Worcester’s The Hotelier tour Australia for the first time later this month. Killyourstereo.com had the opportunity to chat with Christian Holden recently about touring, outside interests and the band’s pending visit.
Hey Christian, Johnny from KYS here, how are you going?
I’m good, how are you?
I’m good. How’s your week been?
Today’s actually my birthday; I’m headed to my birthday party actually.
Oh, sick. Happy Birthday man, what are you doing for that?
Just having some friends over to hang out by a fire, very minimal effort.
How old are you turning, if you don’t mind me asking?
I am 24.
You’re taking our local boys Ceres out with you on your upcoming Aussie tour, how did you come to the decision to tour with those guys?
It’s not very exciting, we’re not up to date with many Australian bands so, we thought these guys would be pretty cool to tour with. I think they’re a really good band, instrumentally they’re very tight.
And you’re also taking the time to visit most towns. A lot of bands that come here – especially smaller ones will sometimes give cities like Perth a miss, but you guys are doing three shows in Western Australia, what was the motivation behind that?
If we’re going to go somewhere, we’re going to go all out. I don’t know when the next time we’re going to come back [will be]. When you’re a smaller band, you want to see as much as you can, and you want to hit as many places as you can. It’s not necessarily a financial thing, it’s just not viable to hit as few cities as possible. Even if for my own view on travelling, I want to see as much of Australia as I can. I’m pretty excited.
How did this get sorted? Less than a year ago you were almost exclusively playing local North American shows?
Yeah, when the album (‘Home, Like Noplace Is There’) came out in late February and we started talking to this woman who lives in the UK and right from then we started to be able to imagine where we could go on tour, but we didn’t want to go there and come back broke so we had to save our money. We were able to pay to go to the UK and now Australia.
Personally, what was the reaction from you guys in regards to the sudden increase of interest in your band, being thrown from the underground to a very well appreciated band in the scene?
It was a shift for sure, we had been [through] three years of being a semi-appreciated band, when we went to shows it’d be a bunch of people who didn’t know us and a couple of die-hards. But we did that tour, the first tour since the album came out in Toronto, and I don’t even know how I began to process that. It was really cool. We kept doing it until it became very confusing for me for a while, but yeah it’s confusing, weird and also very exciting.
Your sophomore album is often hailed by critics and punk fans alike as one of the better releases of last year, did you expect the outpour of love for the album?
I was proud of the record when we made it. I don’t know that I expected it, I hoped for sure that when we put out this record it [was] going to determine our next few years as a band. I hoped that it did well and I’m really proud of it.
It’s an extremely passionate and emotional record, I think that’s why so many people can understand its beauty. What were some of the personal influences and motivations to create the record?
In high school I met a lot of interesting people. I didn’t go to college, I’m not involved in college activism and more intentional communities. I made some solid relationships and really cool friendships with some really cool and inspiring people. Part of it was a very interesting period of a shedding of skin for a lot of my friends. I wanted to write about it in a way that the people I care about and built relationships with are more up there and striped down and not put off by [it]; a balance of that and another of my personal aspects, and also being alive.
It also came hand in hand with your change of name. Now, you’ve probably been asked this hundreds of times – but what was the reason behind the change?
Part of it was we just didn’t like our name and we thought it’d be funny to change it to the same name with a different spelling. It’s not as good of a story as you think, we makes decisions in very silly ways, we just like make very quick decisions and that sorta settles down and it’s like that’s a good idea, so we just made our name change.
Who are some of your and the band’s musical influences?
All of us have been lucky to grow up in a very rich artistic area, we had a very interesting time where we didn’t have friends that toured so it wasn’t like a big thing, when band’s started they just wanted to be big in a local way, all these small bands that were really good and unknown outside of Massachusetts and that’s what we sort of aspired towards and it was really cool and interesting to see how that followed. That’s pretty much all of it, it was a really interesting time for emotional pop music and kinda like hardcore music.
Are there any bands in the scene you’re really digging at the moment?
I don’t really have a scene, I’ll plug the people I am very intimately connected with; my friend Michelle has two projects called Stephanie’s Breakfast and Little Big Week. With Stephanie’s Breakfast she’s like really cool and dark but [with] very intricate songwriting and lyric writing, which catches me really hard, she’s a really awesome person; we also toured in Europe with a friend, Chad, who’s in a not necessarily small [band], but under appreciated, just a genius musically and awesome; he’s really cool. An album that I’ve been into recently, by another northeast mainland band, [is] Countertops. Very wordy, folky rock, very great pop songs.
What do you do in your time outside of the band?
I’m into facilitating like kind of homeschooling and under-schooling, figuring out a viable option for the kids. Every fall I work at a camp for under schooled kids, kind of like an after school camp to give home schooled and under schooled kids a way to connect, and share their skills and knowledge with one another, and build unintentional friendships with people. I’m also part of a group that is sort of trying to figure out a self-directed learning centre, and other than that working on some other art projects and trying to stay in touch with people I like, and friends I don’t live with. Not too much, but hopefully a lot.
What is the weirdest place you’ve ever stayed while on tour, and what do you miss when you go on tour?
Good question. We almost stayed in West Virginia, and we were going to sleep on the floor of this house but there was cat poop on the floor, and nobody was cleaning it up and somebody who lived there walked up to it, and sprayed it with Febreze, and we were just like okay we’re leaving, it was just a very grubby place and we decided we weren’t staying there. We played a show in California in a town where some people grew their own marijuana, we played a show in a little park and there were older folks working as [marijuana] trimmers who came and were throwing joints at us while we were playing, and because we were playing in middle of a park, there was a grill closer to us near where we were playing so two older guys came up to us and asked, “hey mind if we use this grill?” Like this show was already wild, there’s a guy doing kick flips off of a table, smacking the table with his skateboard when he couldn’t do it right, a grill is fine, they grilled up zucchini and asparagus as well as trying to feed us alcohol while we played.
When I’m away I think I miss the people I live with, my friends, my dog and we have really connected relationships with the people back home, so we just spend time with them when we get back home.
Thanks for the time Christian, really appreciate it, really looking forward to the tour.
Thanks man, introduce yourself to me.
Have a good day man, and happy birthday again.
Thank you very much, later!
Catch The Hotelier on their Australian tour from November 27 to December 13.