Australian rockers The Hots are an electrifying combination, bringing together front-woman Foxie Kelly’s blazing stage presence and guitarist Ronnie Simmons’ aggressive playing. Recently, the duo released their debut single “Before You” which is the spark ready to ignite the fire of female fronted rock heading into 2019. We chatted with The Hots on “Before You,” the challenges and obstacles that they faced in their career and how they managed to overcome them, and their advice to others looking to pursue the same path that they took in becoming rock stars.
Cliché: What initially sparked your interest in wanting to write music together? How do you keep things fresh and try to stay unique as artists?
The Hots: It happened really organically. We’ve known each other a long time, we reconnected a couple of years ago after going our separate ways and started writing songs together, fast forward and now we are married. Our relationship and our working relationship happened all at once. Life is like that for us, there is never a dull moment. Things are always moving so quickly, we try to be open and ready for things when they happen. I think it comes from knowing who you are, what you want, being open to the world and embracing change.
Being Australian-born artists and then moving to Los Angeles, how did you manage to adjust to a new culture? What were some challenges and obstacles that you’ve faced and how did you manage to overcome them?
It’s interesting because Los Angeles and Sydney are very similar cities, however, we are definitely separated by a common language at times, the slang and humor can get lost in translation.
I think the main challenge that we (and other rock artists) face universally is people telling you that rock is dead and that you should be following the trends. That is one of the hardest things because obviously, we want to do well and we want to have a career, but we also don’t want to compromise our artistic integrity. We are in a genre that people are saying there is not really a market for. However, we disagree. We are being true to ourselves and sticking with what we want to do, we are diligent and we just push forward. I think having each other and knowing who we as artists help.
How did you choose your name The Hots?
As well as the fact that Foxie has red hair and both of us have fiery personalities, it comes from having ‘the hots’ for each other.
How do you mentally prepare yourself before stepping on stage? What are some skills that you feel you still need to improve on?
By blocking everything out, it’s really hard sometimes because you can have so many people wanting to talk to you. I try to find the place in my head where I can block all of the noise out. I always remind myself why I started doing this in the first place. I have heard stories about other artists getting stage fright. However, I am quite the opposite. I can’t wait to get onto the stage. It’s also a therapeutic way of me letting out my anger and aggression and I just focus all of my energy on getting up and performing for the people in front of me. I think enhancing that focus can always be improved on.
Can you describe your relationship with your record producer Mark Opitz?
Working with Mark Opitz was a dream come true. We really did things the old school way with everyone tracking live in the same room at once with no click track, onto an analog Neve console – just like he did with AC/DC on Powerage, The Divinyls with Desperate and all the other classic albums we adore. Mark really knew how to get a good performance out of us, capture a vibe and make us feel comfortable. We had a blast all sweating it out with vintage Marshall amps on 10 until our ears were ringing, fingers were bleeding and throats were sore. To have our vision not only nurtured but respected by someone we look up to so much is such a humbling feeling. To hear Mark compare Foxie’s vocals and attitude to Chrissy Amphlett, the late and great frontwoman of the Divinyls – we were speechless, as she is such an inspiration to both of us. We are very grateful and would love to work with him again in the future.
Recently, you released your debut single “Before You” with an accompanying music video, how much work and preparation did it take you to record this song?
We had been preparing for well over a year when we went into the recording studio. We had written nearly two albums worth of material, a lot of which was via correspondence while Ronnie was touring the world with Richie Ramone. When it came time to record the EP with Mark Opitz in early 2018 we chose what we felt were the three strongest songs that represented who we were, and accompanied it with the Rose Tattoo cover “Nice Boys” as an homage.
What’s the message of the song and what do you hope listeners take away when listening to the lyrics of the song?
That we’re grateful to have each other and that we are aware that what we have is very unique and special. We’re in an industry where there are so many destroyed relationships, and just like in life where the odds are usually stacked against you, don’t give up hope. If there’s something worth fighting for, stand your ground and fight for it.
Over the years, you have toured with some rock royalties like Rose Tattoo, The Screaming Jets, and Richie Ramone. What were some things you learned from those experiences and what did those experiences teach you about your own music?
They taught me more than anything that legacy is the most important thing. Some of these artists that have been around since the ’70s and the Ramones, Rose Tattoo, and The Screaming Jets are legends. What I learned from them is that if you are going to get up on stage every night and play the same songs, you want to mean it and love what you do. And when you’re gone, that is what you’re going to be remembered by. That was what was instilled in me from them and I am very grateful for that.
What was the best advice about the music industry that you’ve received and who was it from?
It was from the late great Mick Cocks who was the rhythm guitarist for Rose Tattoo. He said, “If you want a friend in this business, buy a dog.”
What’s your advice to others looking to pursue the same path that you took in becoming rock stars?
My advice to others is to never be ashamed to dream. Don’t quit and don’t lose track of who you are. Recognize why you are doing it in the first place, you really have to want it. Understand that it takes a lot of work and it is a 24/7 job. You’ve got to put everything that you have into it and it doesn’t happen overnight. You will fail more than you will succeed, you will be put down for trying, but if it’s what you really want then it will all be worth it – the people that mind don’t matter and the people that matter won’t mind, it’s your life, not theirs – so get out there and live it!
What’s next for you?
We are working on another music video for ‘Please Me’, a lyric video for ‘Shame the Devil’ and are playing our first show of 2019 for Soundcheck Live, at Lucky Strike Live in Hollywood on January 30th.
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Australian Rock Duo The Hots Dishes On Their Debut Single “Before You” As They Aim To Take Their Music To The Next Level. Image Credits: Tony Mott