Lansing band Hot Mulligan has bumped itself up on the national independent music scene’s radar. The band has garnered serious attention after signing with the California-based imprint No Sleep Records, the home for several popular alternative acts such as The Wonder Years and Balance and Composure. Hot Mulligan is fresh off the release of its debut for No Sleep, “Pilot,” and a national tour with Knuckle Puck and Boston Manor. We managed to get a few words in with the group’s guitarist/vocalist Chris Freeman.
Your new album “Pilot” has a comfortably pop punk sound, how is that genre evolving?
I don’t know. I think it was pretty stale for a while, but I think more people are catching on to that. I’m looking forward to seeing what else comes of it.
What are your songwriting influences? Are they more contemporary or classic?
We’re into all sorts of Emo — some of the more early 2000s pop stuff and that 2010 Emo revival period as well. I’m also pretty stoked on early 2000s pop hits as well, but we all take influences from other genres too.
Can you explain your songwriting process and each member’s role?
We don’t necessarily have a solidified songwriting process. Sometimes I will write out the chords and lyrics and just bring it to the band later. Other times I just have one riff, the band builds on it from there, and all of the vocals and lyrics are added later.
You recently got back from a tour with Knuckle Puck and Boston Manor. How did that go? Favorite memories? Stories?
That tour was easily our favorite we’ve gotten to be a part of. Every show was a blast for us. On the last night in Indianapolis, all of the support came onstage for Knuckle Puck’s encore and made a human pyramid while some of us blew vape clouds at their feet kind of like fog machines.
Do you have more major tours planned for the future? Or is that a secret?
We’re keeping that on lock. You’ll know soon enough.
Tell us about the path to getting involved with California’s No Sleep Records. Who helped you out? Is the label treating you well?
Nick Diener, our producer and formerly of the Swellers, helped us out with that! No Sleep followed us on Twitter. We were hoping maybe they’d extend an offer — and they did — and it’s been good so far.
How does being signed to a label change your band’s dynamic?
It really hasn’t changed anything. We still run the same way, but we have some more support now and are less stressed out.
With so many bands in the vein of Hot Mulligan coming from the coasts or Europe, what’s it like to come out of the Midwest?
I think the Midwest is actually great.
There are a lot of good markets to play within just a few hours of each other, but the coasts treat us well too. I think a lot of great bands came out of the Midwest like Fall Out Boy, Knuckle Puck, Real Friends, the Swellers, Citizen, Fireworks, La Dispute and a bunch more. It’s a good place to be.
What bands do you hope to play with one day?
Taking Back Sunday and The Wonder Years would be a good time, I think.