The Hot Toddies

It’s been a busy year for the members of Oakland’s The Hot Toddies. Keyboardist Jessica parted ways as she took a teaching job in Thailand, leaving Erin, Sylvia, and Heidi to keep playing as a three piece.

A friendly parting from Jessica gave the girls the go-ahead to keep on keeping on with The Hot Toddies. They wrote and recorded their new song, “Summertime Blues” as a threesome for the first time. The track is a slightly heavier, more garage rock than their previous retro bubblegum pop. Along with Kitten and Dog Party, the Hot Toddies will be playing their first show in several months on Saturday!

Heidi, Sylvia, and Erin were kind enough to answer a few questions for The Bay Bridged below. Also, listen to “Summertime Blues” ahead of their Saturday night show!

TBB: The last time we heard from you ladies was around last year when you guys signed to Tricycle Records. Care to give us an update on what you guys have each been up to?

Heidi Noble: This year I’ve been traveling (went to Mexico a couple of times), spending time riding my new scooter, and doing short road trips with the Toddies girls. All of which inspire new songs to come!

Sylvia Fajen: With just the three of us, we’ve been exploring getting louder and faster with our songs. I’m excited to see what it will turn in to.

Erin Skidmore: This year has definitely been about some fun traveling. The Toddies played SXSW in March and did a short tour with the lovely ladies of Bam!Bam!. I took a trip to Costa Rica to learn to surf, plus beach time in Mexico and a couple visits to NYC.

TBB: How did the departure of a member shake things up amongst you guys?

HN: When Jessica moved to Thailand we weren’t sure what was going to happen. First, we didn’t know how long she would be gone, so we took a short break. But when we realized she wouldn’t be coming back for a while, we decided to keep going as a trio. The sound is a little more stripped down, but we’re bumping up the distortion to hopefully get a little heavier.

ES: Jessica moving away was really sad for all of us and no one–including Jess–knew how long she would stay gone. After a six month hiatus in 2012, we missed playing so much, we had to get it together and see what worked at a three piece. I think the biggest change without her keyboard and voice is less of a pop sound and more garage rock.

TBB: Was there talk of not continuing under The Hot Toddies moniker?

HN: We never wanted to give up The Hot Toddies name. We still play all our original songs.

TBB: What inspired the track “Summertime Blues”?

HN: Well, we have a lot of fun together in the summertime. There are a few things that give us the “blues”…but however annoying hangovers, sun burns, and sticky hot weather may be, we realized it could never be that bad in the summertime.

TBB:How are you guys feeling about the Bottom of the Hill show? What can we expect?

HN: We have always had a good time there and since it’s a weekend show it will be a party!

ES: We LOVE to play at Bottom of the Hill. Ramona and the staff there have always been super supporters of the band. Also excited to play with Dog Party, some very talented young ladies from Sacramento and Kitten, who are coming up from LA. For those that haven’t been to see us before, we hope it feels like a fun sort of party. We like to take shots with the audience and we love when people get pumped up and start a dance party.

SF: Bottom of the Hill is so fun! We are really excited to play, especially a holiday show. It should be a really good night.

TBB: Your sound is often described as retro pop or California pop because it’s sunny and fun and carefree! How does this relate to your songwriting process?

HN: I mean we do have jobs and responsibilities, but when it comes to the band we keep it fun and carefree. Many of our songs have been written on the road traveling or outside in the sunshine usually sipping on some adult beverages. These things definitely affect the song writing. We also like to write songs all together, which makes it a real fun process.

SF: We are California girls that are inspired by our surroundings and adventures. Playing together is a lot of fun and we love to travel together, even if it’s not for tour. So we all get ideas while we’re on the road and love to write songs related to our travels. We are also all influenced by different types of music, so that is also reflected in our song writing.

ES: Our songwriting process tends to strike quickly and unpredictably. Sometimes we’ll write a new song a couple hours! Sometimes it may take several weeks to finesse the arrangement. There is usually always some liquid inspiration involved.

TBB: Is there an album or EP in the future? What would be direction/sound you guys would head in?

HN: Yes! We would love to drop another album in the future. We have a few new tunes we’re working on but we’re still experimenting with our new sound.

ES: We’ve got a couple ideas simmering in the background. Now that “Summertime Blues” is out, we’ll be full-time writing new stuff for the next few months. The newer sound is definitely less poppy without keyboards but still very “Hot Toddies” sounding – along the lines of older tracks like “Boys on Bikes”, “Rocker Girl” or “Jaguar Love”.

TBB: What bands are you guys listening to lately?

HN: Alt-J, Hiatus Kaiyote, Father John Misty, En Vogue, Tame Impala, Tune-Yards, Wild Belle

SF: Bill Withers has been on heavy rotation for me. Justin Timberlake, Haim, Tame Impala, Local Natives, M.I.A., Clutch.

TBB:Describe the scene in Oakland for an all-girl indie rock band. how have things changed or not changed in the past couple of years?

HN: Oakland has always welcomed us with open arms. It’s our home. There are so many great venues and bands to play with. The female musician scene has just been growing as well. We have a great family here.

SF: We love Oakland and being part of it’s amazing music scene. It’s great to see more and more great bands come out of Oakland and more ladies being a part of these bands.

ES: I think Oakland and SF has always been a very supportive area for all varieties of musicians! It it nice to notice more and more female groups and artists over the years that we’ve been playing together. I grew up in the East Bay going to shows and remember it definitely used to feel like mostly guys out playing in bands.

TBB: What’s next for the Hot Toddies?

HN: We are excited for an upcoming tour in Oahu!! We’ll be surfing, snorkeling and rocking out there the week of March 17-23. We’re also planning on making it out to SXSW again this year! Looking forward to some traveling.

SF: Now that we are a three piece, exploring a different sound is a lot of fun. But what will stay the same is how much fun we have with our music and we look forward to sharing more with everyone and visiting new places! Lots of writing and travelling is in store!

The Hot Toddies, Kitten, Dog Party
Bottom of The Hill
December 14, 2013
9:30pm, $12