Hot Chelle Rae
'Disco ‘n Spice and Everything Nice'
Nashville quartet, Hot Chelle Rae, is ready to set the world ablaze with the release of their debut album for Jive Records. A surprising combination of shimmering disco beats, hard-hitting guitar riffs and catchy, relentlessly cool vocals, Hot Chelle Rae gives rise to a modern day Queen. A sweet and spicy cocktail of electro-tinted pop-rock, HCR is destined to tingle the aural palettes of hip youth everywhere.
The first single “I Like to Dance”, an irresistible toe-tapping beat of punk laced pop, is already licking at the ceiling, ready to break through and burn up the Billboard charts. Featured on Fox’s So You Think You Can Dance, “I Like to Dance” is available as a free MP3 download on www.hotchellerae.com
Exclusive Magazine recently had the opportunity to speak with HCR lead singer Ryan K. Follese about the Hot Chelle Rae sound, the new album and the exciting new opportunities that are coming their way.
Your music has a clear electro-rock style. Who were your musical
influences growing up and how many still factor into your music today? [RKF] "Our musical influences growing up range from Queen, Prince and INXS to the Beatles, Michael Jackson and Duran Duran, among others. They all play a huge role in our sound. I’m not sure that you can hear them in our songs, maybe INXS or Duran Duran, but they are all a factor in what we have become and what we want to grow into."
You guys are just finishing up the debut album. As an up-and-coming
artist, how would you describe the sound and style of your music? "I've said we are pop/rock/dance/epic. I’m not sure if “epic” is a style but if you listen to some of our songs, like “Last One Standing,” you’ll understand what I mean by “epic.” If anything, our sound is fun. It’s easy to latch on it…easy to relate to."
Tell us a little bit about how the band formed in your hometown of Nashville, Tennessee. How did you all meet and when did you first begin to pool your artistic talents together? "The band started with me and Nash....and a song. Not a particularly great song, but one that let us know we had great chemistry as writers. Ian and Nash had been friends since their childhood. Jamie is my younger brother and he's known the parts to every song I've even thought of. When Nash and I started this we went though about 5 bass players as bands usually do. Ian was living in Europe for 6 months and happened to come back when we had a show. He knew we needed a bass player and wanted a shot. It was instant musical chemistry! Some time later we had a practice with Jamie and that’s all it took. We knew we had found the perfect four piece."
Considering that you're based out of Nashville, the country music
capital of the world, how would you say this is reflected in Hot
Chelle Rae's sound, if at all? "I don’t think you can hear it in the sound, but I think that you can in the writing. Nash and I grew up listening to all kinds of music, including country. All successful popular music—by that I mean “hit” songs—taught us the importance of writing lyrics that resonate…and just as important, song structure."
After touring all over the US and playing in college towns, you
have created a strong youthful fan base. What has been your favorite venue
to play in thus far? What places are you guys interested in visiting
next? "My favorite venue so far.....I would say Art Ambush in Waco. Where do we want to go next......Europe! And JAPAN!!!!!"
You've just recently worked with both T-Pain and Taylor Swift for
the CMT Awards in June - tell us a little bit about this "We got a call late one night that time was running out for this rap between Taylor and T-Pain. When you get a call like that it doesn't matter if you know how to rap, you try! So Nash and I started working on this track and rap after receiving the premise. Literally overnight they (Pain and Taylor) heard it and loved it. We then got in the studio early with Taylor and she made a ton of additions to the rap, really made it her own. Then Pain put his signature on it and it was done! It was one of the coolest most rewarding songwriting experiences we’ve had so far. I’m told millions of people have gone online and seen it."
How easy or hard is it to create a new, vibrant, wanted-by-the-
public sound that both builds on and surpasses the musical wonderments and
accomplishments that preceded it within the industry? "It’s harder than top 40 makes it look for sure! Pop comes naturally as a writing style but hits don't—not for anyone!. I think that it’s very difficult especially for a band to be taken seriously in this market and hard to break the molds and goals that have been set before you. But we are ready to do work and break-out."
Where exactly did the band name, Hot Chelle Rae, originate from? Is
there an interesting story behind it? "Let’s just say it was a crazy fan named Michele Rae! We make music for fans so we decided to name our band after one. And besides, Hot Chelle Rae doesn’t mean anything except this band. We like that."
Your Myspace Music page has almost 200,000 plays and you've just
recently launched your new website, hotchellerae.com. How do you think
the internet has helped to boost your popularity with fans? "The internet is incredibly important to us considering we are just beginning to break-out. In the last 18 months we decided to spend the vast majority of our time and effort getting our songs written and produced they way we knew they needed to be for a killer first record. That plan worked out beyond our wildest dreams. Now, as we get ready to launch the first single and the album this fall, our focus is on building our fan base thru live shows and connecting with music fans in all the great ways the internet provides us. We’ve only just begun."
If asked to record one for charity, what '80s (and possibly
cheesy!) pop/rock song would you love to cover today...and why? "Right now........ 'Dirty Diana,' hands down!"
Lastly, and throwing you a journalistic curve ball, Exclusive
Magazine loves Penguins...do you? "Well, I am wearing sunglasses with little penguins on the inside made by Penguin! So yes! HCR loves us some penguins!"
Hot Chelle Rae’s debut album is available through Jive Records in the Fall. Visit www.hotchellerae.com for your free MP3 download of the new single “I Like to Dance” and listen to even more tracks at www.myspace.com/hotchellerae.
Interview: Erin M. Stranyak
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