hot knife 2020
[Photo by: Donald Rasmussen]

Brooklyn pop-punk quartet Hot Knife are here to stick it to the corporate elite in their brand-new track “TOP 10 HABITS OF HIGHLY SUCCESSFUL PEOPLE.” The band are exclusively premiering the riffy and sarcastic song with AltPress.

The single comes from their forthcoming five-track EP Dread, due April 20 via Black Numbers. The EP was mixed, mastered and engineered by accomplished professionals such as Jesse Cannon (the Misfits, Saves The Day), Brian DiMeglio (Future Teens) and Jason Livermore (Rise Against, A Day To Remember).

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AltPress got a closer look at the inspiration behind the song as well as what went into the preparation of the band’s EP release, which is available for preorder now. Check out the full interview and new track from Hot Knife below. 

“TOP 10 HABITS OF HIGHLY SUCCESSFUL PEOPLE” features an energetic garage-rock feel that prompts a lot of nostalgic feelings. Who or what inspired you most to shape your sound? 

We’re all about the same age, and like a lot of people our age, we grew up with punk rock of the early ’90s. Huge bands like Rancid [and] Green Day but also more regional bands like Bouncing Souls, Lifetime [and] Kid Dynamite. So there’s definitely some of that in Hot Knife, mixed with garage rock from the ’60s or later. Obviously, the Beatles, but also groups like the Stooges, the Sonics [and] the Jam. Lots of eighth notes and down strokes. That’s what I hear, anyway. A friend told me that he hears Squeeze in this song too, which made me really happy. 

What are your top habits for a highly successful musician or band? 

Face paint. 

Tell us the story behind the lyrics. What personal experiences helped inspire the verses, if any? 

The lyrics are sarcastic and angry. I like angry pop songs. The title is a reference to the clickbait articles you’ll find everywhere online… “Here are so-and-so’s tips for becoming a multimillionaire.” Those articles are garbage and have always offended me. The lyrics are about being fed up with the demoralizing pursuit that is modern professional life. 

How has the Brooklyn punk scene shaped you as a group? What’s your favorite part about starting off in that part of New York? 

Starting a band in New York is great just due to the number of venues, rehearsal spaces and other bands. There are resources everywhere. You can pretty quickly find a network, rehearse and put shows together. So we’ve been fortunate to meet a lot of other great bands along the way, as well as visual artists, promoters, engineers [and] producers. That is by far my favorite aspect of being a Brooklyn punk band. 

You worked with Jesse Cannon, Jason Livermore and more on your EP. What was it like working with these accomplished industry professionals, and how did their expertise help you refine Dread

Brian DiMeglio [is another] fantastic engineer who worked on Dread with us. It was our second time working with Jesse, so we knew it would be great. He understands what we’re going for and gets the most out of us in terms of performances. Jason Livermore took the record to the next level with his mixing and mastering. He also brought great ideas to the table, as you’d expect from listening to all the records he has mixed. I think we ended up with a really full-sounding punk EP thanks to the input of Brian, Jesse and Jason. Thanks, boys.

What can listeners expect in 2020? What’s one thing you hope to accomplish this year? 

Well firstly, we are desperate to get out and promote this record. We had shows in the U.S. and Europe lined up that are all on “pause” for now, like everything else in the world. So hopefully you’ll see us out there in 2020. Trust me when I say that we will be fired up and very happy to see you.