Nash Overstreet of Hot Chelle Rae
All hailing from musical backgrounds it took some time for the foursome to come together and gel as a band but when they did the goal was to create a sound that was larger than life. The band (Nash Overstreet on lead guitar/vocals, Ian Keaggy on bass/vocals, and brothers Ryan Keith Follese on lead vocals/guitar and Jamie Follese on drums) worked with an all star line up of producers including Butch Walker and Eric Valentine who guided them through the process.
The results? A power pop rock album that offers up the perfect soundtrack to anyone who wants to break up with their long distance lover, dance the night away, then fall in love all over again before the sun comes up. The songs are a perfect blend of being catchy without jeopardizing their substance and will undoubtedly leave your ears, heart, and dancing shoes longing for another listen. Solid musicianship throughout for such young guys we predict big things for this band in the future and think they deserve everything they have coming their way.
Guitarist Nash Overstreet took some time out of the bands current promo tour to catch TWRY up on the and and their new album (and you KNOW we had to ask about Mr. Walker…)
Interviewed by: Mary Ouellette | August 2009
So let’s talk a little bit about the band’s start. When you and Ryan first met, you really didn’t like each other much, can you tell us how things evolved into forming a band together?
We’ll refer to it as being frienemies! We were each in the worst phase of our lives stylistically (hopefully!) Ryan had very short buzzed hair, and I had purple, red, blonde, and black going on, maybe even a little Fuschia. We stereotyped each other just a little too much, a few months later we got together and we clicked instantly.
So everyone in the band comes from a family with musicians in it (From Nashville Songwriters to a Grammy nominated guitarist). Can you tell us how each of you got into music and decided to follow this path?
I (just like everyone else in this band), started out playing a different instrument than I now play in HCR. I took some drum lessons when I was nine, added guitar when I was eleven and from then on I was hopeless! I had always wanted to be a musician, but it really became my dream when I was about twelve.
A lot of people think that getting signed to a label is the hard part of the process but in talking to a lot of bands that’s actually just the beginning. Can you take us briefly through your journey from when you were signed to where the band is now?
We were so driven to get record deal for years before having one. It was our ONE goal that we felt like we needed to achieve in order to start going after all of the other goals. Since October, when we signed with JIVE, I feel like we’ve been on the fast track times ten! We began recording our record in January with Eric Valentine, went to Malibu to work with Butch Walker in February, and then finished it with Matt Radosevich. Since then we’ve done photo shoots, picked graphics, gotten a website up and running, played shows, and now we’re on an acoustic radio promo tour.
So I was excited to see that you did some work with my favorite musician/songwriter Butch Walker (while he was wearing his producer hat). Can you tell us what he was able to bring to the table for you?
He was amazing to work with. It was kind of a trip. He has an energy that translates onto a recording that blows my mind. He, like us, is a big Queen fan, and you can tell with the way that he orchestrates all of the background vocals.
Were you familiar with any of Butch’s work before working with him?
Absolutely! He was one of the artists that we really looked up and learned from as far as putting on a great, energetic live show.
So going into writing your first album what was the process for selecting songs? Were you selecting songs that you had written in the past or did you write all new songs for the album?
We’ve been writing for an album from the beginning. There were stages where we threw out batches of songs, changed musical directions etc. We finally got the sound and songs we wanted, narrowed down our favorites, A&R/Jive weighed in, and then the producers picked from those. We’re very happy with the end result.
Do you feel the end product of Lovesick Electric will give music fans a good idea of who Hot Chelle Rae is as a band?
It’s a great representation of the music we love to write and create. It’s fairly diverse, with dance tracks, to ballads, and few rock songs in the midst.
Can you walk us through a few of your favorite tracks on the album both musically and lyrically?
Lyrically I immediately go to “Bushes”. It just came about so randomly and we worked hard at having the lyrics being clever, and visual. Songs like “Last Ones Standing”, “Alright”, and “The Distance”, on the other hand, are very real, emotional songs, which hopefully a lot of people will be able to relate to. Musically I am in love with how “I Like to Dance” came out, as well as “Never Have I Ever”.
Speaking of, “I Like To Dance” was recently featured on the hit TV show “So You Think You Can Dance” – what was that moment like for you to hear your song on a national TV show?
I had butterflies in my stomach for sure! It was weird, because I don’t get nervous performing live, but seeing a previously recorded product played back in a public venue, I get uncomfortable… in a good way.
For music fans out there who are inundated with new music every day, what can you tell them about yourselves to give them a reason to give you a listen and give you a chance?
We’ve worked all of our lives to play our instruments great, and write even better songs. Our goal is to make people feel good, give them something to lift them if they’re down, and not least of all, DANCE.
Given the musicians in your family and all the professionals involved in the music industry that you’ve worked with recently, who has given you the best advice and what was it?
Eric Valentine had the best quote “Pretty much, any notes are cool here”. But seriously one the most important things was having our friends and family believe in, and encourage us to hold out for the right team/label etc, and not settle or get impatient. We’d have never gotten to work with who we got to, or end up on the right label for us without that. We couldn’t be happier.
Do you think there is one song on Lovesick Electric that sums up the sound of the general vibe of the band, if so, which one would it be?
“Never Have I Ever,” for sure. It has high, soaring vocals, lots of harmonies, bass lines, a guitar solo, electro toms, synthesizers galore, and if you can’t groove to the drum beat… sorry.
You’ve called the album “completely accessible” which I think is an important element that should be incorporated into any great song because people have to be able to relate to it. What do you think it is about the album that makes it such?
We’re songwriters first. We write about what we’ve experienced, what friends have experienced, things we want for our future, and things we NEVER want to see happen. Hopefully there will be something for everyone.
Has the release date been set for the album yet and what’s on tap for the band in the next few months? Will we see you on tour?
The single goes to radio the beginning of next month, and the album should be available within the following couple of months. We should have info for everyone concerning our tour soon. Hopefully it’ll begin in September.
You recently opened a big sold out show for David Cook, how was the reception at that show for the new music?
It was absolutely incredible. The people there were so receptive, and we had such a great time!
Thanks for your time, any parting words to your people?