Interview: Hot Mulligan on their brand new record, tour with Grayscale and plans for 2020

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Interview: Hot Mulligan on their brand new record, tour with Grayscale and plans for 2020

“Maybe people who have heard our past music and been like it’s not for me. Hopefully get some of those people to cross over and change their minds,” Chris Freeman of Hot Mulligan told me in our interview recently when the band was in Worcester, MA with Grayscale. Intentionally keeping their brand new album, “you’ll be fine”, under wraps with the exception of the singles, it is worth the wait for fans. This album is already propelling Hot Mulligan into the hearts of the Warped nation. Ever since the album dropped not even a week ago, the internet has been buzzing  over the band, even tweeting about how they want them to be added to Sad Summer to make it perfect. 

The timing was on point for my sit down with Freeman and Tades Sanville where they broke down the album process and their time with Grayscale. If you haven’t yet, pick up the new album and find your new favorite band! 

Editors Note: As we went to press on this, the band just announced their headline run! Find the dates here.

A lot is happening right now for the band. The new album drops in just over a week, so I’m sure that’s been exciting for you, to finally have the album coming out. This tour’s almost done. Grayscale has had a really natural progression too. You both headlined BMH last year, you’ve both been touring non stop. How have these dates been for Hot Mulligan, with these singles coming out?

Chris Freeman: They’ve been good. We haven’t played a lot of these cities in a while. It’s good to come back and have fans that we didn’t have in the past. That we earned from the last times that we were there. So shows have been turning out good and it’s been a lot of fun.

Tiresome I’m sure.

CF: Yeah, a little bit.

And how do you feel the two singles have been going over with kids? Like “*Equip Sunglasses*” for example?

CF: We haven’t played Sunglasses yet. No but we have played “Feal like Crab” and “BCKYRD” and they’re going over pretty good. I’m stoked to play them next time around too once we’ve gotten a feel for it live. Because it’s always different hearing a song for the first time live then once you’ve seen it in person.

So you’ve been focusing on what kids already know. Keeping the album secret which is good.

CF: We just didn’t want to play anything that hasn’t come out yet. Kind of just kills the mood.

Then coming into it, you’ve released singles but this is the sophomore album, correct me if I’m wrong. So maybe how long has this record been in the making? When did you really start the process? Were they all written fresh for the album, are some of them older?

Tades Sanville: I mean some of them have been around for a while but for the most part, a lot of these are relatively fresh ideas. Right after “Pilot”, maybe we had some ideas that stuck around for a while, but mostly they were songs from when we got together for like ten days.

CF: Yeah in March about a year ago.

TS: And we just sort of pumped out a bunch of new material. And worked with a bunch of that to try and come up with some fresh stuff for the album.

That’s terrific. Is there maybe something new you tried in this record and maybe something that will still scream Hot Mulligan to past fans of you that have been loyal to you.

TS: We try to do a lot of things that we didn’t before. At least in terms of writing parts. We didn’t want to write a part that was like, we’ve done that in the past so let’s do it again. So we tried to at least give something a new rhythm. And I think just the way we sound, the chords we play, and our vocals just make us sound like Hot Mulligan anyways.

So you always want to try a lot of things, don’t want to fall into a runt? I feel that’s what helps a band succeed is when you continue to progress versus music that only appeals to that same age group. I mentioned it before, you’ve been touring so much, Grayscale has been too and it’s obviously paid off. You’re still a newer band but advice for bands within their first year of touring.

CF: The advice that we got was just do it.

TS: Yeah (laughs). I’d say it’s a little different now. I think you can be more strategic with it. I’d say, save money and be smart with money in the start. That’s probably the best advice you could get. Instead of going all out, getting hotels, doing tours that are too long for you to reasonably do.

CF: Be ready to be poor, but also, just fucking do it.

I mean, it’s part of it. Especially if you are taking on those super long tours. Maybe in the past, a lot of bands weren’t as honest about it, money wise.

CF: I feel like bands in the past are always saying there’s zero money to be made but they lie about that. No one’s rich or anything, but it’s not like there’s zero money in it. Especially parents I feel like to tell their kids that there’s not a chance. You have to be smart with your money obviously. But also don’t make music that you don’t like.

TS: I feel like a lot of people run into that thing where they just make a song, and it’s a complete song so that means we have a complete song now. Why would you release something like that when you could make a song that you haven’t heard before that you want to hear out in the world. Don’t even strive to make something that you can dig into and be stoked on.

That’s very true. You see a lot of time people making music that’s nowhere near what they actually like. I know you said you aren’t playing it live, but you did just released the video for “*Equip Sunglasses*” only a few days ago. At least from listening to the song, I see the lyrics, “Be sure you’re identical to your peers”. I went into it and thought Grease Lightning energy immediately but how did you develop the video?

CF: There’s a couple reasons we came to do the video that way. Like you said, I heard that in the lyrics. I formed that scene even in my brain from listening to it. Even if it wasn’t necessarily what Tades intended, and then we decided that the guitar riff made you decide you wanted to wear sunglasses. So put on those sunglasses and get in that vibe. Just have fun with it.

Then tomorrow’s the last day of this run with Grayscale, but it’s been just over a month. I’m sure days off have been sparse. You’re about to release this record. Maybe focuses or goals for the rest of 2020?

CF: Play more shows. We want people to sing the new songs. I hope to reach fans that we haven’t reached in the past. Maybe people who have heard our past music and been like it’s not for me. Hopefully get some of those people to cross over and maybe change their minds.Just stoked to see what kind of shows we can play with the new record.

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Colleen has been writing about music since 2009. Interviewing bands since the glory days of Warped and has continued to do so for now over fourteen years. As well as doing freelance for other publications, the love for everything rock continues today.