Hot Flash Heat Wave

Interview by Grecia Contreras
Shot by 
Sara Bluhm

It’s a Saturday night at the House of Blues in beautiful Downtown San Diego, and I have the chance to talk to a couple of band members from the San Fran rock band, Hot Flash Heat Wave. I quickly gathered that this group clearly has some kind of dynamic as one, possibly because the whole crew is a pack of Aries. “We’re allergic to boredom”, they say as they try to explain their creativity.

The interview went down lovely - it became a think piece about a band coming together and sharing each other’s personal experiences. Overall, I write this interview as a tribute to anybody out there that loves good rock music. This is truly a band you should give a chance to listen to because it’s simply great art. 


What do you love the most about music?

Ted Davis: I think it’s cool how music can express an emotion without words, and as a writer it adds a whole other dimension of expression, I think that’s cool. I like how people really relay on music, and they’re into it when they want to change the mood. 

It’s always a safe place. 

You can create a safe place for yourself by listening to your favorite band. It picks you up when you feel down; helps you out in an interesting way because it’s just sound, you know? I’m always looking for good music.

Jared Johnson: I love music because I think music is something very personal, we all interpret for it in our own way, so we all listen to things… The experience is subjective for music. Everyone hears something different. I think that’s what’s so beautiful about it, because for me growing up, it was like my own space, I really like that. It’s just about taste.

Have you always been interested in music?

Ted Davis: Yeah, ever since I was a kid.

Nathaniel: My dad was in bands when I was a baby, so I kind of grew up with it and stuff, and I got old enough to do it myself.

Ted Davis: My dad was super into music, he was always a music fan, but he never picked up any instruments. But I definitely grew up with a lot of music too, I was always drawn to music.

Do you have to be depressed to write a sad song, do you have to be in love to write a love song? Is the song better if it really happened to you? Like the song ‘Gutter Girl,’ when did you write that and  who is it about?

Nathaniel: It’s like any writer who writes a fiction book, put themselves in someone else’s shoes, anyone who can empathize or tries to understand something in the greater scheme of the world.

Oh, Gutter Girl was about this girl who I was in love with in Santa Cruz. I lived there and I was around a lot of people that were inspiring me, particularly these girls that I was really good friends with, they were just more badass than I was I guess. I always felt not as cool as them and it was inspiring.


When you play a great show like tonight, what’s your favorite part? The part that you appreciate the most and makes you feel alive?

Ted Davis: There are certain moments of a show where… it could be a song I knew already, or a song I haven’t heard before, but when it really clicks with something that is happening in my day-to-day sometimes it’ll just really reach me or move me in a certain way.

Nathaniel: I think my favorite part of big shows is the snacks that you get to eat before you play, really good snacks that I usually don’t get to eat in other parts of my life. Shout out to Jack White.

Jared: When someone cries, that’s really powerful in the audience, I like that kind of interaction. I like it when I get into it and head bang having fun, I like dancing; basically when I get lost in the music… is great. One thing I’ve learned about performing is the going to keep going. People might boo you but just keep it fresh, keep it alive, and then somebody will catch your fun five. I think that’s a big part of performing, having a strong boundary or defense against people who are not excited about what you’re doing.

How do you guys contribute to the world, as a voice saying, “here I am”?

Nathaniel: Hmm, I would say that the way I view music, music writing, lyric writing, in the same way as expressing an emotion that you’re feeling and having people connect with that. I think that using your songwriting ability is to help people connect with their own lives. I try less to be like,”here I am,” because I try to focus more on the art and have it speak for itself then try to make it about me. I also think using your position of artistic outreach to spread positive messages, hoping your fans will feel similarly to you about the world and how to interact with the world around you.

Ted Davis: I think in our band, at least personally, I’m not writing music to make a big attention grabbing statement, it’s more of writing to process things that I go through my life; meaning for aspects in life and challenging that true love of music. I think that’s part of why people response for music, it comes from a genuine experience, whether it’s literal or a different interpretation of what we’re going through. 

You guys are playing out SXSW in a couple of days, (now passed) how excited are you are to be playing at such a notorious festival? And also, who are you looking forward to watching or meeting the most?

Ted Davis: I’m super excited, we’re playing a bunch of rad show cases, and we’re going to be staying with our homies Inner Wave and Triathlon! So we got a lot to look forward to.

You guys have opened up for quite a few bands and played at festivals for a bunch of different artists (like The Buttertones, The Garden, and Inner Wave) so far who has been your favorite open for and what was your strangest experience?

Ted Davis: It’s hard to pick a favorite. It was really fun opening up for Hinds because they were fun to party with. They were made to party and play in a band. It was really cool opening for The Garden recently, they were pretty down to earth, kind of doing their thing playing Nintendo in a hotel.

Any upcoming artists you guys are excited to see you grow?

Ted Davis: I think Inner Wave is doing big things, Hoops, Triathlon, No Vacation. Yeah… I think all these bands represent this new way of guitar music that is relevant, it’s coming out now.

Any closing statements?

Ted Davis: Be kind. Do what you love and respect the people around you, treat your friends right because they love you. Nips Chips, if you’re out there dude, I remember everything we shared in the room scape world. I love you and I hope we connect someday, You’re amaaaazing.


Huge thanks to these boys for taking the time to talk with us before and after their show at House of Blues San Diego, and Nips Chips, whatever happened between you and Ted must have been something special.