Yeah, I’m sure we’re all sick of Hotline Bling at this point. But what we aren’t sick of is Hotline Spring, or the alternative spring tour of the year. With headliners Magic Man and support from The Griswolds and Panama Wedding, Hotline Spring is set to hit Seattle on May 4th at Neumos, and will have the entire city doing their best Drake dance interpretations. Magic Man and Panama Wedding both rep the upper East Coast, from Boston and New York City respectively, and The Griswolds add a little Australian flair to the mix. I’m pretty pumped to finally hear The Griswolds’ “Beware the Dog” live, as I vividly remember singing that song after my breakup in my junior year of high school… I’ve been waiting to sing it with them for a while now. Warning before you hit play though, prepare for this song to be in your head for the rest of the week, and it might make you buy your tickets for their show on Wednesday like, right now.
Magic Man has been one of my favorite new bands for just about as long as I’ve known The Griswolds, and I’ll finally be seeing them live for the first time as well this Wednesday. Last week I got to ask Sam Lee, guitarist of the alt-pop duo, a few questions about their Hotline Spring tour and upcoming album plans, but of course we got sidetracked and also talked dogs on tour, hugging Australians, and the Mall of America. Read the full interview below.
Anna Kaplan: So you’ve been on the Hotline Spring tour for about a month now, how’s that going?
Magic Man: It’s been great; it’s been really fun. All of the guys we have on tour, the other bands and crew are amazing- really good people, fun to tour with, great bands every night. Yeah it’s been awesome, one of my favorite tours so far.
AK: You recently went through a touring lineup change. Who are the new people performing with you?
MM: We certainly are friends now, but we didn’t really know them well before we started playing together. Fran, our new keyboard player, worked in a radio station in Columbus, Ohio, which is one of our favorite stations. We’ve done a bunch of sessions there, interviews there, so we kind of met her before. We didn’t know she played keys until she kind of said she was interested in joining the band when we had the ad for the opening. Austin and Pepe were both Berklee students and we posted an ad on the Berklee… sort of jobs board basically and they auditioned, just blew us away, and here we are now.
AK: Speaking of people who are on tour with you, you posted on Twitter that Rocket, a dog, is going on tour with you, is that true??
MM: Yeah definitely, 100% true.
AK: Aww that’s so sad.
MM: Yeah it’s a bummer. Maybe we’ll bring him out for a few of the later dates.
AK: I’ll add that in there and I’m sure that will draw people in.
MM: Yeah, we’ll fly him out for some special shows.
— Magic Man (@MagicMan) January 25, 2016
AK: In an interview, you said the live show is an important part of Magic Man. Why is this?
MM: There’s some acts that are more of a studio project like Daily Dan but we’re definitely not that. We found our sound playing live shows and we really love doing it, really think it’s a great way for fans to interact with the music and kind of hear a different side of the band. We do try to, not change things up radically live, but like reinterpreting songs as you play it live so it’s a little bit different of an experience than the studio recording. Obviously I think like most bands definitely would say the same thing, but definitely more for us, we think seeing the show is really important to kind of understand and get to know the music.
AK: I’ve looked at the setlist, and I’ve seen you guys have been playing covers. Is there any chance for a Drake cover because Views from the 6 (edit: officially now just Views) is dropping this weekend and your tour is named after his song?
MM: Um I will never say never!
AK: What is the craziest thing or funniest thing to happen on this tour so far?
MM: We went to the Mall of America last night, which was pretty fun. Not really crazy but it’s kind of crazy that there’s a roller coaster inside of a mall. Like several roller coasters, a zipline, and all sorts of stuff like that which is pretty fun. So that’s what we did last night, pretty good time. I highly recommend it.
AK: A lot of your songs are about places on your most recent record, has this moved to the new album you’re making? What is the inspiration?
MM: We’ve got a few songs that are a little place focused, probably not quite as many as are the first record. In general this album is kind of like, we’ve been on tour for almost 2 years, living that really kind of hectic band lifestyle, and then we took a break and didn’t play that many shows at all. [We] went through some changes in the lineup of the band, and went from traveling around all the time to basically being in the studio working on a record. It’s just kind of about sort of taking a step back and taking in all these experiences we had in a whirlwind couple of years while we were touring and writing Before the Waves, and then sort of trying to fill those into songs and kind of write about that experience.
AK: Is the second album done? Or were you guys almost finished and then went on this tour or what?
MM: We’re pretty close to done. We’ve finished doing most of the recording, and a lot of the mixing, we’re just making some final tweaks now. So I wouldn’t say it’s 100% done, like ready for iTunes, but we’re pretty close.
AK: So maybe this summer or later this year?
MM: I hope so. The scheduling of releases is sort of like black magic that labels know all about, and I know nothing about. Obviously when the record’s done, we want to make sure it gets the proper promotion and release plans and packaging. So it takes a little longer than if you happen to be Kanye and can just put it on Tidal in like 6 hours. [Laughs] We’re not quite there yet.
AK: Today is Hug an Australian Day.
MM: What?? I didn’t know. Who decides these things?
AK: I don’t know, but I always like to look them up. I want to know who will you be hugging first?
MM: Of the Australians [The Griswolds]? I’ll probably try to hug them all at once, in a big group hug.
ANNA KAPLAN | Views from the 206 | KXSU Reporter