April 27, 2010
HOT CHELLE RAE
Ryan Keith Follese (Vocals, Guitar)
By: Shauna O’Donnell
THIS IS SHAUNA O’DONNELL AND YOU ARE LISTENING TO MUEN TALK. I HAVE R.K. THE VOCALIST/GUITARIST OF HOT CHELLE RAE ON THE PHONE TODAY.
MUEN: HI R.K. HOW ARE YOU?
I’m doing well, how are you?
MUEN: I’M DOING GOOD. PEOPLE ARE CURIOUS AS TO HOW THE NAME OF YOUR BAND CAME ABOUT.
We had a crazy MySpace stalker a long time ago and her handle was Chelle Rae. When we were very first getting our start in the music business, she was posing as someone else, saying she worked for Universal Records and gave us the runaround. We just decided that we liked the name, so we ended up going from Miracle Drug to that.
MUEN: WASN’T SHE POSTING PICTURES OF HERSELF AND IT WASN’T EVEN HER?
Oh yeah totally, it was actually a model named Stacy Cole’s pictures that she was posting. This girl was faking her entire identity, her whole life.
MUEN: THAT’S CRAZY, I HEAR IT HAPPENS A LOT.
It does happen a lot, but experiencing it first hand and hearing about it are two different things. When you think you know someone and it turns out that they are not even that person, it is mind blowing.
MUEN: IT’S KIND OF LIKE WHEN YOU HEAR THAT SOMEONES PAGE HAS BEEN HACKED AND THEN IT HAPPENS TO YOU. IT MAKES YOU UNDERSTAND THE IMPACT OF IT.
Yes, it’s exactly like that. It totally sucks.
MUEN: YOUR ALBUM LOVESICK ELECTRIC IS OUT. IS THIS YOUR DEBUT?
Yes, it is our debut.
MUEN: I READ THAT YOU WROTE MANY, MANY SONGS FOR IT AND HAD TO NARROW IT DOWN. HOW MANY DID YOU WRITE?
It seems like the number grows every time we tell the story, it’s turning into this tale, but really I think we had 45-50 songs for it.
MUEN: WAS IT HARD TO NARROW IT DOWN?
It was easier in the beginning, but as it progressed we we’re down to fifteen songs, we had to cut an album of fourteen and then narrow it down to eleven. It got really difficult at the end.
MUEN: HOW LONG DID IT TAKE YOU TO WRITE THIS ALBUM?
Honestly, Nash and I started this five years ago and we have been writing songs for this first record ever since we met.
MUEN: WHAT KIND OF FEEDBACK ARE YOU GETTING?
I feel like we are getting great feedback. We worked so hard on this thing and it is definitely our baby. All we wanted to do was put out a record that was worth buying and put out a full length that people would get excited about. I feel like some of the feedback that we have received has shown that we have succeeded in that area. I think we put out a record that is worth buying and that people feel the same.
MUEN: WHEN WRITING AN ALBUM DO YOU GET A FEELING AS TO WHICH SONGS WILL BE HITS OR SINGLES?
Oh yeah, you definitely do. You can write a song and it can be really cool, you can know that it’s a great song and it can help shape an album. When we wrote “I like To Dance” we just knew, we got that feeling, you strive to recreate that over and over again. It’s just so difficult, we are like “What did we do that day?”
MUEN: DO YOU THINK YOU MIGHT USE SOME OF THE OTHER SONGS FOR THE NEXT ALBUM?
We’ve talked about it; there are definitely some songs we like. There is a song that we wrote a long time ago, we wrote the main part of it and it was a really great song, but it wasn’t developed enough for this record. I’m thinking it might show up on the next one.
MUEN: HAVE YOU ALREADY BEGUN WRITING THE NEXT ONE?
Yeah, honestly, if everything goes well, we shouldn’t have to put out the next record for a long time. We definitely have started writing; I think we have fifteen songs for the next record already.
MUEN: YOU WORKED WITH ERIC VALENTINE AND BUTCH WALKER ON THIS ALBUM. TELL ME A LITTLE ABOUT THESE GUYS AND WHAT IT WAS LIKE TO WORK WITH THEM.
All of the producers that we worked with were a dream come true. When we very first started this even before we had a deal we were thinking about who our dream producers would be. Eric Valentine and Butch Walker were two of the people that were on our list, so it WAS a dream come true. Eric Valentine is a genius and I don’t like to throw that word around a lot because it is over used. Butch is so different from Eric in the way that he produces that it was an awesome marriage for us to do this record.
MUEN: THEY ARE BOTH HIT MAKERS.
Yeah, I suppose they are. I feel like they both did the songs that were the best for them to do.
MUEN: DO YOU THINK THAT BANDS SHOULD USE DIFFERENT PRODUCERS WITH EACH ALBUM TO CREATE DIVERSITY?
I think it all depends on the song. I think it is a good thing in our case and that it worked out in our favor.
