INTERVIEW: HOUSES & HOTELS
Houses & Hotels are an indie punk-rock trio hailing from Akron OH. A what may seem like unusual range of sonics from shoegaze alongside pop rock is really what makes them stand out from the ever growing crowd. After a 7 year wait, they have finally released their second album 'Never Knows Best' which really strongholds their direction and progression as a band. We sat down with the threesome to chat all things writing, albums and more exclusively for FLEX:
Hey Houses & Hotels, congrats on the debut album! How do you feel now your first record is now officially out in the world?
It feels really great! It's been super cathartic because these songs have been gestating for quite a while. We've gotten a lot of positive feedback which has been great because not only did we change our sound but it's also our first professionally recorded and produced album. Working with Jim Wirt was an absolute blast who really elevated the tracks to be the best they could be.
What were the standouts from recording 'Never Knows Best' in Superior Sound Studios?
The first run of recording "Driver" which was our first single off the album didn't turn out so great. The clean guitar was really flat and lacked the distinct punchiness that's on the album release. We ended up borrowing someone's JC-120 from the studio to completely rerecord the clean guitar and added some other background guitar parts to fill in the track. Hearing that track come alive was super gratifying but it was nerve wracking to take a chance on rerecording while on a budget!
Your indie-punk-rock sound is so refreshing, what track do you think sums up Houses & Hotels best from the record?
The title track, "Never Knows Best" I feel encapsulates the meat of the album. The sense of longing and despair is full force on this song. It really showcases all of the members in our band too. This song was the main reason I really wanted to take the leap into recording professionally because I wanted to hear this with full production.
Brad, Amir, Tynan - your (current) favourite track please?!
Brad - Never Knows Best
Amir - Depends on the mood! Nodding Off, Never Knows Best, and Honey!
Tynan - Panic Attack
Listen to 'Never Knows Best' here:
What did you learn from this whole process?
We really learned to hone in on the little details this time. Our first release was DIY which was very noisy and punk rock while this one is more layered. The new direction in sound gave us more space to play around with and we really tried to make each section of all the songs sound as good as they possibly could. Adding synth really fills in a track and so we tried to incorporate it as much as we could.
Your album hones in on mental health which is really great to see, what songs in particular helped you break the mould with this topic?
The very aptly named "Panic Attack" was one of the earlier songs written for this album that had lyrics expressly written about mental health. I tend to write lyrics last but I had written that chorus very early on. The opener "Shallow Ground" deals with the really heavy topics of suicide and catastrophising. That song was really tough to finalise the lyrics on because I didn't want to be too overwhelming lyrically right off the bat.
What's next for Houses & Hotels? A national tour we hope!
The logistics didn't really work out this year for doing a national tour but planning some dates out of Cleveland are in the works. We've also got some new material that we want to start working on for a possible EP next year.