HOT FLASH HEAT WAVE
Photography by MIranda De Lay, BFA Photography & Danielle Rueda, MFA Photography
Styling by Andrea Guindi, BFA Fashion Styling
words by 180 Magazine Editorial Team
Featuring Hot Flash Heat Wave: Nathaniel Blüm, Nick Duffy, Ted Davis and Adam Abildgaard
When faced with the task of coming up with a concept for her final project in FSH 478 Editorial Styling, Andrea Guindi, BFA Fashion Styling, turned to aspects of life in San Francisco that she found particularly resonant and influential to much of her time here as a student – the intersection of music and fashion.
“Music has always been one of my biggest sources of inspiration and naturally tied into the story I was developing for my project,” recalls Andrea. “Initially, I was inspired by the different subcultures of San Francisco from the 60s and 70s, which turned into a whirlwind of inspirations, from drag to activism to rock and roll. At that time, there was a disregard for societal norms, rules, and expectations combined with a strong self expression. I wanted to be able to convey all of that, mixed with the current youth culture and fashion happening here today."
Andrea approached the band to help actualize her vision.
“When I met Hot Flash Heat Wave, I loved them and their music and knew their influences and quirky personal styles aligned perfectly with my own,” added Andrea. “The group dynamic was ideal for my project, and allowed for all of us to blend our wacky ideas and personalities into the story’
Adam Abildgaard, Ted Davis, Nathaniel Blüm, and Nick Duffy went to high school together in Davis, CA. College and other aspirations took them elsewhere around The Golden State, but their love of writing songs and performing together brought them back into a house in San Francisco where they practice, record, and plot taking over the Universe, one gig and EP at a time. So far, it’s working out nicely. From the debut record Neapolitan landing on SF Weekly’s Best of San Francisco Reader’s Poll for 2015 to their hit “Bye Bye Baby” included on SF Weekly’s Top 15 Songs of 2016, Hot Flash Heat Wave has built a steady following and a reputation for fun live shows. The name becomes self-explanatory once you hit play: the tunes get you dancing in no time, wishing for an ice cooler and a pool party.
180: Do you identify with the “California sound” label critics often ascribe to your music?
HFHW: To a degree, we do have a West Coast vibe since it's our home and we grew up here. It's just who we are. People connect where you’re from to how you behave and your music. The San Francisco garage and psych movement has always influenced us as musicians. Bands like The Brian Jonestown Massacre, Ty Segall, and Girls are among our faves. Some of our most successful songs have been very “California”, falling somewhere between a garage and dream pop style. I think our new material steps outside these boundaries.
180: How would you describe relationship between music and fashion in your experience?
HFHW: Music and fashion are both ways to express yourself. It's really cool when a musician takes fashion seriously enough to integrate it into their performances like David Bowie or Lady Gaga. We all appreciate fashion, but in the end, we dress in a way that makes us feel happy. We have had a lot of fun dressing for shows to set a fun mood and to encourage people to loosen up and have fun.
They recount favorite gigs as if something out of a summer flick on the edge of PG-13 and R rating. A house party with hosts making tacos non-stop and people having a blast until “some kid crowd-surfed into a cactus.” At another yard fest in Santa Cruz a person climbed onto the porch stage, grabbed the mic and confessed that he had just broken out of a mental health facility nearby because he just wanted to party with everybody. Incredulously, that turned out to be true. Their latest appearance at the popular San Francisco venue Rickshaw Stop turned into a selfie-fueled dance party right on stage as fans were encouraged to join the performance. “It got kind of hard to play at times with probably thirty people jumping around.” But no one exhibits any regrets or complaints. If anything, a healthy dose of escapism is exactly what drives Hot Flash Heat Wave popularity.
180: Is there a difference in cultivating live audience fandom and digital following?
HFHW: People just want consistency. If you are branding yourself online as a wacky group of kids playing rock music but then get scared to dance and joke around, people would be let down. Some spend all the time on Instagram or YouTube scheming and crafting the perfect plan but the music is lacking. The most important thing online is getting people to listen to your tracks and that just comes from writing great tunes. You want people to walk away from your shows and tell all their friends how fun it was. If you're having fun and making music you really love, people catch on.
If the melody-centric guitar-forward daydream rock tunes that pull people into the Hot Flash Heat Wave world, the DYI art aesthetic and earnestness of the creative effort keep them in. The idea is not to take life, the music industry, or success too seriously. When prompted for startup advice to aspiring bands, they cite friendship as a make-it or break-it factor in loving the experience of creating music together regardless of how popular it might be at any given moment. Not that ambition is not part of the picture. Hot Flash Heat Wave is reaching for the Moon, literally. “It would be pretty legendary to score music for an advertisement for vacations to the Moon. We could make it seem like a cruise to the Bahamas, but with a galactic vibe. Who wouldn't want that?!” Indeed. The rock kids are alright. Their forthcoming LP Soaked will be released in June.
Developed in the course FSH 478 Editorial Styling taught by Flore Morton.
Make-up and Hair Styling by Victoria Boggiano.
Styling Assistant: Sarah Rivera