Neltie and I met sometime in the late 90s. She worked at the Creepy Crawl in St. Louis and Hot Water Music played there pretty regularly. Last fall, HWM toured with Rise Against, who Neltie was working for. She ended up playing me stuff she had recorded and we talked about the possibility of writing some songs together. About a month or so after the tour we decided to make a go of it even though we were living on opposite sides of the country.
At the time I was living in Portland working on another project and she was living in NYC. In my free time I started demoing what would end up becoming “Made Of” I had worked up a version with guitars, bass, and a drum machine and sent it to her to put vocals on. What she sent back kinda blew my mind. Her indelible knack for writing melodies so catchy yet so dark put a interesting twist on the songs. After that, we began looking for other people to work with, and the first person that came to mind was Arthur Shepherd.
I’ve known Arty for almost as long as I’ve known Neltie. One of Arty’s old bands—Error Type: 11—was on the same label as HWM for a bit and we did quite a few shows and tours together. HWM had actually ended up playing a last minute show at Arty’s bar in Brooklyn—St Vitus—last fall, so I had been in recent contact with him. I sent him the version of “Made Of” that we had demoed, and he added a guitar part that took the song to an entirely different level. The next song we sent him would eventually become “The Innocent,” and he did the same thing to that but ratcheted the bar up even higher with some insanely cool backing vocals. Things really started to lock in. At this point, we had cemented the fact that the 3 of us wanted to do a band. My project in Portland had come to an end and I decided to pick up and move to NYC.
We initially enlisted George Rebelo on drums, but due to geography he sadly wasn’t going to be a viable option, so we started looking locally. Neltie and I had run into Jeff Gensterblum and a light bulb went off. We were both fans of Small Brown Bike and knew he was a solid and dynamic drummer, exactly what we needed. So we hit him up to see if he’d be interested. Even though he was in like 2000 bands at the time he was eager to start yet another project.
As we started working on songs together, it became apparent that we would need another guitar player. Matt came highly suggested by both Arty and Jeff. Arty and he go way back and Jeff had been hoping to get (yet another) project going with Matt for quite a while. The first rehearsal we had with Matt was awesome—he nailed everything and after just a few practices started bringing another integral layer to our sound. We had a band.
The “this is what the band sounds like described by a me part of the Bio”, Bio
This is quite possibly the hardest question for me to answer. The references by friends and colleagues are all over the map. “Killing Joke”, “Ride”, “Queens of the Stone Age”, “Danzig”, Everytime I die” huh?, and even “Holy Crap! This is not what I was expecting, can I get copy”. But I think the band agrees. When it comes down to it, you either like it or you don’t. Either way, we are having a blast doing it. —Jason Black.
No Idea Records