by Alex Teitz
Sometimes the way to make the biggest splash is to break outside the barrier of limits. Hotel Sex does just that with their video “Explode.” The song itself is power pop with a great hook. The video, directed by Rich Ragsdale pushes limits. It reminds us of Lady Gaga, Garbage, and P.J. Harvey. The band is made up of Augusta Wise and Linus Dotson. For more info visit https://www.thisishotelsex.com/
FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting technique?
AW: For “Explode,” Linus wrote the music and basic melody first. We had an idea of what we wanted it to sound like, and he created the track. From there, I wrote the lyrics and we both tweaked them. I went to school for creative writing, so I have a background in poetry and fiction writing. It was super fun to take my style of writing and twist it, mold it, play with it and write lyrics.
FEMMUSIC: Tell me about Hotel Sex. How did you and Linus Dotson meet? What made you decide to make the band?
AW: We actually met a little over four years ago. I was working at a bar in Dallas. He was visiting Texas to work with and produce a band, and the guys in the band took him to the bar I happened to be working at. Our connection was electric and immediate, and within a month I’d moved out to LA and we were living together. We got married last year. Hotel Sex was born out of our mutual desire to create something together. Linus has been in the music industry as a producer/artist for many years, and I’ve been singing and dreaming up visual art ever since I was young, so it really just felt like a natural progression for us to start this crazy project.
FEMMUSIC: What was the biggest challenge making “Explode?” The song itself, not the video.
AW: For me, the biggest challenge was taking my writing style and experience and turning it to lyric writing. Writing lyrics is so different than writing a poem or a short story. You have to make a point/tell a story/create imagery in fewer words, and that was a little bit difficult for me.
You need to have maximum impact in a short amount of space. It was a challenge in the best way though, and one I really enjoyed!
FEMMUSIC: What was the biggest challenge making the “Explode” video?
AW: The biggest challenge with the video was probably just making everything happen on a budget. We had some pretty ambitious ideas and visuals that we wanted to achieve, and figuring out how to do that in an affordable way was definitely not easy. But we made it happen, thanks to an amazing team of people and our network of incredible friends.
FEMMUSIC: How did you meet Rich Ragsdale? How did he become the director of the video?
AW: We met Rich when a mutual friend recommended him to us. We watched some of his music videos and immediately knew he was the perfect fit. We met up with him a week or so later to discuss our ideas, and everything just fell into place. I knew from the second we started talking about all the crazy, creepy, cute visuals we could create, that he had to be the director. We were so lucky to meet him – he’s an incredible artist and human.
FEMMUSIC: The video is a visual feast. Tell me about pre-production. How did you make the characters and the storyline?
AW: I knew from the outset that I wanted the video to be equal parts creepy and enticing. I love the juxtaposition of cute with evil, and innocence with sexiness. I also knew that I wanted the video to be super colorful – lots of pastels and bright imagery. We wanted to create a kaleidoscopic, candy-coated sex dream. Rich and I spent a lot of time exchanging shot ideas and concepts, and ultimately came up with all the crazy images you see in the finished video. Breakfast cereal, lots of pentagrams, rainbow penis pops, all that good stuff. As far as storyline goes, we came up with the idea of having a miniature me flipping through the TV channels of her older self…but in a twisted, wacky, fantasy world. Rich came up with the concept of taking something innocent – like watching Saturday morning cartoons – and delving into the dark side of the childhood id. I think it all came together in a visually shocking – but fun and kitschy – way.
FEMMUSIC: What’s next for Hotel Sex? What are your goals for the band?
AW: Right now we’re working on writing new songs, and we’re about to start filming a second video. The goal is to start playing shows as soon as possible!
FEMMUSIC: As a woman in the music industry have you been discriminated against?
AW: I feel like I’ve been lucky so far. The saddest thing I’ve noticed is that the majority of Internet hate I’ve received thus far has been from women accusing me of being a “slut.” I don’t take that as an insult personally – I’m very, very open about my sexuality and am not shy when it comes to my body. You can call me a slut, I’ve embraced that word whole-heartedly. But it does suck when women try to tear other women down. Thankfully most everyone has been super supportive, and I’ve received kind words from so many amazing women.
FEMMUSIC: Whom would you most like to tour with or collaborate with?
AW: If I could tour or collaborate with anyone, I’d have to say Grimes. She seems so cool and quirky, and I’m such a fan of her music and visuals.
FEMMUSIC: What one thing would you change about the music industry?
AW: We’d like to see songwriters and artists get compensated a little more fairly for our work.