glenn Phillips Band was opening up for Richard Lloyd in Savannah. In 2007 Richard put out an record called The Radiant Monkey, so we met Richard and talked to him, and we thought that he would be perfect to play the solo on “Saturn Moved”, which is kind of angular. [It was influenced by] a show I had just seen, Robert Fripp, he had just played a show and I think I was the only girl in the Variety Playhouse at that show. He had a Q&A section and I raised my hand to ask a question, and Fripp goes, “Oh my god, it's a girl!” But, Richard and Matthew have a history of working together, so they were both at Southern Tracks at different times, and so we had both met Richard Lloyd that way.
Arts Talk: Outside of Alternative Rock, who are some of your biggest influences?
LK: Well, my early influences were [from] listening to my parent's record collections as a child. I loved The Doors, Pink Floyd, The Eagles, Jimi Hendrix. Probably the most obvious influences for me are the post-punk, goth, and new-wave bands like The Cure, The Church, Siouxsie and the Banshees, and The Jesus and Mary Chain. I still listen to a lot of that. There are a lot of new records out right now by a lot of those bands. Skinny Puppy just put out a new record that sounds absolutely fantastic. I've been listening a lot to the new S.W.A.N.S. record. David J of Bauhaus/Love & Rockets has a new album out that I've been listening to a lot. The new Johnny Marr record, The Messenger, I've been listening to that and “Upstarts” is a really incredible single off of that album. One of my favorite things right now is by a friend's band, Ian Webber. He is an English musician living in L.A., and he has a band called The Idyllists. His new album has a great title, The Grave and Unfortunate Life of Lord Hoffway and his Magnificent Piano. Ian was in a band called The Tender Idols in the 90's here in Atlanta. But it's a beautifully recorded album, with really fantastic songs. It has a Euro-pop new-wave feel. Also a friend of mine, Tiare Helberg has a new EP called Black Unicorn, which features one of my favorite guitar players, Marty Willson Piper and some other members of The Church and the Brian Jonestown Massacre. Our recording engineer Steven Morrison, who recorded and mixed most of my album, he played on a track [ on The Language of Birds ]called “Nighttime Summerman”-a beautiful piano solo, some vibes and 12-string-he has a band called Six Shot Revival, which I would call “a whiskey fueled apocalypse of Southern Rock!” They are a great band. They are playing on my birthday, on May 31st here at The Masquerade at the Georgia Music Awards Showcase, which is going on. So, I've been listening to a lot of Steven's stuff. So it's really diverse. I listen to a lot of different things. A lot of jazz. A lot of punk and new-wave. A lot of indie and power-pop. A pretty wide selection of things.
Arts Talk: Let's go ahead and play one of the songs off of your album The Language of Birds. Then we can talk more about the production of it. This is “Petals of Ruin.”
LK: All right! That would be great!
Arts Talk: Very nice!
LK: Thanks! That's the song that we've currently recently officially partnered with World Goth Day, and we're giving away a free download of “Petals of Ruin” right now at thehotplaceband.bandcamp.com. You can go there and follow the links, or go to worldgothday.com/events and you can check that out if you'd like to download a free copy of “Petals of Ruin.”
Arts Talk: Do you have a website where people can go to check out your music and art?
LK: Yes. Currently the entire album The Language of Birds was released May 1st digitally. You can go to thehotplace.bandcamp.com to download the record. We also have an official website at thehotplaceband.com. And for information on The Swimming Pool Q's you can go to swimmingpoolqs.com.
Official World Goth Day poster-May 2013-Designed by Lisa King, photo by Jason O'Donnell
We are really excited about our partnership with World Goth Day this month. A lot of people don't know that World Goth Day is actually a National Awareness Day that is celebrated every year on May 22nd. It's a really cool event that was started back in the UK in 2009. BBC Radio 6 was spotlighting a number of musical subcultures like darkwave, post-punk, and goth, and if you are familiar with BBC Radio, and especially I think of John Peel and the Peel Sessions. The BBC has always had a long legacy of supporting bands like The Fall and the Joy Division, and The Cure did some John Peel Sessions. So, in 2009 DJ's Cruel Britannia and Martin OldGoth started World Goth Day, which helps raise awareness of [the problem of bullying] and supports tolerance towards alternative subcultures. World Goth Day supports several charities, one is the Sophie Lancaster Foundation. Its a brutal story, but Sophie and her boyfriend were actually murdered in a park in Lancanshire, UK in 2007. And the police believe the attack was provoked because the couple were wearing gothic clothing, and they were pretty outspoken members of the goth subculture. So, if you are interested in that [charity] you can visit sophielancasterfoundation.com and worldgothday.com for more information. So, this Wednesday, May 22nd, we're asking everybody to join us and “get your goth on!” Pull out your eyeliner and go to your local goth night at your local club and rock out!
Arts Talk: And go download your free song!
