“It’s like everything we’ve done over the years has led to where we are now, and that’s wonderful.”
Hot Water Music has just released their new album ‘Feel The Void’ via End Hit Records.
A rousing, raw collection of punk-rock perfection, it’s an album that’s built on the foundations of trust, friendship and respect between everyone involved in its creation. With nearly 30 years under their belt and no intention of slowing down any further, this is a record that shows what can be done when you watch, listen and learn from those you love as much as the world around you.
We sat down with vocalist/guitarist Chuck Ragan, just before he went fishing for the day, to find out how it all came together…
What feels so special to you about being able to continue making albums like this after all these years?
“The most fantastic thing about this album is the number of people who have been able to make it happen, and that in all areas. It goes from all of us in the band, to everyone involved in the label and to all the fans. wait patiently. It really feels like a family affair, and that’s how we felt like it was our record. It feels like something we never would have done in a million years if it wasn’t for all the people around the world that’s been in. I feel like everything we’ve done over the years has led to where we are now, and that’s wonderful. I’m really happy about it.
So what are those things that led you to make a record like this then? Because there were times when I probably felt like it would never happen…
“There is no doubt about it. I can’t say there was ever a fear of doing anything at any given time, but I always thought that as long as we were all able to agree on something, we’re probably headed in the right direction. We can never overemphasize how others will perceive what we’re up to when it comes to whether our neck hair is erect. it’s not, there’s something missing creating art, whether it’s writing songs, painting, or doing poetry, and there have been times when even in doing this, nothing blew me away. You have to keep working on it, working and running on the way. something or change a little aspect, and then everything makes sense. There is a thrill or a thrill, and everything has a meaning Now I’m not saying this in a personal way, “Wow, that’s nice” talking about when that hair stands on end is also r as possible. It’s a different kind of clarity and freedom. Finding that is essential in everything you do, but there’s nothing better than finding that when writing a song. It’s even better when it happens while you’re recording. You bang your head against the wall and wonder if you should go down that rabbit hole. But then, out of nowhere, something will happen that will have everyone screaming, “Yeah!”. Is this what we are looking for?”
What moments on this record provided that feeling then?
“Honestly, there were quite a few. The majority of this record was written with all of us cast aside. George [Rebelo]Jason [Black] and [Chris] The Wollards were able to get together often, but it was difficult for me as I had trouble finding time to be with them or even be online. A lot of times I felt like I wasn’t making my weight or letting guys down. It was mostly a matter of timing. We had to do a lot of Zoom meetings just to keep communication going, but I was also in the middle of two house renovations we were trying to sell and had just bought. We have children at home 24/7 because there is no school because it’s the pandemic, and I was also working full time as a fisherman who starts at three in the morning. I also go pretty hard at this job, and I’d come home at five o’clock at night, do a bit of dad’s homework, a bit of dinner and then it all started again. Where’s the time to make music in there? I would miss those meetings and feel awful having to tell the guys. I know everyone’s time is valuable and I didn’t want to disrupt anything for others, but it’s complicated.”
It must be hard when you’ve been so used to doing things one way for so long and it’s completely stripped away and changed…
“But the thing was, even when I wasn’t there, the other guys were communicating. Man, there was constant creative communication, but it was so different from anything we’d done before just because everyone was scattered. could do things 25 years ago, it was completely alien. So when we were in the studio, those moments happened so often, just because it was a throwback to the way we had done the things before. We came up with the structure, the best idea of a structure, of a song. But a lot of things were written at that time. It became a real way of working as a team, of having things and putting them together in a group effort. “Hearts Stay Full” was an early example of all of these things coming together because it started off really tough, in the sense that it even made the record. continued and found the light at the end t of the tunnel. Those tiny little wins were what kept us going. That’s why it was so special to be able to work with people like Brian McTernan and Ryan Williams, who aren’t as emotionally connected to those songs. You can feel like you’ve bled it all out, and they’re there to change a little thing and make it perfect when you feel like you can’t put any more.”
And having that when you’re writing songs that speak to the bad times as much as the good times, having a support network there to back you up when you feel like you’ve given your all becomes even more vital. ..
“I feel so lucky to be part of a band like this. In a few months, Hot Water Music will be 28 years old. A lot of us were playing two or three years before that, so it’s a band of guys who have been playing together for 30 years. We are all very aware that this is a very unique and special situation. And now that [Chris] Cresswell is in on it, it’s even more special. Because he was never just a pair of hired hands from Nashville or LA or New York to help us out, he signed up for this group before any of us asked him to be involved. . He had been a fan of the band for years. When we originally asked him if he wanted to play a song with us in 2017 when Wollard couldn’t do the shows with us, he said, “Oh, I know a few of them, and I can learn some too. a bit more behind the scenes.” It comes back to that feeling of fear and that need to be true to ourselves first and foremost. Having someone else in the loop to be on the same wavelength as us makes all the difference.
“There’s an insane amount of collective years playing in this band. We’ve spent an awful lot of time writing music professionally. If you release something in it that doesn’t flow or gel, something thing is seriously off track. But in our team, it’s like some of the best work every member has ever done. It’s such a fantastic thing to be able to say about your own band, after all these years.