Interview with Alex Rosen of Hot Blood

“FEAR OF A UNIFIED PUBLIC”

 “NO KINGS” Album cover by Alex Rosen

“NO KINGS” Album cover by Alex Rosen

By Deaglan Howlett | Posted Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Hot Blood is a four-piece punk band based out of Asbury Park.  The band is Mat Kiley (Vocals/Guitar), Alex Rosen (Guitar/Vocals), Charlie Shaffer (Bass/Vocals) and Billy Straniero (Drums).  I found their first demos on Reverbnation years ago and I was blown away.  What followed about a year later was a gut punching full length titled “NO KINGS” with a badass album cover.  Alex has been a mentor to me in a way.  He really took me under his wing in the Asbury scene and for that I am eternally grateful.  I was too excited when I got to sit down and ask him some questions I have always wondered, yet never asked him for some reason.

D.H.: I’ve told you before, but I love all the Hot Blood art.  Who are your artistic influences and what made you want to do the art for the band?

Alex Rosen: Thanks man.  Raymond Pettibon is number 1 as far as influences go for band art.

I had hit up a few artists I really dig but when the band was starting out we definitely did not have the money to hire them.  We still don't!  I knew with punk I could probably pull something off with my simplistic style.  It kind of worked.  I am still happy with the artwork for “NO KINGS” and “OVERCOME PART 1.”   I think for our new album “FEAR OF A UNIFIED PUBLIC” we are going to go take a band photo or something.

 Hot Blood design by Alex Rosen

Hot Blood design by Alex Rosen

Your last two EPs go hand in hand with another, OVERCOME PART 1 and 2.  What made you release them separately?

I really love the First Four EPs by OFF!  And the box it comes in rules.  You get a ton of art and a booklet.  So we originally planned on doing 3 EPs in succession.  But by the time we finished OVERCOME PART 2, we had enough material to do a full length and everything seemed to point in going that direction.

Is there a strong, conscious effort to make the songs under 2 minutes?  I feel like the shorter the song is the easier it is to keep the listener interested.

I think 3:30 is pretty ideal, but for us we play fast and we have to keep in mind Kiley is yelling his head off so that is always accounted for as well in song length.  Short songs are cool but it stinks when you want a song to be longer or hit another chorus and it doesn't.  Also, the shorter the song the harder it may be for the listener to get lost and into the music.

Following the short songs, what made you release two EPs instead of one album? Does that have anything to do with attention span?

The EPs were something we just wanted to do -- like I said, we had OFF! and other bands in mind.  But it didn't go exactly as planned -- we quickly wanted to do a full length.  We also thought the songs grouped well as two EPs in their subjects and content.

 Hot Blood at the Asbury Park Yacht Club I Photo courtesy of   Mike Petzinger

Hot Blood at the Asbury Park Yacht Club I Photo courtesy of Mike Petzinger

Who produced the last two EP’s?

We went to Pete Steinkopf (Bouncing Souls) at Little Eden for both.   I wouldn't go back and do it with anyone else.  I was wasted for the recording of OVERCOME PART 2.  I just remember him asking me if I wanted to try my guitar out on this old tiny amp.  I did and it sounded amazing.  Just what I wanted.  It's the opening guitar you hear on “Burn Down The Church.”  Pete is the best.  Very happy with how both came out.

What led you to work with Pete other than the fact he is the absolute man?

I did two albums with Pete with my other band Battery Electric.  They just came out great, and I like all of Pete's suggestions.  It was a no brainer, dude!

What can you tell me about the new album you have planned?

The new album we are recording at Trax East with Chris Pierce.  We are doing 16-18 songs.  Some are 15 seconds some are 3 minutes.  It is a pretty diverse album.  Haven't decided what we are going to do with it, but we are definitely going to press it on vinyl.  It is called FEAR OF A UNIFIED PUBLIC.  We start recording on April Fool's day.

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Hot Blood is playing the Asbury Park date for Punk Rock Bowling on Sunday, June 11th, with NOFX, The Buzzcocks and Lifetime, to name a few.  In the meantime you can listen to Hot Blood on Spotify and find their album “NO KINGS” and vinyl in most record stores in New Jersey.

About the Writer

Deaglan Howlett is junior English Major at Rowan University.  He is also the guitarist for Corrina, Corrina and The Vansaders.  He grew up in Middletown, just a 20 minute car ride to Asbury Park.  He spends most of his time there playing and going to shows.  When he is not playing shows he focuses on writing poetry here.  You can find him on Twitter (@reallygoodguyy) and Instagram (@DeaglanHowlett).