New on the Scene: Hot as Sun
Meet the new music trio out of L.A. — from left, Hot as Sun’s Deborah Stoll, Jamie Jackson and WAZ, who just released their debut album Night Time Sound Desire. Here we talked to Deborah (journalist-turned-lyricist) and Jamie (singer-songwriter-composer) about their addictive layered synth sounds and how they got Shameless in their latest music video.
- How would you describe your sound?
JJ: It’s eclectic — gospel and hip-hop influences, a lot of Giorgio Moroder-style synth work and layers of vocals. I’m inspired by harmonies and layers — the Phil Spector style. And Deborah’s an amazing writer, so there’s a narrative to our music.
- How did you two meet?
DS: We met at a sound bath at the Integratron in Joshua Tree. We really connected, came back to L.A. and started working together.
JJ: I had some music recorded and was looking for a lyricist to help me flesh out the songs. That was the main goal — to finish songs; it wasn’t to start a band. We spent an afternoon together, wrote three songs, then put together an EP. People started asking us to play live shows so we decided to give it a go.
- The name — how did you land on Paul McCartney’s Hot as Sun song?
JJ: One of the hardest things in the world to do is find a band name that hasn’t been taken. We were banging our heads against the wall. Then I was back out at Joshua Tree with Waz, who’s also my husband, and we were listening to that McCartney record. I love that he put an instrumental on the album.
DS: You called me from the desert and said that’s our name. It seemed so perfect.
- Which song is a good intro to your music?
DS: Night Time Sound Desire.
JJ: It’s a quick invitation to people to open their minds, listen to our music and have some fun.
- What are some themes you’re drawn to?
JJ: Deborah and I talk about the challenge of being a woman, fighting time and making decisions in life and career. We call War with Time our gangsta biological clock song — it talks about how time can get away from you, how you make decisions and can’t go back. Daydreams was another song that came in a time in our career where we were trying to figure out what to do.
- How does being in L.A. impact your music?
JJ: People say our music is bright and shiny and it sometimes is. But in L.A., because you don’t really get defined seasons, when you have a cloudy day, you appreciate it a lot more. Personally, I love diving into that darker space. We want people to have a good time when they listen to our music, but you’ll find we go deeper than that.
- What’s your style on stage?
JJ: My struggle with fashion on stage is that I carry a lot of gear and I’m running a lot of synthesizers and looping things. I’m bouncing around and jumping — I don’t want to think about whether you can see up my skirt. We need a line made for musicians — a practical rock and roll clothing line.
DS: Something sexy and cool, but totally functional and easy to throw on — and that folds really, really tiny so you can tour and travel.
- Your new When We Fell video stars Jeremy Allen White and Emma Greenwell from Showtime’s Shameless. How did they become involved?
JJ: A dear friend of ours Jamie Wollrab, who directed the video, knows them. Jeremy came to one of our shows and became a fan of our music. It was an amazing experience and we’re so appreciative to those guys. Actually, Emma came up with the idea of having it all take place in a bed.
- Your music’s been on a few television shows — what’s on your wish list?
DS: Game of Thrones. I think The Heist would be good for it.
JJ: Girls. Desert Song would be fun on it, but I think The Heist would be too. The hook is “When love was bad, it felt so good, it was hard to tell myself the truth.” I think those characters would definitely relate to that.
More to explore in Music
- Music 2.13.23 Fall/Winter 2023: The Soundtrack
- Music 9.13.22 Spring/Summer 2023: The Soundtrack
- Music 8.19.22 Tory Daily 10: Music to Our Ears
- Music 8.18.22 Making Music with Madison Love
- Music 4.25.22 Mother’s Day Mixtape