An Interview With The Hottman Sisters

We broke our number one rule for The Hottman Sisters.

Even those who have spent a mere five seconds clicking around AMPLIFY. will be able to pick up on our longstanding golden rule: we only cover rock. That’s embedded in our logo, stated explicitly over in our “About Us” page, etcetera. With that being said, it has to take an artist whose work is both refreshing and revolutionary to sway our staunch editorial boundaries.

The Hottman Sisters did just that.

While they may be more sonically aligned with pop than rock, their songs exude that classic rock ‘n’ roll swagger that’s hallmarked by unabashed celebration of independence and self-acceptance. It is  the presence of that self-assured ethos makes them the perfect artist to be featured on AMPLIFY. “Fire,” for instance, is the perfect example of this. It is a gripping, compelling coronation of a new version of oneself – something that is not only a universal element of the human experience, but a concept that translates to song in the form of a revolution.

That, there, is precisely what makes The Hottman Sisters such strong artists: each song is a revolution.

The trio (comprised of Jessica and Heather Hottman and drummer Ed Getzlaff) recently – as in, two days ago – released their latest EP, Louder. AMPLIFY. was fortunate enough to speak with them just a week and a half before the big day to discuss the music scene in their hometown of Omaha, their favorite things to snack on while on tour, and what the average person may not know about what it’s like to be a working musician. Read on, friends.

When asked how it feels to know that Louder’s release (and the subsequent tour supporting it) was rapidly approaching, Jessica mentioned that they’re simply “excited to share our art.” “We spent last year rebranding our music and look, so it feel like everything’s been building up to this moment,” she said. “It’s surreal that it’s here and that we’re able to tour and put things out into the world.”

The topic then switched gears to their songwriting process. Though it was alluded to in the introduction of this piece, it must be said again: The Hottman sisters write songs that everyone – no matter their background or identity – can see a piece of their own soul within. Make no mistake, that’s an incredible talent. So, with that being said, it was asked whether the incorporation of that element was a primary creative focal point bringing the EP to fruition.

Jessica, who identified herself as the primary songwriter, revealed that she writes through her own experience but enjoys that it is something people can connect with. “There was really a push for songwriting,” she said, noting that while each song has its own set of different elements conveying authenticness was something that held importance throughout (Editor’s note: they wildly succeeded).

As The Hottman Sisters are currently touring Louder, it was of absolute importance to ask them what their snack items of choice are while travelling on the road.

Heather, a self-identified “coffee snob,” shared that she’s always looking for craft coffee places while on tour – that and “chocolate covered anything, or trail mix.” And, in what is likely the most unique answer to this question in AMPLIFY. history, Heather also mentioned a love for 5th Avenue bars.

“It’s like an old-school version of a Butterfinger,” she said, adding that they’re typically only found in larger gas stations. “But we all pretty much crave diner food.”

Jessica, who shared that she tries to eat healthy while on tour, listed smoothies and juices as her favorite on-the-road snacks. The exception? “Gummy bears.”

Getzlaff, on the other hand, expressed a love for breakfast.

“It’s my favorite meal to eat no matter what time of day or night,” he said, sharing that he enjoys stopping at diners or breakfast establishments while on tour – prompting Jessica and Heather  to chime in in agreement.

They’re certainly doing tours right.

Transitioning from snacks to hometowns, it was shard that an overwhelming majority of AMPLIFY.’s readers are from Chicago – in other words, a demographic that likely wouldn’t know an awful lot about the music scene in the band’s hometown of Omaha. Therefore, The Hottman Sisters were asked to share aspects of their local creative community that non-locals either would not know, or be surprised to.

Jessica shared that Omaha’s music scene really began to flourish in the early 2000s. “It’s mostly folk music and singer/songwriters, so we’re really trying to push something new out of Omaha,” she said. “Also, there are venues there…that’s not really well known.”

She also revealed that an interest in live music very much exists.

“People will come out and see music in the area; you just need to pick and choose your days.”

The next topic tackled was the realities of being a working musician – something that, as Jessica highlights, is just as much of a business endeavor as it is a creative one.

“We have business meetings, track all our own inventory and merch sales, and do a lot of work with spreadsheets. You have to take it professionally on both the creative and business side. You have to lay a foundation on good business when starting out so there are no cracks in that foundation when you grow.”

Musical guilty pleasures are something we not only all have, but more often than not, they misalign with the type of sound one is known to craft, cover, or listen to in the most delightful way. With that being said, The Hottman Sisters certainly didn’t disappoint when revealing theirs.

“I really like Justin Bieber. I think he can actually sing,” Heather revealed.

Jessica and Getzlaff, on the other hand, cited rap/hip hop – singing out Night Lovell and Lil B as artists they particularly enjoy respectively.

As The Hottman Sisters were shortly about to embark on tour and spend several weeks creating meaningful live music experiences for others, they were then asked about a time – the first time in particular – they experienced that for themselves.

Getzlaff recalled his first ever concert.

“It was Lee Greenwood,” he said. “I saw him in a park in Nebraska. It was a free outdoor show…I think I was like three or six.”

(Editor’s note: Greenwood is the dude who sings “God Bless the USA.”)

Jessica mentioned that it was hard to choose, given that she and Heather “had been around live music since we were able to walk.” Though their younger years were riddled with gratifying live music moments from singing at weddings, and playing in bands, the answer was ultimately given as her first music festival – Minnesota’s Sonshine Fest.

“It was when I was a young teenager…maybe thirteen or fourteen. I had never experienced a music festival before, and we went with our parents.”

The day, which consisted of everything from a broken sandal to witnessing mosh pits, is something Jessica would later regard as a “capstone moment.”

“It was crazy and loud and I was so into it,” she said. “I remember thinking ‘Man, I want to do something like this.’ I want this dirty, sweaty festival crowd around me.”

Similarly, Heather also recalled a family visit to a music festival.

“It was called LifeLight Festival, and we went as a family,” she said. “I remember meeting Avalon, this Christian pop band.”

It also served as a moment of affirmation.

“I was like, ‘This is what I wanna do.’ Now it’s not a dream, it’s a reality.”

Because our current cultural climate places an emphasis on modesty, every single AMPLIFY. interview concludes with asking the artist to discuss points of pride in their work. After all, the folks we interview do some pretty cool shit, and they deserve to feel pretty damn proud of themselves.

For Jessica, this would be songwriting. “So much goes into it, and it’s easy to get in your head,” she said. “Putting work into the world and have other people experience it…and in some way connect to what we’re doing is incredible.”

Heather described the presence, energy, and emotion she brings to live performances.

“Music takes me to a whole new level, I honestly don’t even know how to describe the emotion I feel,” she said. “I feel so emotionally connected to the words, atmosphere, and the message. I find it to be so magical.”

Getzlaff also mentioned life performance  – “we put everything into playing live” – but took time to highlight Louder as well.

“We turned out really good songs given the amount of time we spent in the studio.”

And he’s right – they did, indeed, produce really good songs. The best part? You can hear them all now. Click here to listen to Louder on Spotify.

 

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