Burning down the house

By Jeff Clemens

To the majority of music

lovers, Canada is a vast, barren wasteland full of Nickelbacks, Three Days Graces and Bryan Adamses. Thankfully, a new wave of bands is finally

giving the world a reason to love Canadian music, including Victoria’s Hot Hot Heat.

Formed in 1999 and influenced heavily by ’80s acts like the Clash and Elvis Costello and the Attractions, Hot Hot Heat was one of the first to combine the melodic pop-influenced style that has become popular thanks to bands such as Franz Ferdinand and the Killers. The approach quickly garnered the band popularity throughout Canada’s indie scene and was bolstered by their

2002 breakout album Make Up the Breakdown.

Following the production of Hot Hot Heat’s 2005 major-label debut, Elevator, longtime guitarist Dante DeCaro left the group. His replacement, Luke Paquin, transplanted himself from San

Francisco to the band’s new home in Vancouver.

“It was a little strange joining a band that already had songs and albums out,” reflects Paquin. “But it worked well and it’s been three years now. I think the new stuff is a little more aggressive but it’s still the Hot Hot Heat sound. I don’t think we really fit into any specific genre, though.”

Paquin likens Vancouver to San Fransisco. Both cities are cursed with constant rain and blessed with fabulous music and art communities. Vancouver’s strong art scene seems to have rubbed off on the band with their attention to detail on their album artwork.

“Growing up the album artwork was important and exciting for me,” Paquin explains. “It’s a bonus that comes with actually having the album and holding it in your hands.”

While enjoying their recent success, Hot Hot Heat has shared it with others by bringing bands they enjoy on tour with them. The band’s latest excursion saw them visiting Oklahoma City, Little Rock and Albuquerque, a far cry from Vancouver or San Fransisco.

“Pride Tiger is a group of friends of ours from Vancouver,” says Paquin. “We really like their music and brought them along.

This is our first time in the interior of America.”

Filling up venues throughout the continent as headliners is a big step up from opening for Sloan in Canada, and shows just how far the little band from Victoria has come in just a few short years.

Hot Hot Heat isn’t resting on their laurels, though. Next on their

agenda is a prime gig opening on the Alberta leg of the Killers’ North American tour and preparing for the release of their third

full-length album, Happiness Ltd., in the fall.

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