Since 2017, Dunedin four-piece Hot Donnas have been creating music primed to get bodies moving, heads banging and brains hooked on their infectious melodies and fired up rock attitude. The band shares their next chapter, releasing their new EP, The Adventures of E-WAN, and from it their new single, Two Brains.
Two Brains is the sort of track that could exist in the same sonic landscape as early Arctic Monkeys as it could Queens of the Stone Age. A song about indecision, overthinking and figuring out which way is best to proceed, Two Brains is three minutes, fifteen seconds of shredding guitars, thrashing percussion and strangely hypnotic vocals. The perfect dose of rock serotonin for any fan. The band tells Hi Fi Way more about the EP.
Is there a feeling of relief or excitement that your EP is about to come out?
A bit of both to be honest. There is definitely a sense of relief to get these tunes out as we have been working on them for just over a year now, which to us feels like an extremely long time to be sitting on songs and as a result we can’t wait for them to be released and listened to by our audience.
How will you celebrate release day?
We have a gig the night before in Christchurch that would be a good send off for release day and the next day will blast a play through for the road trip back. We are confident the gig will be an appropriate way to celebrate for what has been a difficult year and long process of organising ourselves to get this music out there.
What inspired the name The Adventures Of E-Wan?
To be honest we had no idea what to call it and it was the most last minute decision we have made. Our flat mate is a substitute teacher and also struggles with English (funnily enough he’s a history major). He was calling the roll call and asked if E-wan (Ewan) was present. We found this funny and had no other better option sadly. It reads as a decent Ep title though so we are happy with it.
Did COVID add another layer of complexity in getting it done?
Yes in ways it did because we had to push back our release by a few more months. But it also allowed us to have more time so we organized a music video that our good mate Cam made us throughout the lockdown. Time pressure is always nagging at us because we do this all ourselves, and so sharing time between work and Hot Donnas makes things harder. When covid took over it became a case of prioritising some life challenges and waiting for the lockdowns to end. We were stoked to capitalize off the extra time by getting some amazing content added to the whole release!
To the uninitiated how would you describe Hot Donnas?
We are a team of red hot kiwi blokes who enjoy making music more than anything else. Making the most of all the opportunities we get through doing so and work hard to make music that represents our lives and values.
How did you get the band together?
Drummer George and Guitarist Mitch went to school together and have been slapping licks from a young age together. Bassist Gene and Mitch meet during university along with Singer/ Guitarist Jacob and George linking up too. Slap all of us together and there formed HOT DONNAS.
What are some of your main shared influences?
Musically we share quite a few influences: Foo Fighters have always been a staple band for all of us as we have all grown up. Listening to the likes of Green Day, Nirvana, Arctic Monkeys and even heavier stuff like Tool & Slipknot really cemented our collective love for Rock’n’Roll.
Is there anything symbolic about the name Hot Donnas?
If you go watch Season 4, Episode 13 of That 70’s Show you’ll know all you’ll need to know.
Are there plans for more new music?
Yes after releasing the album we have been working on/had ideas of new tunes and riffs to come. We haven’t had the opportunity to run them through and create them as a band yet but is the plan for what is happening next. They are very exciting ideas and we will be getting them written up as soon as possible.
How excited are you about the prospect of touring?
Feels like forever since we have done our last tour or even gigged regularly due to Covid so to get a show up and running would only toot our horns off more with excitement. We have spent the whole year fantasizing about different things we want to do, so as soon as we can get it in motion we will be full of motivation to show everyone what we’re capable of. 2021 is a new year and we are ready to hit it with pace.
What’s a fun fact that your fans wouldn’t know about Hot Donnas?
We all play multiple instruments and like recording our own side projects. George and Mitch are into progressive metal and have jams with other mates. Gene enjoys making house music in his spare time and our singer Jake also enjoys rapping. He has a side project called Merc Lady that he and his 2 other flatmates are in. They released an album during their Covid lockdown. Check it out, it’s called ALBLG.
Interview By Rob Lyon