By Kyle Fillo
With a new line-up, a new band name, and a new EP on the horizon, Hotel Mira vocalist and songwriter Charlie Kerr is entering a new phase in his musical evolution. It has been two and a half years since the final LP from the band formerly known as JPNSGRLS, and since that time the band has reworked their lineup with the addition of bassist Mike Noble joining Kerr and lead guitarist Colton Lauro. As the band’s previous iteration had been together since they were teenagers, this shift in course has set the stage for what this writer proposed to Kerr as a step towards “a more mature sound.”
“Yeah, I’m not crazy about that word,” Kerr says, “because [the word mature] sometimes seems like more adult contemporary, but I think that just by the nature of getting more life experience, it’s been described that way.”
While the reconstitution of any band raises questions about the motivating factors for such changes, Kerr was much more eager to dive deep into the conception and development behind Hotel Mira’s self-titled debut EP.
“It’s a lot more streamlined of how I see things,” he says, when asked about how the creative direction of this initial Hotel Mira release differs from that of his work with JPNSGRLS. Behind this streamlined process was pressure from producer Dave Schiffman (Vampire Weekend, HAIM, Brandon Flowers), who Kerr collaborated with on his songwriting.
“He pushed me really hard to find better melodies, and do things that were more melodic, and find hooks in everything” explains Kerr. The combination of this intense scrutiny and influx of new influences has set the stage for Hotel Mira to initiate their own legacy and to extend Kerr’s vision beyond his past with JPNSGRLS.
In a period of transition where it’s common for artists to get bogged down by bad blood, regrets, or nostalgia, Kerr is as optimistic and satisfied as ever with the band’s direction. “[Writing and recording the EP] was a really good artistic process of learning that you can always just improve and build.” And judging by his optimism about future projects, this is only the beginning. “The truth is, what I’m writing now completely kicks [this EP’s] ass. This is a good EP, but the full-length that’s going to come after it is going to be truly special.”
Hotel Mira’s new EP is available on August 17 on Light Organ Records.Light Organ Records