Rock music has a long tradition of “This Person & These Guys” band names. Think Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers or Margot & the Nuclear So and So’s. As one of Santa Fe’s newest bands, Stephanie Hatfield and Hot Mess joins these ranks. Born in January of this year, the young band has been very busy working hard on its first album, Wrong Side of Dawn, and playing shows. I went to see the band at a recent gig at Cowgirl. Stephanie Hatfield has an incredible voice, and the rest of the band clearly has chops. A blend of ’90s rock with country and folk sensibilities, Stephanie Hatfield and Hot Mess is anything but some bar band. I sat down with Stephanie Hatfield, guitarist Bill Palmer (of Hundred Year Flood and Goshen fame), bassist Matt McClinton and drummer Jason Aspeselt a few days after the show to discuss their album and creative process.
SFR: How did you guys come together?
Stephanie Hatfield: I met Matt a few years back, and we started playing together. Then Jason came in to record for the demo, and Bill was the last piece.
Bill Palmer: I recorded for the demo but was pretty busy with other projects. When Goshen and I split ways, I had some time, and I knew Hot Mess was something I wanted to be a part of.
Matt McClinton: When Bill came on board, we knew we really had something.
Where did the name come from?
SH: I was in this ‘knit-bitch’ group…just a bunch of ladies knitting. And due to certain aspects of my life at the time, a fellow member started calling me ‘Hot Mess.’
Tell me about the album.
BP: I met Steph and Matt at a party and they said they wanted to record something. I work at Frogville Studios, so I told them to come out. When we discussed prices, they couldn’t really afford it, but a mysterious benefactor stepped in, and we’ve been lucky to take our time and make it what we want.
Jason Aspeselt: It’s the fastest creative process I’ve ever been a part of.
MM: We definitely groove, so it’s been a pleasure recording it.
Who writes the songs?
SH: I currently write most of them, but Bill’s starting to bring in some things, and Matt usually writes the bridges. We’re a collaborative.
Do you ever fear being pegged as a bar band?
All: No way!
JA: I’m afraid of being labeled.
Any plans to hit the road and tour?
MM: We’re waiting for the album to come out. You’ve gotta tour with something.
BP: Yeah. It’s good to have something to send out to papers and radio stations and so forth.
Bill Palmer, at the show you looked like Jesus. Why did you shave the beard?
BP: It’s spring, and I’m heading to Europe soon.
I didn’t want to look like a terrorist.
Stephanie Hatfield and Hot Mess
9 pm Saturday, May 23
319 S. Guadalupe St.
2 pm-12 am Saturday, May 30
The Pub & Grill at Santa Fe Brewing Company
35 Fire Place