The Hot Soles. We’ve talked previously about this band. Three gigs (The Harley, Club 60, The Bowery) and also as a wake up song (yup). The three gig reviews done by three different writers, all enjoyed them live. So it was natural to get an interview with them.
Which got delayed several times. Then it was recorded. The camera failed twice during recording. Then the transcript file was corrupted and had to be typed up again. The photos were fine, mind you. Anyways, tl;dr. We take a seat way on the back of Delaney‘s beer garden. It’s a quiet table with a parasol, way on the back. It was an eventful interview. We got interrupted several times by fans, friends and well wishers. One particular exchange went:
Girl: “Oh, is this backstage?”
Kieran: “Yeah, we’re on an ruddy interview, but it’s all good!”
Kieran was joking but the girl walks away apologising (not distressed though).
They refer to this a “audio gold” and we all chuckle. They’ve known each other for quite a while, but I do inquire when was their first gig as The Hot Soles.
Richard (drums, cool mustache) : First gig, Soyo, September 2010.
Kieran (voice, guitar, sweet vest): That’s our first Sheffield gig. We did another one before, but we never speak of it. We don’t speak about our first gig. I pulled the lead out of my guitars, that’s why I went wireless. Hands free!
Another friend of the band and his wife come by and say hi. Yes, this happens a lot. We spend a few minutes chatting about their live show and the usual shenanigans that occur (like when Kieran walks amongst the people while still playing). Then the fella notices the camera. He asks if it’s an interview, Richard says yes and we all laugh. He apologises and leaves.
Let’s go into influences, shall we?
Richard: My influences come from funk and soul. I’m heavily into Queen.
Kieran: The vocal side for me is Queen.
Richard: We are two-man Queen!
Kieran: Don’t say that!
Richard: Two-man Queen!
Kieran: Edit it!
Richard: Uh, we go for a groove sort of thing.
Kieran: Vocally, Freddie Mercury. A little bit of Michael Hutchence. Female vocals, I think Aretha Franklin would be my choice. I like to think I have good taste, I’m very stubborn to listen to new stuff. The first Police album is for me energetic and very raw. Jack White as a guitar player, but not too much White Stripes. Brian May too, of course, can’t leave out that since I’m a Queen fan.
Richard: Don’t leave out Queen!
Well, Brian May has got a PhD.
Kieran: Yeah, in stargazing!
What about your guitar gear? You have wireless and you like moving around.
Kieran: It comes natural with practise to take care of a lead, but I went wireless because when you play live is not about… dunno … It’s all about performance, you need to put up a show. Gear? I like subtle effects. I try to stay as closes as I can to Gibson. It’s only two of us, so two amps should be the better approach for a bigger sound.
Do you plan to stay as a two band?
Kieran: I only see us as two. It’s easy because of our personalities to be only two. Being a duo, well, people will tie you to Black Keys or The White Stripes, our conscious decision is to write in a different pathway, not sound like them at all.
Richard: When we played together, someone mentioned Black Keys and I didn’t know who where they, it’s not where I come from. We are a two piece so it’s easier for them to put us on that category.
I’ve never heard Black Keys, it’s on my to-hear list. They had a funny cover last year, though, and that caught my attention. Funny you mention being compared, because the first time I saw you, I thought about The Blues Brothers. Are you on a mission from God?
What’s your plan for music? Record, EP, more singles?
Richard: We want people to listen to our stuff, really. We are young as a band, so we want to get the live part first and then gradually go into recording as the songs develop. We need to try to capture what we are live on record.
Kieran: Not “as is” as there’s no visual aspect on a cd or a record, but we want something that is exciting. We don’t want to just jump into it. If we want to release something that people will buy, we want to be worth it. It’s their money. For real. We still are in talks about our release but we need to concentrate first on recording and the people’s reactions live to see which material works best.
If you managed to cross that barrier, would you go for a single, an EP or an album?
Richard: A single, maybe?
Kieran: An EP at first. If I had money and studio time, I wouldn’t record stuff willy-nilly but would love to do an album.
Let’s go topical, what was your experience with Tramlines?
