With their first record in eight years, Exister, now in stores, punk rock veterans Hot Water Music are back enjoying some of the best reviews of their career. Formed in Florida back in 1993, the band has taken a series of breaks over the years for numerous solo projects but the latest release heralds a new chapter for HWM that will keep them busy the rest of the year with a series of tours including an arena run with Rise Against this fall.

Noisecreep spoke with bassist Jason Black before a recent packed show in Pomona, Calif. at the legendary Glass House.

Jason, it's a different world since the band's last record. Especially in terms of how you release and promote new music, right?

Very different. The biggest difference for us was to be able to get immediate reaction to the songs. Before it would take however long before everyone got the record and dealt with it, but being able to digitally release songs ahead of time, it's been cool. We were playing shows when the record came out and people knew the songs right off the bat, which has been awesome.

How has the feedback been from longtime fans?

Everything has been really positive, literally, I have heard nothing at all negative. I think everyone that has been waiting is excited, I also think there's a reasonable amount of new people that are getting pretty excited, too. Which is hard for a band that's been around as long as we have to get done; bringing in new people.

Listen to "Drag My Body"

How is the band chemistry in terms of coming back together to do something new?

Playing is easy. The personality stuff is pretty easy, too. I think the hardest part for us as a band is we've been a band for so long, we've all grown up together, and so relationships have evolved over the years. We've all changed a lot from when we were 18 until now being in our mid-30s. We're always re-adjusting to each other. Lots has changed, lots has stayed the same – but the biggest challenges is giving each other a lot of room. We have families now, so that's different. The main challenge remains in making time for everything these days because the older you get, the more outside responsibilities you have, too.

The record is impressive, I think, in terms of its freshness – in a way you guys come off as a brand new band.

Thank you. Didn't take long too write, didn't take long too record and we didn't predict that at all. We haven't done it in so long it was just pretty easy to get into, not over think and just start knocking things down. And I think that sort of freshness translated onto the record and into the songs. It has a really fun vibe to it.

Charles Epting
Charles Epting

What first got you into punk?

Minor Threat
was kind of my first introduction to hardcore and punk. I just loved them. And seeing the band 7 Seconds really had an impact on me.

Back before all the sub-genres in music, huh?

Right? [laughter] So many little boxes today, it's crazy. You can't just re-name things and make it work. We're just a rock and roll band – that's how we view it. I grew up playing jazz so I still view music like that, with lots of energy and improvisation, but we are a rock band pure and simple.

And what's next in the upcoming months?

Over to Europe for a short tour, then this fall out with Rise Against and The Gaslight Anthem, then we will see. Everyone is super busy so we're being conscientious and not creating resentment in terms of everyone's solo projects. But a lot of it will play out based on the opportunities. We are still very much a band and very excited about bringing this new record to the people.

Rise Records
Rise Records

Hot Water Music's Exister is available now via Rise Records and available at this link.

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