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5 Questions With: Hotel Books [SBSW Edition]

It’s rare to come across a new band nowadays that will make
you think “damn – these guys are so different, but so damn great!” Well, that’s
where Hotel Books came in. A spoken word, indie rock band out of Porterville,
CA, Hotel Books has become one of my new favorite bands. We got to chat with
vocalist, Cam Smith, about their new album their writing process, and their experience
at South By So What?!. Check out our interview with Cam below!

You guys are one of
the more unique bands that we’ve heard in a while for the very reason that
you’re a spoken word, indie rock band. What gave you guys the push to form a
not so average band?

First off, thank you! I don’t think we
ever sat down and said “Let’s do something different.” I just loved writing
poetry and decided to use music and concerts as the platform in which I share
my poetry. Through the years, the musicians have come and gone, and I think
this latest installment of Hotel Books is the most diverse band we’ve ever
been. Dan comes from an emo/ indie background, Kaleb comes from heavy music,
and Andy comes from alternative country. I guess the uniqueness comes more from
synergy than anything else.

On top of the new album, you guys
recently toured with Hearts Like Lions before playing at South By So What?! and
you’re about to hit the road with Defeater for a month-long nationwide tour. Do
you guys prepare differently for festivals versus any other shows you would
normally play?

Yes and no. With SBSW, it was tough going
from playing forty minutes each night to a twenty minute set. As far as our
mindsets go, we try to approach every show the exact same way; Let’s play the
best we can and communicate our message of Love as honestly as we can.

You will be releasing your new album,
Run Wild, Young Beauty, on April 7th via InVogue Records. What track is your
favorite or most meaningful to you and why?

This is a very hard question to answer.
My favorite song changes quite often as I grow and face different
circumstances. As of right now, my favorite song would probably be “Constant
Conclusions” but I think the most meaningful song to me would be “I Died With
You”. That song meant a lot to us when we wrote it, and now that I have grown,
I have found even more meaning in it.

What act were you most excited to catch
at South By So What?! and did they meet your expectations?

We were very excited to see Hawthorne
Heights play “The Silence in Black and White” in full. I caught that set a
couple times last year and could not wait to see it again. I was very excited
to catch Cartel, The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus and The Maine. All those bands put
on a great set, even in the pouring rain. We caught a few bands that we weren’t
expecting to see but really enjoyed; Roam, Dear You, and Chon being a few!

I think my favorite aspect to you guys’
music is how you can really hear your emotions in a song – whether it be anger
or passion or love, etc. What is the process like for putting together a spoken
word song?

I write the lyrics. Dan, Kaleb and Andy
write the music. Sometimes I take a poem to them and they work out
instrumentals around it, and sometimes I hear an instrumental and think “I have
the perfect poem for this” while other times I am so moved by a song that I
write brand new lyrics. When recording, we try to do all vocals in one take. On
Run Wild, Young Beauty, nine of the twelve songs were tracked in one vocal
take. I like to get into the zone, channel the emotions as honestly as I can,
and pour it out steadily. I feel it’s a lot easier to capture the emotion when
all we focus on is emotion, rather than melodies, staying in key, and other
elements that singers deal with.

For more on Hotel Books: Website | Facebook | Twitter

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