Richard: Absolutely unbelievable. Couldn’t have asked for a better timing. Both gigs were great. DQ was packed. Then on Sunday we did the Nokia unannounced, it was a big stage. I know a lot of people who wanted to see us at DQ couldn’t get in. It’s frustrating because you know they made it out of their way to see us and missing it messes their time.
Then the ex-owner of Nottingham Pub, Richard (top fella) comes by and talks for a big while with us. He remembers me when I talk about the place. We talked about the spider, of course. We talked about Tramlines a little bit more. He wishes us well after the amiable chat.
What do you think of the current situation in Sheffield, with several venues closing?
Kieran: Good question. This is a deep one. It’s the same city, though. You go through stages. We are from Rotherham, we had 3 or 4 venues and now it’s only 1 and it’s more of a covers band venue, which is not a problem…
Richard: So when we come to Sheffield, it doesn’t look as bad in comparison! It’s bad losing all those venues but makes people to focus into certain places, like Soyo on a Monday night.
It’ll come around.
Richard: People will find something and latch upon that, support it if it deserves it. The Soyo night is mint, the Bowery is mint, both putting live music.
So about the Rotherham thing, someone said it’s the new Berlin. Where does that idea comes from?
Richard: I saw someone from Fallen Trees with a t-shirt saying that but I don’t know where it comes from. Looks good on a t-shirt though.
Kieran: We shall make it our mission to find out for you.
Richard: Rawmarsh is the new Amsterdam!
Kieran: Is it? Ewan park is the new Kentish Town! No! Give me something Brussels!
Kieran: Yes. I got one for you: Why in every espionage film they go to Prague? Think about it for a bit!
Because of Radio Free Europe? The one transmit pro-capitalist propaganda when they had socialism.
Kieran: THAT’S IT!
Kieran hits the table, the camera jumps and falls down and makes weird noises.
Anyway, Radio Free Europe I know because R.E.M. reference it in a song.
Kieran: Every day is a school day!
Wheneve you are making a song, is it lyrics or music?
Kieran: I can make stuff on guitar, but you might come to a point when you are too familiar and doing the same thing. So we try getting a melody first, then a song. Lyrics would come last. I’m not good at lyrics…
Kieran: ‘Call the regulator’ came almost at the same time with the music, but it’s more first music, then lyrics. Find a move on your body, see what makes people sway and then write on that. James Brown songs always had this groove on ’em. There’s this song by Dave Grohl on The Colour and The Shape where the riffs makes you hop. He said he wrote it for people to jump around.
Richard: If we turn up and play and there’s no reaction, we have to go back to the drawing board.
We talk about the circle of death: people in England acting all reserved and distant from the stage whereas in Mexico they jump a lot and push to the front. Richard says it’s about getting into the music, Kieran thinks it more about cultural background. All this was garbled due to the camera going weird.
What do you plan to get from music?
Kieran: Inspiration. A general reflection on personality.
Richard: If a band believe in what they do, what they are playing, that’s all. It takes pressure from you, the viewer and enjoy it too.
Kieran: I know some people have moody personalities, and that’s cool.
Richard: It will channel into their instruments.
As long as you get a connection with the audience, that’s cool.
Kieran : We need to gauge an audience so if it’s out of our demographic, we still need to play without compromising too much. Not everyone is gonna like what you do, you can’t change that. If you worry too much about it, your initial good feeling will fade out like that.
You can’t fill out everyone’s expectations.
Kieran: This is gonna sound stupid but if there’s a big expectation…it’s never an easy job. You can’t stay in a comfort zone, move around and see what happens.
It’s always a hard, dark crossroads: if you change too much, people will tune out and if you stay the same, they get bored.
Kieran: True, true.
I thank them for the interview and even get them to record a bumper for our podcast in Spanish, Radio Chaneque. I almost leave but then ask one final question.
Wait, where did the name The Hot Soles came from?
Richard: That’s an answer we can never tell. That’s what happened to the other member.
That explains the bass buried outside.
They nod and wink. After the interview, the band rocked out Delaney’s , then went to play London and Plug (opening for Kate Jackson Group). They’ll be playing Soyo on November 7th (RSVP).
Words: Sam J. Valdés López