LK: Yes! It's a free download, and it's up right now and it will be up until the end of the month (May 31st.) It's on our Bandcamp page, and if you just go to thehotplace.bandcamp.com you'll see the World Goth Day logo, the little smiley face wearing Siouxsie and the Banshees makeup. Right now our whole album is downloadable with artwork in its entirety for $10, and we have a pre-order in place, because we're going to be pressing heavy audiophile vinyl of our album in Tangerine Orange, so you can go pre-order that, it will be $29.99 on our Bandcamp site. So, if you want to spin The Language of Birds on vinyl, you can go there to do that.
DJ's Cruel Britannia and Martin OldGoth-The Founders of World Goth Day in conjunction with BBC 6, 2009
Arts Talk: The artwork for the album looks really great.
LK: Thank you! I worked with an Atlanta graphic designer, Ash Arnett, we collaborated on that. The photograph was taken by a guitar player that was in an Atlanta band The Sightseers, who Jeff worked with, Jason O'Donnell. He did the cover photo for that. Ash did the graphic design for the Swimming Pool Q's double CD reissue The A&M Years that will be coming out on Bar-None Records on June 25th. While we are talking about the Q's, they will be playing Smith's Olde Bar in Atlanta on June 15th. They will be celebrating their Jade Anniversary, their 35th Anniversary.
The Language of Birds-Album Cover-Design by Lisa King/Ash Arnett, photo by Jason O'Donnell
Arts Talk: So you'll be having a busy birthday coming up.
LK: Absolutely! And The Hot Place will be playing some shows this Summer and Fall in Atlanta, and in Athens, and some dates around the Southeast, so you can check our website and we'll have all of that information up on there. And we'll have CD's and T-Shirts and hopefully some Orange Vinyl with us as well.
Arts Talk: When you are talking about music, and the different areas that music is real popular in, or there is a lot of music being made, Atlanta is not always one of the biggest areas that comes up. But there are a lot of good musicians and singer/songwriters out of Atlanta.
LK: Atlanta has always had a very diverse music scene. Right now we have retro-lounge acts like Kingsized, who kind of remind me of Brian Setzer, they are a rock and roll orchestra and they play a lot in conjunction with Dames-A-Flame Dancers. We have some great bands here. There's a lot of garage rock, like some friends of mine called The 45's. They are kind of a throwback to like, Lenny Kaye's Nuggets Collection, and they are a lot of fun. They play a lot of festivals. We have a lot of [bands in Atlanta such as:] Mastodon, The Manchester Orchestra, The Black Lips, Deerhunter, and there are bands like Sugarland, which would be more like pop-country. So, it's really a diverse music scene in Atlanta. It has a really rich history, like we mentioned R.E.M., Pylon, The B-52's...there is still a real active music scene here, through the 50's, 60's, 70's, 80's and beyond. It's a really exciting place to be, and there's a lot of great clubs, and a really positive, supportive scene.
Lisa King (far left) & Tim Delaney (Second from left- Owner of Electron Gardens Studio) playing with The Swimming Pool Q's-2004 at The 40 Watt Club, Athens, Georgia. Jeff Calder, Bob Elsey, and Anne Boston pictured. Bill Burton on drums. Photo by Andy King
Arts Talk: Talking about positive supportive scenes, you're a member of the Theme Music Group that Dennis and I are a part of. Has that had any sort of big influence on what you are doing now musically?
LK: Well, for the listeners who might not be aware of what Theme Music is, I think the best description I could give is that it is a closed Facebook group started by singer/songwriter Matt Brown. I would call it an “artists collective” really. It's musicians from both U.S. Coasts who post weekly videos and songs, and now originals, and covers, based on a weekly Theme. But my involvement was very early on last summer, I had just finished recording The Language of Birds, so for me it was a lot of fun to take some time off and learn some cover tunes that I had always wanted to figure out. I think the thing that makes the biggest impression is that it's really inspiring to meet a group of people who just really, really love music. I've met you guys, I've met some lifelong friends in the group, and I think it's just full of loving, beautiful people who really just shine. I think it's inspiring to meet people who are so positive and supportive about music, and supportive of each other.
And for the people listening, it's a closed Facebook group that is kind of a “safe place” where singer/songwriters can go to and receive positive influences and input about their performances, so I think the best way to learn about the group is to [listen to] the interview you guys did with Matt Brown, I think it was #73 in your back catalog, and the group did a live event here last October called “Themestock,” and I believe this October they are going to do “Themestock II.” So, I think if people Google “Themestock” and kind of keep their eye out, I think you'll see the group have more of a “public face” leading up to that event. But, what was lifechanging for me was just meeting some of the beautiful people that are involved with the group, and the support, and the overwhelmingly positive vibe that the group has.
Arts Talk: So Jeff, are you a member of the Theme Music Group?
JC: Um, no, I'm not...
LK: Jeff made some appearances in the early days! (laughter). Mike and Jeff both [did a few things with me.] The Hot Place actually did a few things. We did an XTC song, and some Cure, I think we did [Motorhead's] “The Ace of Spades.” I think Jeff and I had a highlight, when we did “She Sells Sanctuary” by The Cult. I was next to Jeff with a whip. Learning that guitar part; He did a fantastic job on that.
