Hotpants Romance - Interviews - Soundblab

Hotpants Romance

by Rich Morris Rating: Release Date:

By Richard Morris

The first time you hear It's a Heatwave, the debut album by Manchester's Hotpants Romance, it sounds like bludgeoning, shrill noise made on the cheap by madwomen in a hurry. It includes screamed-out lyrics like this: "His name is Paul/P!A!U!L!/He's such a retard/P!A!U!L!" (from 'Paul'). This alone would be reason to love it. The album's genius, however, is that, like Captain Beefheart's Trout Mask Replica, with each listen another melody, another hook emerges from the tangle of thrashed-out riffs and screaming until one day, without even noticing how it happened, you find yourself singing along to 'Sugar Dip' or 'Heatwave' like they're top 10 smashes. Which if we lived in any kind of just universe they would be.

The band - Kate, Laura and Lowri - formed on Valentine's Day 2005 and played their first gig immediately. They've since toured with The Ting Tings, but we won't hold that against them, and been described by the Manchester Evening News as "Manchester's greatest ever girl group". In 2010, they will release their second album. Will they unveil a shocking change of direction? We'll have to wait and see. But right now, Hotpants Romance are probably the greatest punk band you've never heard. Soundblab caught up with them to chat about DIY ethics, fashion icons and those all-important hotpants.

How did the band form?

Laura: We originally intended to only play once a year on Valentines Day. With little experience of playing our instruments. In 2005 we got together as the three-piece you know and love today when Kate joined to play the drums. It was shambolic to say the least but we went down a storm.

Where does the 'hotpants'concept come from? What came first, the outfits or the name?

Lowri: The name came first and we decided to wear hotpants after the second gig

Laura: It's more of a uniform than a concept.

Lowri: It's our identity and it just wouldn't be the same playing in trousers.

Laura: It lets people know we are here to have fun as well as playing music.

Lowri: At the beginning hotpants were not in fashion so it was deemed quite controversial or quite confusing to be in a punk band and wear hotpants.

Would you ever abandon your hotpants? If so, would you change your name and what to?

Kate: I now feel a great loyalty to my hotpants there have been good times and bad times but overall the hotpants have always got me through.

Lowri: The only time I was tempted to abandon them was when they started cropping up everywhere.

Kate: Like in Vice magazine!

Lowri: And Topshop. But they are here to stay I want to wear them when I'm old and fat.

Do you feel part of the Manchester scene?

Laura: Yes! But maybe more the art and DIY scene than the music scene, we know a lot of friends here who help us to put on great gigs.

Kate: I guess there are a lot of Manchester scenes.

Lowri: Oasis, The Courteeners and Hotpants Romance! What a family! What a scene!

A lot of your songs are very funny. To what extent is the humour intentional or does it just arise naturally from you playing together?

Kate: I believe I have a future career as a stand up comedian.

Laura: It comes naturally we didn't know they were funny!

What inspires you?

Kate: People without any money still having a large creative output.

Laura and Lowri: Yes, that's nice, we agree.

Laura: A lot of different things, perhaps that's why our songs are all a bit different we have a lot of different influences - we all love the films of David Lynch.

Kate: Slampt record label.

Lowri: Patti Smith.

Kate: People who continue to make music despite a lack of commercial success.

Lowri: The thought of going on tour in a hot country!

Who are your fashion icons?

Kate: My husband - I am wearing all his clothes! He dresses like Chevy Chase in the 80s!

Laura: Becky from Coronation Street and the fairground scene at the end of Grease.

Lowri: Somewhere between the glamorous fifties and the grungy nineties, so maybe Bette Davies on a bad day.

What are your tips for boys and girls looking to rock the Hotpants Romance look?

Laura and Lowri: Matching outfits and colour schemes works well.

Lowri: if you are going glam on the top half don't go glam on the bottom half or if you are going glam on the bottom half don't go glam on the top half unless it's a very special occasion in which case double glam is fine.

Laura: We once got accused of stealing a ten year olds wardrobe I don't know if this is good or bad.

Lowri: Wearing your own bands t-shirt.

Laura: Or ours! £10 or nearest offer.

Kate: Don't shave your legs or cover your bruises.

Lowri: Sequins never hurt anyone.

Boring girl band question warning! Is it something you're aware of or do you feel it's irrelevant?

Laura: We love being in a girl band it is great!

Kate: Personally, I don't give a shit but I have spoken to some girl bands who've said that they saw us and decided to form a band and that was amazing to hear.

Laura: I think it's very relevant because there are still so few women in music compared to men, especially in rock bands.

Lowri: It is relevant but it does not define us.

Laura: I think it can be to our advantage that we are a bit different by being all female, if we don't let it hold us back.

Who would you like to see in hotpants? Who should never wear hotpants?

Kate: My mum/my dad.

What's pissing you off in music right now?

Kate: People earning big money while pretending they still have DIY ethics.

Laura: Nothing is pissing me off in music; I've got better things to worry about.

Lowri: The same thing that always has - haircuts over content.

Which bands are you loving right now?

Laura: Those Darlins are my new favourite band and my old favourite is Jonathan Richman.

Kate: Warm Widow and The Monks and Antelope

Lowri: Abba - Greatest Hits Volume Two. I don't get out much these days.

Have you got a favourite place to play live?

Lowri: Anywhere with a big stage and preferably curtains.

Kate: Atlanta, Atlanta, Atlanta!

Laura: Street corners and beaches when the sun is out.

Lowri: Ooh yes.

What's next for Hotpants Romance?

Laura: We are just finishing our album.

Lowri: Second album.

Laura: And it is very good if we do say so ourselves so we will just do the artwork now then release it in time for the summer.

Lowri: Filming more music videos around Manchester and a European tour. And maybe even a band practice.

Kate: Keep on trucking!

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