Hot Water Music's Chris Wollard on Exister, The Band's First Record Without "Any Hang-Ups"
When you're a hard touring band, it takes some adjusting to actually get off the road.
Marco Krenn Hot Water Music
Gritty Florida-based punk rockers Hot Water Music have nearly gotten the hang of this, taking a hiatus before releasing its eighth full-length record, Exister. Eight years after its last album, The New What Next, the record is exciting and powerful, the work of a band refreshed.
The melodic punk godfathers are currently in the thick of a tour with Rise Against and The Gaslight Anthem, which makes a stop at Mesa Amphitheatre on Friday, September 28.
We recently caught up with singer/guitarist Chris Wollard to discuss how taking breaks from the band can save friendships, his relief that fans enjoy Exister, and his enthusiasm to be back on the road.
Up on the Sun: How have audiences been reacting to your new material?
Chris Wollard: Ah, it's such a relief [laughs].
Sometimes you put out a record and it takes a while for people to really grab a hold of it. But this record, I don't know what it's been, but as soon as it came out, people started singing along to the songs. We've just been getting great, great responses during the shows and a lot of really great feedback. I don't know, it's been kind of surprising. We've been playing probably five songs a night off that new record. We get to mix in the new stuff and the old stuff, so we're really happy, too. It keeps us pumped up to do new songs.
How did this tour with Rise Against, and Gaslight Anthem happen?
Kind of the same as every other tour, really. We've been friends with both bands for years-- just years and years. It kind of seemed like it was just a matter of time, but getting all three of us on one tour, I give Rise Against props for that, it's their tour. I guess they just wanted to bring out friends. That's kind of what it is, it seems like a regular punk tour to me [laughs], because that's how you usually do it. You just go out with your friends and play clubs, except for this is going to be gigantic, [with shows] at huge, huge places [laughs].
You guys got back together a few years ago, and you've had two hiatuses now. What happened?
[Laughs] Both times? I don't know, I guess it's pretty simple. We just worked, and worked, and worked ourselves to the bone and toured. We never thought about the end, you just kind of kept going. At a certain point, you get sort of burnt out and you need to go home and recharge the batteries. You need to go home and reconnect with your wife and...I don't know, sometimes you don't notice it until it gets to that point where you really need an extended break, [and say to yourself] "I've got to go home."
It's really as simple as that, just giving each other the room to be people and after you're home for awhile, you become friends and, "Maybe we should do some shows, I'm kind of getting bored around here." We've all been friends our whole lives, so they never really felt like break ups to me, just oh, we're going to split up for a little bit and do our own thing and we'll get back together when it feels right. It's always been, both times, it's been the smartest decision in the world. When we come back together, we just feel a lot better.
You go on a nine month tour and at the end of that, you're not doing anybody any favors. You're burnt out, your voice is blown out and your body's just beat down. You take a break, go home and hang out with your family and you come back out. You're there because you want to be, not because you have to be, that's where we're back out now. We're more in control of our schedules and more in control of how much we're touring and when we're recording, when we're writing and I don't know, it just feels like a...that's how you keep it positive, that's how you stay friends [laughs]. You give each other room.