|This is an interview with Aaron from the
Calgary band, Hot Little Rocket. Aaron is one of the band's guitarists I caught him right
as he was heading off for a two week tour. The band has previously recorded an EP
entitled "Laika," and they have a more recent album called "Danish
Documentary" that came out in September 2001.
i: How did Hot Little
Rocket get together, and how did it work? Did you play in local clubs or what?
Aaron: Around '97 my old band had broken up and I had responded to Andrew's, who is
singer and guitarist, classified ad wanting to start a band with Yo la tengo, Gang of
Four, June of '44 influences. I played brit-pop/shoegazey stuff for years and thought it
would be cool to start something different. I had been playing in bands locally for years
and it was great starting up with someone fresh and excited about playing loud guitar.
Mark, the bass player, and myself are old friends from high school and we've been playing
together off and on for years. We lucked out getting Joel, the drummer, as there's usually
a shortage of good drummers in town. He had just moved to Calgary from Regina. We
originally had a female vocalist but it didn't gel just right. Andrew took over singing
(and yelling) after a year and we've never looked back.
i: What were the differences in recording Laika compared to Danish Documentary?
Aaron: Laika was great ep but we recorded it in a small studio, forcing us to play alot
of the track separately. With DD we were in a larger studio, called Sundae Sound, and had
the chance to play at least the bed tracks live off the floor. I think it lends itself to
having more a "live" sound than Laika because of that. Both cd's were recorded
analog (I'm dead against digital) which I think help gives a closer sound to a live
i: What are the inspirations for your music? What type of stuff were you exposed to
as you were growing up?
Aaron: My first albums were Queen and the Police. The Clash is my favorite band of all
time. I love early 90's shoegazer bands, such as My Bloody Valentine and Ride. Lately,
I've been a big fan of Cap'n Jazz, the Anniversary, and Pedro the Lion.
As for Mark, he grew up with lots of Beatles and Bowie. He always raves about John
Spencer, Stereolab and St. Germain. Jawbreaker is one of his favorites
Andrew grew up with Neil Diamond and A.M. radio country music stations. Bands like
Slint, Shellac and Drive Like Jehu are his favorites. [He's a] big fan of jazz like
Thelonious Monk, Miles Davis. Lately Andrew's had a thing for country rock [like] Neil
Young and The Band
[As for] Joel, The Police and XTC are his favorite bands. The only radio station he
could pick up in his 77' Buick growing up was one that played only easy listening and
golden oldies out of Regina. Old metal seems to staple to most kids growing up in prairie
towns. Lately he's been listening to Sebadoh, Blonde Redhead, Stereolab, and Spooky Ruben.
i: How would you describe your own music? Like what genre - make up your own if you
want - would you classify it under?
Aaron: Yikes, hard question to answer. We've had the emo label thrown at us and I guess
there's definitely some of that there. Punk rock kids seem to really like us. I think we
fit in with alot of indie rock out there.
i: How did you get involved with Endearing Records?
Aaron: We talked to Blair at a NewMusicWest in 2000 and he liked the Laika EP. They're
a great label to work with. I hear you can talk to Blair about Black Sabbath for hours.
i: How did the name "Hot Little Rocket" come about?
Aaron: We had a show coming up and Mark and I named the band while Joel and Andrew were
out of town (they hated it for years). Mark's brother in law was quoted saying
"what's with all these hot little rocket bands coming out these days?" while
watching a doritos commercial. When you search the name on the internet it comes up with a
lot less porn sites than it did when we first started.
i: What is it like touring? Is it lotsa fun or lotsa bore? Or a little bit of both?
Aaron: We've only done weekend road trips and they've been pretty fun so far. We're on
the road the first time for two weeks coming up so we'll see if we can stand each other by
the end of it. I don't know how much I'll be able to listen to Andrew's The Band cd.
i: Got any interesting or funny stories for us?
Aaron: Our last drive the Winnipeg, Andrew got behind the wheel of my car. He hadn't
driven for years and said, "This is great, next time I'll bring my glasses so I can
i: What's your favourite colour?
Aaron: Yellows and Oranges for Mark. Black and Red for Aaron. Umm, lots red/green
cowboy shirts for Andrew. Joel's hair is dyed with blond highlights.
i: What's happening in the future with Hot Little Rocket?
Aaron: Tour, Write, Record, Interview, Repeat....
i: If you could add any instrument to the band, what would it be?
Aaron: Theramin, Banjos, and stick and bucket bass.
i: What is the question you wish all interviewers would ask, that I haven't, and
what's your answer?
Aaron: That one exactly! What's your deli tray dream for a show rider?
i: What's the most embarassing moment you've ever had the misfortune of
Aaron: We ended a show after 15 minutes because my guitar broke, then Mark's and then,
finally, Andrew's. We just knew it was time to quit.
i: What makes the hard work and long, late nights all worth it?
Aaron: The gin and tonics, hearing our songs on the CBC, and kids asking about guitar
i: Who is the most important musician of all time?
Aaron: Joe Strummer.
i: Why did the chicken cross the road?
Aaron: A random act of pre-determined genetic makeup. Who are we to think in the mind
i: Any final words?
Aaron:We're late packing for our tour, gotta go, sorry the last anwers were short.
i: Ok, well, you better get going then. Thanks for taking the time to answer my
Aaron: Thanks alot