HOTT MT released their debut album, 'I Made This,' back in May. It shows the LA band traversing between blissed-out, anxious pop on songs like 'You Know When You're Right' and 'Lil Saigon,' and weirder, hotter zones on 'Summer Lime' and 'The Family Flea.'
Today we premiered HOTT MT's new video for 'Glass Sun,' a song from 'I Made This,' on Red Bull Sound Select. Directed by Greg King, the dreamy tune's set within a grander noir narrative, as a determined detective pursues an elusive woman through the shadowy streets and beautiful alleyways of LA. Much of it was shot near the band's home in Chinatown, which is also the setting for numerous noir films (including Roman Polanski's classic 'Chinatown').
HOTT MT plays a Red Bull Sound Select show in LA this Saturday (with Frightened Rabbit, Gothic Tropic, and Tapioca and the Flea). Earlier this week, we caught up with HOTT MT members Ashi Dala and Spooky Tavi a few hours before they played a show at the Echo, the LA venue where they've had a Monday residency throughout July.
Was this video a collaborative project with the director, or did you let Greg King run with it?
Ashi Dala: We worked very closely with Greg. We sat down and wrote a treatment together and determined where the story would go. It was a full collaboration.
Are you both fascinated with the noir, hardboiled detective genre?
Ashi Dala: We are. And we're fascinated with cinema in general. Living in Chinatown, in LA, it's a sweet spot for noir, because it's where noir takes place. We wanted to take advantage of our environment and shoot the movie in this setting.
Spooky Tavi: We tried to shoot at a lot of places that have been used in noir films in the past, like Union Station and City Hall. But we tried to shoot them from different angles to provide a view that hasn't been seen before. I really like Raymond Chandler, and the detective character Philip Marlowe from his book the 'Big Sleep,' and others. He's a great antihero. It describes LA in a way that's really poetic and great. That's one of the many things we like about LA.
Ashi Dala: I think the hard-boiled detective is a persona that both of us feel really connected to as musicians. I get frustrated a lot, and it's easy to relate to the guy who's kind of alone and working in his own way. I like the darkness and mysterious nature of it all.
How do these ideas relate to the song?
Ashi Dala: We had ideas for the song prior to talking with Greg, but when the idea of doing a noir video came up, it took us off guard. The song doesn't really sound like a soundtrack to noir, but we liked that twist. And when you watch it, it really works. The song's about ― well, I don't want to say it's about spiritual experience, but it's about being alone, contemplative, introspective and mysterious in that way. There's a similar mood, for sure.
You make a cameo in the video, right?
Spooki Tavi: Yes, we are momentarily in it. We have a little cameo, when the detective walks by the Grand Star Jazz Club, in Chinatown. We're sitting outside, he walks by, and I light up a cigarette. It's just the two of us, not the whole band.
And it all ends with the sun, which is made of glass, getting shot. What's happening there?
Ashi Dala: Yeah, the big glass sun. The detective loses his form and becomes a shadow, too, in acceptance of who he is.
Spooki Tavi: It's all about staying true to yourself and keeping your integrity and not settling for something that isn't you. If you were a character who existed in a noir, you wouldn't love the daylight.
Do you think you face a similar dilemma as musicians?
Ashi Dala: I think every musician and artist trying to make art that's true to themselves does. If you're honest and vulnerable with the things you make, there's a point where you have to say, “This is what I want to do, this is what I want to make,” and it doesn't matter what anyone else does or thinks. We're a little weird and different in the music scene, but that doesn't stop us. We definitely always do what we want to do.