MUEN: LET’S TALK ABOUT THE VIDEO FOR “BLEED.” IT IS SUCH A COOL CONCEPT. YOU HAD FANS FROM ALL OVER THE WORLD SEND IN SUBMISSIONS OF THEIR THOUGHTS TO BE INCLUDED. TELL ME WHAT PROMPTED THIS IDEA AND HOW IT ALL WORKED OUT.
It was kind of an idea that we all came up with together. We actually shot a lot of that at shows. A lot of our fans have told us that they can relate to the lyrics in that song so well. If everyone can relate to it then why not make it a memory for our fans. To us, the fans are 100% the fuel that drives this truck and we wanted to include them in the video the best we could.
MUEN: DID YOU GET AN OVERWHELMING RESPONSE?
Yes, we got a really great response. We were surprised to be honest.
MUEN: ARE YOU EXCITED ABOUT BEING ON THE WARPED TOUR THIS SUMMER?
We are so, so stoked. We are thrilled, playing the Warped Tour is a rite of passage in our opinion and we couldn’t be happier.
MUEN: WHERE WERE YOU WHEN YOU FOUND OUT YOU WERE GOING TO BE ON THE TOUR?
I think we might have been in Los Angeles when we found out. It’s going to be dirty, hot and fun!
MUEN: WHAT AGE RANGE DOES YOUR MUSIC APPEAL TO?
It’s really weird because I feel like we can appeal to everyone. We have had parents who grew up on 70’s and 80’s music be like “You guys are freakin awesome!” We will play shows where parents and their kids will be there and the parents are getting posters and stuff. It’s pretty crazy, but it’s a good thing because I don’t feel like there is a barrier.
MUEN: WHAT DID IT FEEL LIKE THE FIRST TIME SOMEONE ASKED FOR YOUR AUTOGRAPH?
It felt really weird, it still weirds me out to be honest. It’s weird to go from not playing for anybody to having someone want your signature on a piece of paper. It’s awesome!
MUEN: WHAT IS THAT BANNER ON YOUR PAGE THAT SAYS ROCK YOURSELF TO SLEEP?
It is a deal that we did with Motel 6. They have been so gracious and kind as to sponsor a handful of bands out there. They give them a place to stay by giving them vouchers. They picked us, so we can stay at some of the Motel 6’s while we are on the Warped Tour for free. It saves us a ton of money. It is amazing that they are doing that, they just don’t even know how much money it saves. We get to play way more shows because of that.
MUEN: THAT IS SO AWESOME. OKAY I READ THAT THERE IS SOME FANTASTIC DNA RUNNING THROUGH ALL OF THE BAND MEMBERS. YOU AND YOUR BROTHER JAMIE ARE THE SONS OF AN A-LIST NASHEVILLE SONGWRITER.
It was really great for us growing up, that’s for sure.
MUEN: IAN’S DAD IS A GRAMMY NOMINATED GUITARIST.
Yeah, Ian’s dad might be the best guitar player on planet Earth. Ian’s dad is Bill Keaggy, my dad is Keith Follese and Nash’s dad is also a hit songwriter by the name of Paul Overstreet. It’s not what people think it is, generally they are not responsible, but they have definitely helped push us in music and guide us. When you don’t have guidance in the music business it can be a dark place.
MUEN: SO YOU GREW UP WITH MAJOR MUSICAL INFLUENCE. WHY DID YOUR DAD TRY TO ENCOURAGE YOU NOT TO GO INTO THE MUSIC BUSINESS?
He didn’t encourage me not to, he just warned me. He said “The music business is full of snakes.” When I was younger, I was a very persistent kid and would ask “What does that mean?” He said “You will figure it out later.” Now that I’m older I say “Now I know what you are talking about.”
MUEN: IT DOSEN’T MATTER WHAT JOB YOU DO IN THE INDUSTRY, YOU RUN INTO THOSE PEOPLE.
You can’t really count on anything until its happening. You can get built up about things that are promised or told and a lot of times it doesn’t work out. I think it gives you a little bit tougher skin.
MUEN: DO YOU THINK IT MAKES YOU WORK HARDER?
It made me work harder.
MUEN: YOU WERE BORN IN LOS ANGELES, WHEN DID YOU MOVE TO NASHEVILLE?
We moved when I was two or something like that.
MUEN: WHAT DOES THE TATTOO ON YOUR CHEST SAY?
I’d be happy to answer that. It says Dream with my eyes open, Sleep when I’m Dead, Welcome my heart’s chosen, Conquer what lies ahead.
MUEN: THAT’S BEAUTIFUL, DID YOU WRITE THAT?
Thank you, yes I did. I wrote it quite some time ago when I think I was fifteen. I finally deemed it chest worthy and got it.
MUEN: THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THE INTERVIEW. GOOD LUCK WITH THE ALBUM AND TOUR. BEFORE I LET YOU GO, WAS THERE ANYTHING YOU’D LIKE TO ADD OR SAY?
I can’t wait to come back out to L.A. and play a show. We love L.A. Thank you to our incredible fans and go buy Lovesick Electric.