Ethan Porter

HotWax – From a Burst of Inspiration to a Tour With Royal Blood

A DIY trio from across the pond with an affinity for maintaining their humble creative process while still evolving within the industry? Yes, we’re listening.

Talulah Sim-Savage is the singer and a guitarist for a band she is 1/3 of, rocking out alongside drummer Alfie Sayers and bassist Lola Sam. Sim-Savage spoke with The Aquarian to swiftly and kindly highlight this three-piece, HotWax, and discuss how they are redefining what a girl group is. It’s almost as if they were transported from the nineties with the way their alternative Brit-rock stylings buzz and sizzle, but they’re not a garage band. This trio is one of equal parts in which each member has their moments to shine, but so does the professionalism and the grit. HotWax balances it well and as new fans start tuning into their releases, they will hear how it’s done. They are inspiring, spontaneous, and learning along the way… which is why we had to chat with them about the new single, the EP just days away, and the fact that they are coming to America so soon.

What was the writing and recording process for “Phone Machine” and at what point during that did you know that it was going to be the single to come before the EP, Invite Me, kindly?

“Phone Machine” felt really quick to write. I was just playing this chord over a beat Alfie was playing and wrote some lyrics to it and it started to form. Me and Lola recorded it on her laptop while she wrote the lead guitar part. It was really fun to write – some other songs on the EP came around at the same time. It was definitely all in one burst of inspiration.

It always felt like quite a happy ‘walking down the road singing this song’ song and that was the deciding factor. When we recorded it in the studio, we kept the same guitar sound we used on the laptop. We wanted to incorporate as much as we could from the demo into the finished product.

In what way does “Phone Machine” preview Invite Me, kindly? Is there a throughline between the lyrics or the musicality of the song and the record as a whole?

We wrote “Phone Machine” at the same time as the majority of the songs on the EP. They were all a product of that same burst of inspiration so they always collectively felt they should be together, like siblings.

The guitars feel like a step up from the first EP; it’s almost like the bass and guitar have switched their roles from the last EP a bit now that the bass being more solid and driving rather than guitar. Of course there are still Lola’s mad bass moments on both EPs. It wouldn’t be HotWax without them.

You’re touring with another band we love, Royal Blood, this fall. Are you looking forward to “Phone Machine” being part of your set? Where do you think it will fall on your setlist?

Yessss!!! We can’t wait to be playing “Phone Machine” at all of these legendary venues. We have been playing it early on in our set and think it goes down well in that spot but come to a show to see where it may be.

The song’s music video is part story, part performance. It really showcases your energy as a group. When did you get that video together and what was that experience like?

For our first EP I filmed a video for our middle single and we wanted to do the same again. Music videos and aesthetics is something I’m really into and it’s nice to be in control of a music video for a song you have written. It was a fun thing to make, we did it pretty quickly, and we wanted it to feel a bit janky like the song sounds.

They say that the younger you are in the music industry, the harder it is to navigate. Let’s talk positives, though – how has being young and vivacious benefited HotWax so far?

We’ve been playing our instruments since we were eight and playing live since we were 12/13. I think when you first start writing songs, especially at a young age, there is something special about it that is hard to keep. The naivety makes you create something that kind of sounds nostalgic and new, as you are inspired by your gut feeling more than when you grow up and more things become available and you’ve heard more opinions or had people telling you the correct way. We have only really been in the industry after getting signed in January, so it is still really new to us. We are really lucky with our management and label and team. It feels really organic and safe.

Alan Moulder mixed this new EP and his history with artists like you three goes way back to before starting a band was ever in any of your minds. What was exciting about bringing a legend into the mix, literally and figuratively?

Working with Alan was amazing! He has worked on some of our favorite albums, one being Fever to Tell by Yeah Yeah Yeahs. [That] was one of the first albums that changed things for me. He really listened to what we wanted out of the mixes and made our vision a reality.