PropertyOfZack had the chance to speak with Chuck Ragan of Hot Water Music a few weeks ago for a great interview. We discussed Hot Water’s cycle since the release of Exister, an upcoming tour, taking an extended break from the band, The Revival Tour, other plans, and much more. Check it all out below!
Hot Water Music had a pretty busy summer and fall, following the release of Exister. You also had a stint on Warped Tour. Would you say the months following the record have been as great as the band could have hoped for?
Yeah. Absolutely. We had some great shows. It was a good time getting out and playing the new material. We did quite a bit of shows; a lot more shows than we had initially planned on doing. It was a good time. It was a blast. We had a great opportunity to tour with some good friends and went out to support Gaslight Anthem and Rise Against. That was fantastic as well. We’re looking forward to wrapping that all up with this January-February headlining tour across the US with The Menzingers and La Dispute.
Surely there was fan excitement for Exister, given that it was the band’s first release in a long time. But there were probably nerves as well, regarding how the album would sit in with fans. From what you could see, we’re most fans pretty responsive to the record?
For me personally, it was the complete opposite. I wasn’t worried about it at all. That’s always the goal. I feel like if you ever focus or end up worrying too much about what people are going to think or how people will accept what you are doing, that’s kind of heading in the wrong direction. We had a ton of material, and we were really confident with it. When we came together initially in Fort Collins and got in a room a few days before we went into The Blasting Room, we had already chosen a batch of songs to start digging into. Once we started just barreling into them, it all started coming together really quick. We had a good time putting the songs together and everyone was really open-minded. Honestly, there wasn’t a whole lot of pressure. You would think it would have been the opposite of that because it had been so long since we had done a record. I just think that over the years and with the time apart, everybody had definitely grown quite a bit within our own craft. We just kind of put the pedal down and handled it.
The band is going to be releasing a new live record through No Idea in January. Will that be nice timing for the winter headlining tour?
A live record? Yeah I guess so. Maybe I’m a little out of the loop there.
The headlining tour was announced a few months ago with La Dispute and The Menzingers. That’s a little bit different of a lineup than people were expecting, but people are excited to have a different sounding band like La Dispute on the bill. Was that a choice made by you guys? Was it nice to have more diversity in the lineup?
First and foremost, we’re fans of both of those bands. We had the opportunity to play some shows with The Menzingers overseas, some different festivals. We met them for the first time and they’re all really nice young gentlemen. Then we took La Dispute out when we were overseas a while ago and we had a great time touring with them. They were a fantastic band and great guys. We really enjoyed them. Not to mention that each band kind of draws a different group of folks. We’re going to be able to rally a bunch of people that normally wouldn’t be at the same show it seems; to get everybody in the same room, have a great time, and put on a good show.
Will this be sort of wrapping up the Exister cycle? Will Hot Water Music be taking time off after this?
Yeah for sure. Probably quite a bit of time off in 2013. We may do some stuff here and there if it comes up. I’m completely overloaded already in my own direction. Everybody has got stuff going on all over the place. But who knows? The best part about the band, nowadays to me, is that we just do stuff when it makes sense and have fun doing it. There’s not a whole lot of pressure.
Like you mentioned, Hot Water Music has become a band that can drift in and out of activity. Is that the best situation you could hope for at this point in your life? Between solo projects, family, and everything else?
Absolutely. A while ago, when I started focusing a lot on my own music and building The Revival Tour, at the time I had no idea. I wasn’t planning on doing much at all with Hot Water Music. When we agreed to take that on, it tripled the workload. I’m already away from home too much as it is. To me, what I love the most about it all is writing music and making records; the creative aspect of it. Touring definitely takes quite a bit of a toll, no matter what it is or whatever form. It all takes a toll at this age. Yeah to be at a point where we can be working… We’re working with such a great team. We have just wonderful people within our team who care about music, care about what we’re doing and really believe in what we’re doing. It just makes it a relief; to sit back and look at the year and strategically plan, “Ok. I really would love to be home at ‘this point’ and ‘this point’ throughout the year.” Or, “This is the time of the year that I’m able to get out and do some work.” I’ve never really had that opportunity before. For years, growing up out on the road, a lot of the times there was never much of a choice. It was a constant grind and putting your head down. Not that it’s a bed of roses or super easy living this way; we all chose a path in music years ago that has taken a turn in the past decade. It’s a tough life or way to make a living. There’s very little security in it. But having good people around and behind you makes a world of difference.
Not that you can give away all of your plans or anything, but what will we be seeing from you, tentatively, next year?
Well we’re heading out on this tour, January-February, early in the year. Right now, we’re doing a lot of work putting together the upcoming US Revival Tour that we’ll most likely be announcing sometime around early January. We’re really excited about that. I’m currently just working on new material and constantly writing for myself and for Hot Water Music. Aside from that I’m doing some stuff overseas, probably some festivals over the summertime in the states, and I’d love to be able to do a new record next year. We’ll see; take it day-by-day, you know?
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