Twelve new originals from Hot Hot Heat, one of the most acclaimed young bands in modern music, Elevator is the eagerly awaited follow-up to 2002's Make Up The Breakdown. It's also the result of over two years of virtually non-stop international touring that earned the Vancouver-based band a fervent worldwide following. "The revolution begins now," was how one reviewer put it, but as Elevator amply proves, the insurrection is just getting started.
"We figured there were two ways to record a second album," explains Hot Hot Heat co-founder and frontman Steve Bays. "You can do more or less what you did before, which works for some bands. Or, you can experiment, grow and change, which is the approach we took. What we discovered in the process was that, while we were taking huge steps forward musically, we were also coming full circle back to the style and sound that had brought us together in the first place. What we ended up with was a heightened version of what we've been doing from the beginning."
Work on Elevator began in December of 2003, immediately after Hot Hot Heat's global tour ended. "We had generated so much energy and so many new ideas playing live and we wanted to capture as much of that as possible," recounts Bays. "We spent the next five months jamming during the day and writing new songs at night, and at the end of the process we had twenty-five."
Working in a converted barn in a hideaway north of Victoria, BC, the band began cutting demos of their new material, a process that took them further into new creative frontiers. "We'd end up getting bored with our first takes," continues Bays, "and started changing them up and letting them evolve in new directions. A lot of the songs were demo'd four or five times before we had a version we could stay involved with."
Culling the final product down to twelve songs, the group's next move was to Los Angeles for sessions with producer Dave Sardy, known for his work with everyone from The Walkmen to Jet to Red Hot Chili Peppers and beyond. "Dave had an incredible ability to give us free rein and still stay on track," enthuses Bays. "He became like the fifth member of the band."
Recording began in mid-2004, and "from the beginning it was clear that we were moving along at a very natural progression," comments Bays. "After all that touring it was clear that we couldn't approach writing and recording in the way we used to. We'd grown too much. At the same time the essence of the band was intact: catchy, fun, danceable, Friday night music with some dark undertones to keep it interesting." Shortly after completing Elevator, guitarist Dante DeCaro departed the line-up. The band quickly found a worthy replacement in guitarist Luke Paquin. "The first time we met with him," Bays recounts, "we ended up talking for four hours about music and bands we loved. Even before we played a note together it was a perfect fit."
With Elevator in the can, the group had a rare opportunity to step back and gauge their progress over two frenetic years. "I think our biggest accomplishment has been staying true to what has always excited us," Bays reflects, "while at the same time staying open to everything we had learned on the road and using that experience to keep pushing the limits."
Pushing the limits has been the musical credo for Hot Hot Heat from the very beginning. It was in the late 90's in the sleepy suburbs of Victoria, BC that vocalist and keyboardist Steve Bays first joined forces with drummer Paul Hawley and bassist Dustin Hawthorne to form the creative core of Hot Hot Heat. The group released a string of independently produced singles, EP's and their first full length album, the aggro-epic Scenes One Through Thirteen even as they began playing extensively, both locally and up and down the west coast. After pumping out another EP, Knock Knock Knock in the spring of 2002, they returned to the studio almost immediately with producer Jack Endino of Nirvana fame to begin work on a full-length album.
Cut in six days, Make Up The Breakdown and its hit singles "Bandages," "Talk To Me, Dance With Me" and "No, Not Now" earned the band critical raves and worldwide attention.
It's a following sure to grow with Elevator. Featuring such catchy tunes as "Middle Of Nowhere," "Jingle Jangle," "Island Of The Honest Man" and the title track, Elevator is a fast ride to the top ranks of rock and roll from a band that has learned exactly how to push our buttons.