JC: Yeah, I nearly had to go back to college to learn that...(laughter)
Video still of Lisa, Mike, and Jeff from The Hot Place performing for Theme Music, Photo by Lisa King
LK: He did a great job. But you know, it's amazing how time consuming it is to learn some songs that you go into it thinking, “This is going to be really simple” and then it turns out being a lot more complicated than you think. And, Jeff, I know you're really busy with The Swimming Pool Q's, and with The Hot Place, and with The Glenn Phillips Band, so Jeff plays with three bands, and I've also been in that similar situation. When we came out of the studio last summer we started rehearsing together as a band, but when we went into the studio it was myself with a lot of songs from my project studio, and those songs really evolved and they started to breathe, and get a life of their own as we worked together as a band. So, I think when you are working that hard on a record, and then you're pushing that into a live act, it takes a lot of time. Your best friends become your band and your engineers. I think Miles Davis once mentioned how your world becomes your band and your engineers and the people that you are working with, and the studio. Jeff did an extremely fantastic job as a producer for this album. This was my first experience working in a large studio, and having somebody there that can communicate with you, and with your engineers, and with other band members and keep things moving forward...someone who can tell you when to stop and when to push yourself...that kind of experience when you're working alone in your own project studio...you don't get that kind of experience. So, Jeff did a really fantastic job and really stepped up to the place as the producer for my project.
Arts Talk: When you're setting up your playlist for your live show, obviously you're going to cover The Language of Birds, roughly how many songs to you plan on playing? Do you do a lot of covers as well?
LK: In Grave Shift and Threshold, my two high school bands, we did about half and half. We did some covers because we were just learning our instruments. So we were learning how to play by learning songs. Unminded, in the 90's, we played all original material. The Hot Place is the same way. As far as putting a set list together it would depend on how much time you have onstage, but really right now we are going through the album in the order of the way the songs are presented on the record. Because we put a lot of time into ordering those songs. I was really interested in trying to make the whole project feel like an album, instead of a collection of singles. I really like classic albums like Dark Side of the Moon or Disintegration by The Cure, so I really wanted it to have an album feel. And there's a real trend right now for bands touring to play an album in its entirety. And I love that. Concrete Blonde just came to Atlanta a few years back and played Bloodletting, and The Church came and played Starfish in its entirety. And I know Peter Murphy was touring the west coast playing Deep in its entirety, so I kind of like that feel of presenting a whole album. But I think that if you're in an opening slot you have to be prepared to play about six songs. The record is ten songs, and I really liked that length, although we have a bunch of bonus material that we will be releasing on CD. But I really liked ten songs was a really great classic album length. You have a Side A and a Side B, and when I ordered the songs on the record I was really thinking in terms of Side A and Side B. I think every band has a few cover songs that they like to default to. That's when it's really fun for the band. Sometimes your audience [with a new band such as ourselves] are not as familiar with the material, and it's fun to throw in a cover song here and there because the crowd really enjoys that. They get to rock along with it, and it's a song that they recognize.
Robert and Mike of The Hot Place-Live Rehearsals Summer 2013 at Electron Gardens Studio, photo by Lisa King
Should we play another song from The Language of Birds?
Arts Talk: Yes, let's do “Begin the Fall.”
Arts Talk: Very Nice. You guys did a great job on the production [of the album.]
LK: Well, thank you! We worked with some fantastic recording engineers [at Southern Tracks], Tom Tapley and Steven Morrison, and Greg “Fern” Quesnel, who has worked also with The Swimming Pool Q's. [We also worked with audio editor Tim Delaney at Electron Gardens studio in Avondale, Georgia.] And a lot of that is the also the wonderful production skills of Mr. Jeff Calder.
Arts Talk: Great job, Jeff!
JC: Thank you sir! Thank you very much.
Arts Talk: Jeff, we're going to have to get you back on for your own show, so you can talk about your work in The Swimming Pool Q's.
JC: You can count on me. Anytime. I'm at your service!
Arts Talk: Well, Lisa, we're almost out of time. Are there any last things you want to talk about? Any other events coming up?
LK: The main thing is that I just hope everybody comes out and helps us celebrate World Goth Day this Wednesday, May 22nd. And if you want to see The Swimming Pool Q's they will be playing June 15th here in Atlanta at Smith's Olde Bar. You can visit all of our websites at thehotplaceband.com and you can get that free download of “Petals of Ruin” at thehotplace.bandcamp.com. And, you can keep in touch with the Swimming Pool Q's and their release on Bar-None coming up on June 25th at swimmingpoolqs.com. We really enjoyed talking with you Dennis and Duane. Hope you guys have a fantastic day!
Jeff Calder at Southern Tracks Recording, Atlanta (third from left) with Stone Temple Pilots DeLeo Brothers, photo by Tom Tapley
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