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Hot Chelle Rae Interview: Ryan Follese Talks New Album, Shares A$AP Rocky Anecdote + Commends Justin Bieber

Hot Chelle Rae
Paul Zimmerman, Getty Images

Warning: If you custom-design an amazing leather jacket, A$AP Rocky will try to steal it off your back. So jokes Hot Chelle Rae‘s Ryan Follese, who cites the band as a huge fan of the rapper.

The guys are such avid A$AP followers that they even name-dropped him in their new song, ‘Don’t Say Goodnight.’ The track celebrates seizing the moment, and from what Ryan tells PopCrush, that’s exactly what Hot Chelle Rae are doing! From finishing their upcoming album to hitting the road with Justin Bieber, the guys are staying busy. But not so busy that Ryan couldn’t share stories about the time the band pulled an all-nighter in Vegas or what they learned from touring with Justin.

Check out his interview with PopCrush below!

Your new track ‘Don’t Say Goodnight’ is all about staying up and embracing the moment. Do you have any good all-nighter stories that inspired it?

Oh, my gosh. It’s like which all-nighter story do I have? Yeah, there’s a lot of them. One of them that I remember was really fun was my birthday is February 16 and Nash’s brother Chord [Overstreet], his birthday is February 17, and we try to every year have a joint birthday party. Two years ago we spent it in Vegas, just for two days pretty much tried to stay up as long as we could and celebrate it together. We went to a bunch of clubs and had dinner and did the whole thing and got a suite. That’s one of those nights. And things happens fairly often where if you go to sleep, you really aren’t missing out.

Was it like ‘The Hangover’? As soon as you said “Vegas,” that’s immediately what I thought.

I think it was like ‘The Hangover,’ but maybe it was before ‘The Hangover,’ so I don’t know. Maybe that’s why I thought that movie was so funny. But it’s all kind of a blur.

You guys mention A$AP Rocky in ‘Don’t Say Goodnight.’ Any reason you chose to reference him?

Yeah, we’re label-mates, first of all. We’re definitely fans of his music and we have been since he got signed to RCA. We namecheck him because that’s what we do. When we’re in the car, that’s somebody that we would put on. That’s somebody that we listen to.

We actually ran into him when we were on the Justin Bieber tour. Nash and I went to a club after one of the shows in New York, and he happened to be there. We met him that night and he was really cool. He tried to steal my jacket right off my back! He liked it so much. But I think that’s one of the reasons we referenced him.

Wait, what kind of jacket was it?

I had custom made this American flag, fully studded leather jacket that had chains and spray paint and all of this stuff all attached to it. I had spent the majority of the Bieber tour making it while I was on the road. [A$AP Rocky] saw it and was like, “Man, I want that jacket. Let me have that!”

Watch the Hot Chelle Rae ‘Don’t Say Goodnight’ Lyric Video

You have an upcoming album. What can fans expect?

I think that they can expect to hear the unexpected. I think that the only thing they can expect is that they’ll like it. If they liked our last album, they’ll really like this album as well, even though it’s a bit of a departure. Not in a very serious way, but it’s just, you know, we’ve been on the road for a couple of years and our sound and our personalities and our band dynamic has evolved. As you evolve, I think that that comes out in your art.

For us, we’ve just all been through a lot of different experiences and it’s definitely reflected upon the music. It’s a little bit grown-up, but not too [much]. It’s going to have that pop sound that they used to, but for me, it’s exciting to get to play. It’s a new and improved version of us.

Do you guys have any idea when the album will be released?

I don’t. Every time I think that the album is closed, another song sneaks in. We never stop writing. Be it for us, be it for anybody. When we wrote with Jesse McCartney, we were writing for us, and it ended up being on his album. The same thing can happen to us. We can be writing for somebody else and it ends up being on our album. It’s not closed yet, but we have the majority of it. It will definitely be out this year, I’m hoping end of summer. Maybe early fall.

I saw that you guys responded to a fan who tweeted about wanting you to duet with Katy Perry. Will there be any collaborations on the upcoming record?

Not that I can officially say. We’ve reached out to a few different people on different songs, but as of right now, we don’t have any collaborations. I think an awesome collaboration would be, I would love to do a version of ‘Don’t Say Goodnight’ with A$AP Rocky. I think that that would be obviously the icing on the cake. I think that that would be a really cool look and a cool feature. So, we may reach out to him in the upcoming future, but as of right now, nothing is solidified as far as collaborations go.

Justin Bieber’s gotten some negative press lately, but he’s such a talented performer. After spending time with him on tour, what are some things you learned from him?

What we learned is not just through his performance, but the way that he handles the artists that are on his tour. For us, a lot of times on tour, the opener would not get treated with the same respect that they should be treated with by other people. They’ll do things like not let you use all of the stage or certain things like that, but the whole Bieber tour was so cool because even Scooter [Braun] and Justin both said, “Look, you can use the whole stage. What we want is not just the best Justin Bieber show ever. We want the best Chelle possible.” That involves letting the opener do what they do. And there was no restraints, no limits, no anything, and they let us do our show. I learned that’s incredibly valuable to me. That changed my perspective on people that are going to be on the road with us forever.

Besides other musicians, where do you find inspiration?

I think musicians are one facet, but I think all of arts and entertainment are another. I think whether it’s a painting or a costume or an actor or a short film you’ve seen. I think you can draw inspiration from everywhere. I think that’s the beauty of the world we live in. There’s no limit or requirement for what can inspire you. Honestly, as cheesy as it sounds, it can be a change in the direction of the wind. I think that as long as you’re open to that, your eyes are wide open, you can be inspired by anything.

Were there any specific inspirations that you can recall from the upcoming album?

I think seeing 20 cities that we’ve never seen before. The way that people live in different cities was definitely an eye-opening experience. Going through relationships, a couple ex-girlfriends maybe, things like that. When you’re heartbroken and you’re sitting in the south of France, it’s a weird feeling. And you try to figure out: “I’m so grateful to be here, but I’m so upset.” You kind of have to learn how to sort out your emotions and by doing so you write songs.

Any other plans for 2014?

We’re going actually about to head back to Nashville to start rehearsing and kind of get the ship ready again. We’re going to be doing some radio shows this spring and summer. As far as touring goes, I’m sure there will be a headliner in the works. We’re actually kind of putting our feelers out right now for a tour for the summer and fall.

Next: Check Out 14 Artists to Watch in 2014

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