There is something undeniably cool about Montreal act Heat. The band would be just as much at home in ‘70’s New York City as they are in any modern club basement. Lead vocalist and Rickenbacker maestro Susil Sharma plays a melancholy but confident baritone rock that is reminiscent of Lou Reed, The Strokes, and Oasis. Recently Ear to the Ground got to catch them at the beginning of their first major U. S. tour in support of, another great rising act, Bully. While Susil and the guys have never been to Cleveland, he did assure the crowd that he “watched a ton of the Drew Carey Show” when he was younger. The next few months the guys will undoubtedly visit more than a few new cities while winning over new fans that dig their authentic presence and sharp rock style that is pronounced on their fantastic EP Rooms. Recently we caught up with Susil for his take on the new tour, their shoegaze style, and their exceptional album. Check it out below and while you’re at it, download Rooms here.
What’s the story of how you met and started making music?
The band originated with a bunch of poor quality bedroom demos I (Susil) was making. At the time, about three years ago, I had been living in Montreal for about 6 years. From the get-go, I dropped out of university to play bass in a bunch of different punk and rock bands but finally decided to form a band around my songs with myself as the singer/guitar player.
Over the course of two years, the band came together with different members floating in and out of the picture until the final line-up (myself, Matt Fiorentino, Raphael Bussieres, Alex Crow) stabilized. Montreal has a crazy amount of musicians, so it was almost a trial and error process to figure out what clicked music-wise, personality-wise, and commitment-wise. It’s kind of crazy to think of the different line-ups we went through, things are working super well between the four of us.
You guys are launching a supporting tour with Bully. Is this your first extensive tour in the States? If so, what are you looking forward to. If not, how is it different than touring in Canada?
Yeah, this is our first big US tour! we are super stoked, A) to be playing with Bully, and B) to be travelling and playing so many cities States-side. US is really different from Canada in that there are so many more places to play and people to play to.
We haven’t even done a full Canadian tour cause there’s so much driving through empty vast stretches of land. It’s kind of fucked up, but it’s more feasible for us to tour the States and UK (which we did this past May) than to tour our home country…
The new album has a cool New York sound. What were some of your influences growing up? What have you been listening to recently that has inspired you?
Of course, we get the Lou Reed/Velvet Underground thing all the time. Which is merited, really. Those albums had a huge part in my musical upbringing and are still killer records. we listen to a lot of other NYC bands like Television & Jim Carroll.
Currently, we are really into Ride, My Bloody Valentine, Oasis, and other shoegazey, UK 90s type of bands. Really, I find i’m just drawn towards music that has elements of honesty & danger in it.
What song on the album is your favorite? Where were you when it was written?
This Life was the last song written for the EP and is my favorite. To me it is the most accurate representation of what the band is trying to capture and and an indication of the direction we are heading in.
As with most of our songs, it was kind of a slow process where I would come up with different elements of the song over the course of a few months and then one day just sat down and realised that they all made sense within a certain structure. After that, the band stepped in and really made the song by adding in the guitar loop, bass line, backing vox, trip-hop sort of beat, etc.
I remember the day I finally came up with the arrangement and lyrics to the song. I was subletting some terrible room in Montreal with these younger kind of meek college students. I just remember playing guitar and yelling the chorus, “I’m fucking free, man!’ in my room. The walls were paper thin and those guys definitely thought I was a lunatic after that.
What do you want listeners to feel after hearing the album or seeing you live?
At our core, I think we’re a rock band, so I’d like for people to get down with the music. There’s also a certain detached romantic melancholy I hope is evident. Live, it’s pretty loud. I would hope people are moved in some capacity and have sore ears, haha
Heat are currently playing the U. S. in support of Bully. Check out their dates below.
Heat – 2015 Tour Dates
09/18 – Beachland, Cleveland, OH #
09/19 – Riot Fest, Toronto, ON
09/20 – Pop Montreal Festival, Montreal, QC #
09/21 – The Garrison, Toronto, ON #
09/22 – The Loving Touch, Ferndale, MI #
09/24 – Error Records, Pygmalion Festival Champaign, IL #
09/25 – Midpoint Music Festival Cincinnati, OH #
09/26 – Mohawk Place, Buffalo, NY #
09/28 – Music Hall Of Williamsburgh, Brooklyn, NY #
09/30 – Boot & Saddle, Philadelphia, PA #
10/01 – Rock & Roll Hotel, Washington, DC #
10/02 – Strange Matter, Richmond, VA #
10/03 – Brillobox, Pittsburgh, PA #
10/05 – Pilot Light, Knoxville, TN #
10/07 – Off Broadway, St Louis, MO #
10/08 – Bottleneck, Lawrence, KS #
10/09 – Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL #
10/10 – The Mill, Iowa City, IA #
10/11 – The Frequency, Madison, WI #
10/12 – 7th Street Entry, Minneapolis, MN #
10/13 – The Aquarium, Fargo, MD #
10/15 – Badlander, Missoula, MT #
10/16 – Barboza, Seattle, WA #
10/17 – Mississipi Studios, Portland, OR #
10/19 – Rickshaw Stop, San Francisco, CA #
10/20 – Constellation Room, Santa Ana, CA #
10/21 – The Echo, Los Angeles, CA #
10/23 – Hideout, San Diego, CA #
10/25 – Club Congress, Tucson, AZ #
11/27 – Centre culturel Pauline Julien, Trois-Rivières, QC
# w/ Bully