Hot Knife got its start two years ago when Vic Castello (Static Radio NJ) and Ryan Weber (Spanish Gamble) were at a bar in Brooklyn talking about how they needed to start a new band. The band’s line-up was rounded out with Luke Taylor on vocals and Candy Heart’s Matt Ferraro and it didn’t take them long to start cranking out punchy punk rock tunes. Case in point... their new EP "My Fangs", which is out now on Black Numbers (listen to the title track). Here's what bassist Vic Castello had to tell us about the EP, Fest and why I should probably stop overthinking band names.
PRT: In your Facebook bio, it says that you and Ryan were at a bar talking about how they should start a new band. You knew a singer, Ryan knew a drummer. Was it really that easy?
Vic: Pretty much! Ryan used to live in Florida when I met him, I had no idea that he actually even moved up here. I got a beer at the bar at a show, turn around to watch the band, and literally bumped into him. It was like, “oh sorry man….. *realized it was him* oh shit! What’s up!”
I knew Luke from high school, Ryan knew Matt from… somewhere? And that was that.
PRT: Hot knives are used to cauterize wounds… is that why you picked the name? Because we need voices who can cauterize the big messy wounds in our society? Or am I overthinking things?
Vic: Hah! If any of our parents are reading this, then yes, that’s the meaning.
For everyone else, using hot knives is kind of a white trash way of smoking weed.
PRT: All of you have been in bands before… what is it you hope to find in / do with Hot Knife that you didn’t get round to in your previous bands?
Vic: I don’t know if we did this because we didn’t get something out of previous bands, it’s just more that we wanted to do another band to keep paying music. Luke and I had talked about doing a band for a bit, and I was excited to write with him, and loved his singing voice, so I was/am pumped.
PRT: Did you have a clear idea of the sound you were going for right from the start? Or is this just what came out when you started playing?
Vic: We talked about it being simple punk. Initially, Ryan wanted to do something similar to the Copyrights, just simple kind of pop punk, but I had a feeling we would wind up sounding different because I don’t really write songs in that style, and I knew Luke wouldn’t either. So yea, it just kind of came out like this.
PRT: The songs on “My Fangs” range from more aggressive to poppier… is there one person in the band who comes up with the more aggressive parts and someone else with the poppy ones? Or does what come out during practice depend on what your day has been like?
Vic: Actually yes, it is by person. I tend to come up with the more aggressive parts, and Luke is great with melody. So Luke wrote the verses and choruses of My Fangs, and I wrote the more “aggressive” part at the end. There are other examples of this throughout the EP: I wrote the long aggressive intro to Guppy, and Luke wrote the rest of it, which was more melodic. I wrote the aggressive change/bridge part in My Old Friend, Luke wrote the rest of it. I wrote Bug, which was more of an aggressive song. Luke wrote Empty Man, which stays pretty melodic the whole way through. Etc.
PRT: You recorded “My Fangs” with Jesse Cannon and Mike Oettinger at Cannon Found Soundation. What was it that they brought to the album?
Vic: Polite boys. They get the best take from each of us for each song. They make sure that nothing is out of time, nothing is out of key, there are no wrong notes anywhere, and everything is mixed really well. Also I think they got great sounds out of each instrument. I would work with them any time.
PRT: You’ve already played shows with The Flatliners, Unwritten Law, have one coming up with No Trigger… if you could put together the perfect show line-up, who would be on it?
Vic: Oh man, what a loaded question. I guess that if we’re talking about theoretically playing with any band of any size, ever, then there are a bunch of massive rockstar bands I would love to play with, like Foo Fighters or Green Day or Weezer. If I’m coming back to reality, I’d love to play more shows with The Flatliners or The Menzingers, or it would be cool to play with the Bouncing Souls. The Movielife has a record coming out, I’d love to play with them. Also, we should probably play some shows with Make War. In our band we kind of have a running joke that Make War and Hot Knife are always competing to open shows for bigger bands in Brooklyn. They are winning… for now!
PRT: You will be playing at Fest this year… what are the three things/bands/… you are most looking forward to other than your own show?
Vic: Besides getting to check out a lot of other really good bands that are playing, I personally am stoked to play sets with my 2 other bands, Static Radio and Scary Stories, happening at High Dive and The Atlantic, my two favorite venues in Gainesville, possibly anywhere.
Aside from that, it’ll be great to see a lot of people that I normally never see, since I don’t tour these days.
Also, Five Star pizza.