Monday 14 November 2022

HotKid - Interview

Canadian band HotKid are about to embark on their first-ever UK tour starting at Retro in Manchester on Friday. We caught up with front woman Shiloh for an introduction to the band, their history, their excitement at playing over here for the first time and an insight into the Toronto and Ontario scene that they're part of.

Could you introduce HotKid and give us a brief history of the band please?

HotKid is a Canadian indie pop / art rock band founded by myself, Shiloh Harrison and currently includes Andrew DeVillers, Jesse L. Bellon and Mike McKeever. Our label, Fortune Stellar Records released the most recent album Truth or Deceiver last October

As the touring world slowly reopened in 2022 we were lucky to tour in Canada a bunch with one of our favourite bands, label mates By Divine Right. Previously, HotKid has released three LPs and multiple EPs, played numerous festival dates and shows with the likes of Sloan, The OBGMs, Dragonette and many others.

HotKid's line-up has changed regularly over the years. Is that intentional to keep the band and music fresh?

The addition of new band members does keep recording and touring fresh, and when I look back on the HotKid catalogue it seems there has been a new line up with almost every full length record. 

This new lineup is a lot of fun, and it's the first time I’ve fronted a four-piece band. It definitely feels like this line-up has some momentum at the moment.

You're about to come to the UK for a tour. Will this be the first time you've played over here - and is there anywhere you're particularly looking forward to visiting?

Yes this will be the first HotKid tour of the UK. The calibre of support bands is super strong, so we're really looking forward to the shows. Playing Manchester is a big deal because so many bands we love are from there. We're excited to work with Loud Women in London & Brighton because they are doing such cool stuff. The Adelphi in Hull is also a highlight because of its history. It's also the only UK club I have ever been to, and it's in my Dad's hometown.

Much has been made of it being increasingly difficult for artists to tour these days, particularly internationally. What's been the driving force with coming across to the UK now?

UK touring has been on my wish list for a long time and we were actively planning for it in 2019-20 before the shut down. We’ve been all over Canada and toured the US, and hitting the UK seems like the next logical step for the band. 

As the co-owner of Fortune Stellar Records we have about a half dozen active bands on our roster and yes we’ve noticed a big change in the difficulty for artists as opposed to the “before times”. But we have to push through and hope things will improve.

Reading back through some old pieces about singles Letter and Push You Out, you referenced frustration, helplessness and struggling to find places to live. Does your music help as an antidote to everything else that's going on around you?

Music is medicine. I am so grateful for the community we've built around music. 

What keeps you making music nearly two decades into HotKid?

I can't stop now, I'm just starting to figure it all out! I love writing and recording and performing, it's tough but fulfilling. 

You're based in Toronto. What's the music scene like there currently and could you recommend any other artists you're particularly into?

Downtown Toronto was home for over a decade, the band is still roughly based there, and we founded the label there, but Cambridge, Ontario became home in 2020. We are still very much tapped into Toronto because we aren’t far and we are in town a fair bit, but the move has increased our connection to the music scene in Hamilton and other parts of southern Ontario. It's roughly all one thing now as many artists have had to leave Toronto in the face of crazy rental prices.

A brief list of our favourite Toronto / Canadian acts include By Divine Right, Ace of Wands, The OBGMs, Mad Ones, Miesha & The Spanks, Status/Non-Status & TUNS. 

You've got four albums and multiple EPs at your disposal. What can UK audiences expect from the setlists at the shows?

We'll be playing songs from the latest record Truth or Deceiver, one or two from the last LP Late Night Mornings and one or two of our older tracks. We're keeping it moody but rockin' for these sets.

What are your plans for after this tour?

I am looking forward to writing and recording some more. We're also hoping to take part in a few festivals that would bring us back to the UK or over the EU in 2023. 

Last of all, we've seen many different descriptions such as pop-punk, dream pop attached to your name. If you had to describe HotKid to someone who'd never heard of them, where would you start?

It's a tough one, the reason I write music is to try and make sense of myself, so trying to describe it always gives me trouble. I would most like to be recognized as a songwriter really but I suppose Canadian indie rock outfit describes the band fairly accurately.

HotKid's website can be found here and they are on Facebook and Twitter. Shiloh also co-owns Fortune Stellar Records.

Their tour calls in at Manchester Retro (November 18), Newport LePub (20), London Dalston Victoria (21), Brighton Pipeline (22), Hull Adelphi (23) and Newcastle Little Buildings (24).

main photo credit - Catherine Stockhausen


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