|Hot Chelle Rae (LeAnn Mueller)|
Hot Chelle Rae announce themselves as a force to be reckoned with on their debut album Lovesick Electric. How can you argue with bold, swaggering vocals, monster sing-along choruses, crunching rock guitar, and a propulsive rhythm section that just won’t quit? “We wanted the music to sound larger than life,” says guitarist Nash Overstreet of the group’s epic dance-rock sound. “We wanted it to sound explosive and new and fun and be better than anything out there,” adds front man Ryan Keith Follese. Indeed, stomping, blistering jams like “I Like to Dance,” “Never Have I Ever,” “Say (Half Past Nine),” and “Bushes,” will sound equally fierce whether they’re blasting from a car stereo or emanating from an arena stage. All four band members were raised with music in their DNA. Ryan, his brother/drummer Jamie, and Overstreet are the sons of A- list Nashville songwriters with multiple number one hits between them, while bassist Ian Keaggy's dad is a world renowned Grammy-nominated guitarist. “Growing up around music didn’t hurt, but I was never pushed to do it,” Overstreet says. “I just can’t remember a time when I didn’t want to play or write music.” Follese says his father actually encouraged him not to go into the music business. “But I don’t know what else I can do,” he says. “Music is the only thing I truly have a passion for.”
|The guys in Sydney|
And so the guys claimed their destiny by forming Hot Chelle Rae, which they named after one of the group’s most devoted female fans. The band began to take shape in early 2005 when a mutual friend recommended that Overstreet and Follese meet. Follese was doing what he calls “the singer-songwriter thing” and was looking for a guitar player. But their first meeting didn’t go too smoothly. “We definitely didn’t like each other,” Follese says. “We dressed differently. I was clean-cut and Nash wasn’t. We looked like polar opposites, and it was just, like, no.” But the two managed to overcome their initial impressions and form their first band, which they called Miracle Drug. When their first show in August 2006 went well, they decided to try writing songs together and “we just clicked right away,” Follese says.
They brought in Nash’s childhood friend Ian Keaggy - a guitarist who didn’t even play bass until he joined the band. “Ian came to one of our shows where we had a hired gun on bass and he said, ‘If that guy can play bass, I can play bass,’” Follese recalls. “And that was that. He makes up the most creative stuff. We’ve written so many songs that have started with his bass riffs.” Ryan’s brother Jamie joined up soon after. “At first we weren’t sure because he was young, but we had a couple rehearsals with him and he knew every song because he’d been playing them for ages,” Follese says. “Anything Nash and I wrote, even if we hadn’t recorded it, he knew it. He’s a human metronome. He just stepped in and sat down and was like, ‘I know these songs.’”
Lovesick Electric brims with the confidence and youthful energy that only a group of musicians with serious chops can deliver. “I think the album really reflects who we are and how we want the world to feel,” Overstreet says. “We can have a lot of fun and goof off, or we can be very serious and work really hard, and the album shows it all. We’ve got songs for people to listen to if they’re going through a break-up, like ‘The Distance’ or ‘Last One Standing,’ or if they want to just forget about work, like ‘I Like to Dance,’ or they want to dream about the future, like ‘Say.’ We’ve tried hard to make it completely accessible and something people can really relate to no matter what’s going on in their lives.”