It’s very rare that an album comes out in the end of February and is quickly named an Album of the Year contender. Yet, for The Hotelier’s Home, Like No Place is There, there is no question that this album is the one to beat for 2014. A name change and one new album later, The Hotelier is taking the music scene by storm, whether they recognize it or not. Luckily for WTSR, vocalist Christian Holden sat down with us a few weeks back in Brooklyn to discuss the name change, crowd reactions, and, of course, the album that we cannot stop talking about. Big thanks to Christian for taking some time out of this hectic night for an interview!
Keep Calm and Carry On: First thing we are going to address is the name change. You guys were The Hotel Year, you are now The Hotelier. What accounted for the name change?
Christian Holden: Mostly, there was a band called My Hotel Year that used to exist and we just got tired of having to think of their band every single time we said our name. That was mostly it.
Keep Calm: Because you released the new album Home, Like No Place is There under the new name, do you find that these two chapter of the band are blending or do you view them as separate entities?
CH: I feel like the era in which, you know, we were The Hotel Year, which was every single thing besides two months ago, is a lot of us playing with stuff instead of consciously making certain styles of music, or like putting more conscious effort into certain parts of the music. But, yeah, for the most part, they still blend together when we play shows.
Keep Calm: Do you find a divide between your fans as far as the old fans of The Hotel Year and the new people that are coming out after the release of the last album?
CH: Not really, unless we are playing an old song and no one knows it. That’s the only manifestation of that. . . The tour in the fall was definitely smaller, kind of more self booked and stuff. Those shows were good. They were fun. And then these shows on this last tour were even better because our new record [is] out and a lot of people are paying attention.
Keep Calm: How do you find the crowd was responding to the new songs?
CH: They really like em. I mean, a lot of people are there just because they’ve heard the new album and haven’t heard any of the old stuff. So that’s pretty cool. A lot of people are really passionate about singing those songs so it’s cool.
Keep Calm: Right, and there was kind of a long pause in recording for you guys- it was about three years between this album and the last one. How does it feel to be back playing new stuff?
CH: It feels cool. It wasn’t like a big push like this one when our last album was out. It never was like we’re back, we were always touring with our last record. But this is the first time people actually really care about our stuff. Our last album was release not on a label, so it was a really slow growth. It has never felt like we’re back but it feels good where we are right now.
Keep Calm: How was writing and recording different then, now that you’re with Tiny Engines as your label. . . as opposed to doing the self-released stuff?
CH: Uhm not, except that we always have someone asking us “hey, where’s that album?” That happened a lot because it took forever to record it. But that’s really mostly it. I mean, otherwise, we could’ve just released it a long time ago when it was ready, but there’s a lot of things they have to plan for and manage around.
Keep Calm: Are you surprised from the reaction you’ve gotten from this album?
CH: Yeah, definitely.
Keep Calm: What was the most surprising thing? When you were writing it, did you think “oh, we are going to be everyone’s early Album of the Year contender?”
CH: No, we didn’t even know Album of the Year existed until like last year. I didn’t even know that people did that. But I just kind of really wanted to write a record that I was proud of and put a lot of effort into doing that. I don’t think I really had dreams like that. I mostly just wanted to write something that I thought would take us further than our last album would and it worked.
Keep Calm: Well it seems like you succeeded. Do you guys have any music video plans?
CH: We literally just talked to this guy inside about this music video he wants to make for us. I don’t know if we are gonna do it. I’m pretty picky when it comes to visual stuff so I don’t know if I’ll end up liking his idea. I might just want to scrap it and do something else. But at the same time, we aren’t actively seeking to put out a music video. It doesn’t necessarily make us so excited that we’re willing to drop everything to do it. But if it happens, then we’ll do it. That’s pretty much it.
Keep Calm: Do you have any songs in mind that you’re like “if we are going to do it, it’s going to be for this song?”
CH: Not really. There’s some that I just wouldn’t want to do a music video for. But otherwise, yeah.
Keep Calm: The last thing I want to hit on is sometimes a touchy subject for people. According to a whole bunch of music blogs and music critics, you guys are the frontrunners of the so-called “Emo Revival,” which anyone who listens to the show knows how I feel about that term. How do guys feel about getting this label?
CH: We are friends with a lot of those bands that are also getting lumped in with Emo Revival stuff. So, I don’t really mind. How do I feel about the word- it’s like whatever. There’s definitely a resurgence of people who are influenced by old emo stuff that are making music as opposed to people who are just influenced by New Found Glory and making music, which was a large portion of what happened for a while. So yeah, I’m totally cool with whatever anyone wants to put on us for a label, whatever they decide fits with their definition and that’s cool with us.
Another big thanks to Christian Holden of The Hotelier for sitting down and talking music with Keep Calm and Carry On! Learn more about the band via Tiny Engine’s website and be sure to check out their bandcamp.
Author’s Note: This interview was originally published on The Garden Statement’s parent website Keep Calm and Carry On. All content of Keep Calm and Carry On is now property of The Garden Statement. A letter explaining the switch in sites can be found here. Cheers!