‘Give It A Chance’ by Hotel Leo | Interview

Uncategorized July 8, 2024

‘Give It A Chance’ by Hotel Leo | Interview

‘Give It A Chance’ is the latest single from the upcoming EP by Hotel Leo.

Some songs seem written for those magical movie moments. The dance floor clears, and it’s just our two protagonists left in the spotlight. Hotel Leo’s Stephen Roper writes pop songs that could fit in any summer blockbuster. But his newest single, ‘Give It A Chance’ is an introspective pop tour-de-force that combines 80s ballads and indie-sleaze for a perfect summer hit.

The song opens with synth pads and a wistful vocal melody before pounding drums usher in the full band. Layers of synths make for that perfect 80s feeling with a modern twist. It’s miraculous when a song feels like it could have been made at any point in the past 50 years. ‘Give It A Chance’ feels immediately timeless, and that’s in no doubt due to Roper’s skill as a melodist.

Roper recalls that the song is about “the troubles that come along with making a big life decision.” And the song bears the weight of those big decisions in its big drums and sweeping synths. As the song builds into a bridge, a synth lead enters that takes the song into the stratosphere. While the instrumentation remains mostly the same throughout the song, Roper has a knack for using synth leads to tug at heartstrings and to shift momentum and feeling.

There are very few perfect pop songs. But, this is one of them. As Hotel Leo plan to release an EP and play more live shows, we all have the opportunity to be on the ground floor of what is sure to be a meteoric rise. Why not give it a chance?

“I love the different sounds and ideas everybody brings to the table”

How do the other songs on the upcoming EP compare to ‘Give It A Chance?’

Stephen Roper: When writing this EP I wanted to tell a story that reflects some of the more challenging experiences I’ve had over the past couple of years. ‘Give It A Chance’ is part of that journey, and it is fundamentally a plea to step outside of your comfort zone and to embrace whatever change is coming. The rest of the EP is thematically tied to this, but the songs themselves are pretty distinct from a musical standpoint. Part of this comes from experimenting with new ideas and finding different ways to communicate through music while trying to remain true to what gives Hotel Leo songs their identity.

You mentioned playing with a full band for some upcoming shows. How has having a full band shifted the material sonically (if at all)?

Hotel Leo has always been a studio-only project, and the idea to bring these songs to a live format is a fairly recent one. I’m lucky to have met several awesome musicians over the past year, and bringing them in to play on Hotel Leo songs feels like unlocking a whole new dimension of the band. I love the different sounds and ideas everybody brings to the table. When writing songs I don’t think about how I’m going to recreate them live – I just try and serve the song however I can. Moving those songs into a more traditional live band lineup has been a challenge. For example, how do we translate some of these synth parts to electric guitar? Or how do some of these songs recorded with a drum machine sound with real drums? I’m really enjoying the new takes on the music, and I feel like it has given new life to these songs.

What excites you about pop music? Where do you see pop music headed in the next decade?

I don’t know if I really have my finger on the pulse of pop music. In fact I often feel like I’m sitting outside of it and not doing the homework of listening to new stuff as often as I should. But it’s all constantly evolving and changing, and people will find new sounds, ideas, and spaces that continue to push music forward. I’m sure I consciously and subconsciously move in the general direction that popular music moves in. But I like to think if the foundational core of whatever it is I’m trying to do is honest and true to me, the music will find a way to resonate.

Where do you see Hotel Leo headed in the next few years?

I’d like to get out and play more local and regional live shows with the band, and potentially even tour after the release of future records. I also realize that Hotel Leo has previously been a pretty isolated project – one where I write and produce alone with a tendency to control every aspect of the recording process. I’m working on letting that go and bringing some other trusted voices into the writing process. Early results have been great!

Photo by Cameron Wiley

What do you hope listeners take away from ‘Give It A Chance?’

I hope it resonates in whatever way it can. “Give It A Chance” helped me through so much when I wrote it, and my hope is it can continue to connect with people on some level.

Headline photo: Cameron Wiley

Hotel Leo Official Website / Instagram / Bandcamp

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