Rock group The Hotelier talks new album, being a band

Rock group The Hotelier performs during a show sponsored by WHUS in the UConn Student Union in Storrs, Connecticut on Saturday, April 9, 2016. (Amar Batra/The Daily Campus)

WHUS presented its final show of the semester Saturday in the Student Union Ballroom. The headlining act was rock band The Hotelier while Joy Again and Florist opened up the evening’s event.

The Hotelier gained attention after their second album, “Home, Like Noplace is There” (2014). The Boston Globe featured them in an article for the best music from Boston in 2014. The Hotelier were ranked No. 29 on Rock Sounds "Top 50 albums of the Year" list, and they got to perform last year at the Primavera Sound, a music festival in Barcelona, Spain.

They will release their third album “Goodness” next month, May 27, and will be tour access Europe and the United States this summer.

The Daily Campus got to sit down with members from The Hotelier while they played poker before their set.

The Daily Campus: So you have an album coming out next month. What can fans expect?

Christian Holden: There are 13 songs, it clocks in just about 43 minutes. Some songs are over six minutes long. We all really like the songs a lot. That's the best way I can describe it without giving too much away.

On past albums, did you guys not like the songs as much?

Holden: Not as much, yeah. I think in the moment we liked them just as much as we liked these songs, but I think now we like the songs a little bit more [on the new album].

After the huge success of your last album [“Home, Like Noplace is There”] was there a sense of pressure that the next one would have to be just as good if not better?

Chris Hoffman: No.

Holden (to Hoffman): Really? I think so, yes.

Hoffman (to Holden): I think for you, you had to do most of it. (Hoffman laughs.)

Holden: I think there was a pressure that people were going to expect a record similar to the one we just put out and there was a pressure for it to be able to stand-alone. I also think it wasn’t too much of a pressure. I feel like we feel generally competent as a band so it wasn’t like we felt the anxiety.

“Goodness” is one of the most anticipated indie rock albums of the year. What is that like considering how far you've come as a band?

Holden: I feel like it’s funny mostly ‘cause people are very excited about it, and I am under the general impression that people’s expectations are high. They generally don’t live up to their expectations, so I’m generally thinking it’s a bad thing.

In 2014 Alternative Press named you guys one of the top 10 ‘emo revival’ bands. Do you agree with that? Despite how other people define your band, how do you guys define the genre?

Holden: Genre’s funny because it’s like responding to the lineage of music that you’re making as well as how the media is portraying you. So like when the media talks about us being emo revival, no one that makes that kind of music really refers to themselves as so. It’s just sorta a media thing, but then also some people call us indie rock that want to link what were doing to indie rock, or it really just is whoever wants to link us to whatever lineage is there. I don’t necessarily care to put a genre on our band because it just doesn’t matter for people who are finding what our sound is.

What artists inspire you? Is it specific genres or a little bit of everything?

Hoffman: Our favorite band-band is The Weekenders.

Holden: Probably that and also I think we have been lucky to be surrounded by a bunch of artists who we think are really, really good and are making cool stuff. We’ve gotten to tour with our friends that are really talented and push us to make more challenging music.

You've (Holden) said in an interview that you were “content being in a band that not many people haven’t heard of” and that you're “not focused on trying to build a large fan base or play for tons of people.” Is that still true?

Holden: I think everything that has happened to our band has been icing on the cake, like it’s all felt good most of the time. While we are focused on it now, we are thinking of ways to play to bigger audiences because it keeps it being fun I think that it’s something we are focused on now.

Because of the success you guys have gotten so quickly, you've had to balance between your personal life and public life. Has that gotten any easier or harder over time?

Holden: It was easy for a long time, then it was hard and now it’s easier.  I think that when we didn’t have to think about it that was easy. Then there was a part where it was really new and people wanted stuff from us. People would be our friends in a way that they wanted something from us rather than be our friend. While that’s sort of OK and we think we understand why those people can be friendly and have a place in life that doesn’t have to be completely meaningless or evil. [There’s] a whole lot to it that I’m starting to figure it out more, at least for myself.

Hoffman: I have a pretty hermit lifestyle so I don’t think it’s really changed as much. I was in a diner the other day and they were playing our record. It was strange, cool though.

Holden: We’re also all really bad at Internet, so we don’t have to worry about being good at it.

What is your goal as a band, if there is one? Making music for yourselves? For the fans as something they can relate to and just generally enjoy? You've been referred to as 'political.' Is there specific messages you want to get out to fans through music?

Hoffman: At least for me I don’t know what I would do or want to do.

Sam Frederick: True.

Hoffman: Whether this band is where it is now or small as it once was I would still just be in it ‘cause it’s fun.

Holden: I feel like also there’s a million things our band is trying to do at once. As artists, self-expression. As a business, we want to have money to live and put a lot of energy into cause we care and like doing it. And in an ego way, we’d like to be able to play as many people as possible without it being super weird. [We have] all the desires big bands have aside from world domination.


Angie DeRosa is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at angelina.derosa@uconn.edu. She tweets @theangiederosa.