Friday, October 26, 2007

Band of the Week

Photo by Aaron Seligman

Hot Springs

Mental sanity seems to be in high demand lately. Everyone wants it, but no one can quite define it. Whether there is a pulsing pressure or an intense swirling of thoughts and ideas, the action required may be the same. What our artist of the week, Lawrence Yang, termed "creating order out chaos", Giselle Webber of Montreal’s Hot Springs defines as pushing out of the fire to create calm. However, both recognize the need to allow the deepest fires to surface just before they are thrusted upon the canvas or audience. It is an eruption from a boiling spring spraying mists of creativity and passion in all directions. For Giselle Webber, this eruption typically occurs on stage where she allows the music to take over and completly explodes with energy.

Volcano, is Hot Springs first full length album and it is pack full of Giselle's energy, emotion, and most impotantly fire. Still looking for distribution in the US, Giselle recently took some time while preparing for last week's CMJ Music Festival to answer a few of my questions.

Orange Alert (OA): I love the name Hot Springs, how did the band come to call themselves such an organic and metaphoric name?
Giselle Webber (GW): everything about hot springs is designed to retain some semblance of mental sanity - push out the fire and then you have calm. there was so very much bubbling inside of me at the time when i started the band, and since i was no longer breaking boards with my feet in martial arts training, and since i was no longer playing in punk bands.. there was very much molten lava in my tummy. so it had to come out... and boy did it ever.

OA: Much has been said about your live performances, with the current state of record sales how important is it that bands have a positive reputation when it comes to their live performances? What is your mindset while on stage?
GW: at first i wasn't very proud of the way the band sounded. the songs were written in haste. we weren't yet grown-ups artistically.. and the only thing i figured we could get good at, while we were waiting for the songs to improve.. was the look of the thing: the visual. so people got so excited about all of my rock moves, they forgot to notice that the songs were complete shit. now i quite like the songs.. so it's lovely to have both of the bases covered. onstage, one thing is incredibly crucial to me, and that is sincerity. it is tough, when people tell of us in interviews, of how much explosions will happen onstage.. and you come to a moment when you don't feel explodey at all.. because of a shit crowd or a shit place or a shit time or what have you. so what do you do then? you stay true to it.. and the endorphins come naturally - and i don't force it. and i think people can tell when a band is being transparent and posing. it's a wretched embarrassment to watch. so the most important thing is never to pose. just to be openly crazy. i get it all out as best i can.. and afterwards i can function like a proper lady again.

OA: In a recent interview you discussed the steps a women might need to take to gain respect in the various music scene and shops. Do you feel this is a Canadian phenomenon or is more widespread? Since the powerful female lead singer is a rare commodity, I thought she would be cherished and not forced to change.
GW: women are cherished as sexual creatures. also they are cherished as mothers. so the fellows around me.. well - they do their best to tuck me into one of those boxes. and i have to do my best to smash out of those boxes. i'm quite good at smashing out of boxes, to tell you the truth. it's a little hobby of mine. so us powerful female lead singer types have to get real good at smashing stuff. we don't need to work on sexy things or anything else like that, because the rest of the world paints us as nothing *but* sexy. you just need to scare the living daylights out of some of them. really shake them up a little. that is our struggle. it's also one of the funnest challenges a girl could ever have.

OA: Your lyrics touch on several different topics from the war in Iraq to the action that can be found while wearing an Elvis wig, but a common theme seems to be the environment. How prominent are your environmental concerns on this album? What are some of your major concerns when it comes to the environment?
GW: one thing this life has taught me is that a true connection from one human being to another is about as rare as rare can get. i have some friends that use a whole whack of drugs to simulate that kind of connection. others lie in bed alone watching documentaries about metaphysics. it is the curse of the modern era, how we are allowed to be alone.. and live and breathe and function. back in the day.. we felt grateful in the presence of others. more so than now, anyhow. so i grew up, very much a loner.. on a mountaintop in british columbia. and spent my summers on a very large houseboat my grandpa built. and all of my nostalgia and all of my connections were inherently linked to parcels of land, and parcels of water. when it came time to get mushy and romantic and write actual words for the music (instead of that nonsense language i tend to sing while writing the stuff), i found it easier to write about animistical sort of things than writing about people-stuff. i am as heartsick for the pacific as i would be for some dumb fuck i used to go out with. plus i am pagan as pagan can be.. so much of that is almost religious writing. but politically.. let's just say i eat a lot of groceries from the dumpster. and i turn the lights off all over the bloody place. and i'd never ever ride in a tourbus. even though you can bring a portable record player and the record won't skip. right now i am most concerned with my consumption patterns. eating groceries like in the old days. none of these tractor trailer fruits. even though i do very much love to gawk at the mack trucks on the highway. i think they're kind of beautiful.

OA: Who are some of your primary musical influences?
GW: black mountain, zoobombs, the stooges, silver apples, crass, aids wolf, socalled, cream, black sabbath, louis armstrong's early trumpet recordings, cpc gangbangs, etta james, de la soul, minor threat.

OA: What's next for Hot Springs (might we see an American distribution for the album)?
GW: well we're off to CMJ for this week.. and our lawyer is an american. so i bet he'll have a couple industry fellows at the gig. maybe they will buy me glasses of something electric, like the kind of bourbon you can only get in kentucky.

Bonus Questions:
OA: You are being included in the "Second Wave" of the Montreal music explosion. How would you describe the current music scene in Montreal?
GW: everyone that has already achieved some level of success in one band is branching off and creating splinter cells of side-projects all over the bloody place. we are all getting very arty and weird. one pal of mine has built about 30 robots that work on remote control, and they play the music for him. stuff like that.

OA: What was the last great book that you read?
GW: huckleberry finn.

Headrush(mp3)/Cellophane/Fog and the Horn/Tiny Islands/Fantôme Dinosaure/Pink Money/Annimystique/Gotta DJ/Hairy and Airee/38th Adventure

For more information on Hot Springs please visit their website.

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