“Blind Pig, how are you Feeling?!” Jack screams into the microphone. The Ann Arbor crowd roars back while Jack’s brother Michael on guitar blasts into the chorus of their song “Dynamite Hurricane.” Cymbals crash as Brady devastates his drums and the three go all out, leaving everything on the stage. It’s the effort and show that fans have come to expect from the young musicians as they play and work toward their dream of being the next big band to break out of the area. With every show, the audience gets bigger and bigger. “Oh, yeah,” says bassist Jack Davis. “We’re seeing more and more people – they’re singing our songs with us. It’s an amazing feeling.” Drummer Brady Lott adds, “And not just live audiences. Our numbers are increasing on all the online metrics.”
Brady, Jack and guitarist Michael Davis are doing what it takes nowadays to put Heat Above on the map. The days of being “discovered” by a label or producer are long gone. In today’s world, making a name for yourself goes beyond talent. It involves putting in the time for visual production, social media and, of course, playing live and giving it your all each and every time. “At our show, you’re going to get an hour or more of high energy,” says Brady. “Our goal is an intense stage production that will have you singing by the end.”
The band was formed a little over a year ago after the three friends finished playing in a quartet named Sleepwalker with another friend on lead guitar. “With Sleepwalker, we played a more bluesy form of rock,” Jack explains. “It’s completely different from Heat Above.” After their friend left, they decided to move on as a trio, booking their first show almost immediately. They chose the name “Heat Above” almost out of necessity. “We didn’t want to continue as Sleepwalker and we needed something to call ourselves,” Jack explains. “It’s really worked out for us.” That first show was interesting to say the least. “We weren’t sure yet how to move on with just three,” says Jack. “Plus, I left my cymbals at home,” Brady says to a chorus of laughter. After surviving their debut, it all has gone much better and much faster than any of them could have anticipated. They put it all together, found their sound and started booking as many shows as possible, wherever possible.
Heat Above has played all over the state and as far away as Chicago, gaining fans at every stop and often taking shows at the drop of a hat. “We took a gig opening for musician Charlotte Sands at The Crofoot in Pontiac at the last second after one of her openers dropped out,” Brady informs. “She’s got a big following. It was a great show for us.” By the end of the year, the band estimates that they will have played over 100 shows since their first, playing for audiences of only three to hundreds of people. “It doesn’t really matter who’s in the audience or how many,” says Michael. “Playing live is always worth it.”
Heat Above’s music is a fresh form of alternative rock, weaving in notes of funk, blues and pop-punk. As big fans of Red Hot Chili Peppers and Arctic Monkeys, listeners can hear subtle influences of both in their compositions and like The Beatles before them, Heat Above has two lead singers with Jack and Brady providing vocals. All three collaborate to write and develop each song. “We’ve found that the magic of the song is there often before the lyrics,” Jack explains. “If the melody feels good, we go with it.” Music is at the forefront of thought for each of them; so much so that Brady tells of his own “McCartney” moment when he dreamed the opening melody for their song “Take a Peek.”
Along with writing music and playing live, Heat Above maintains a social media presence on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. “So much of our time and effort goes into social media,” Jack sighs. “It’s too important not to do it, though.” In addition, the band has begun shooting its own videos for its most recent single releases “Take a Peek”, “Slow Down” and “Fake Out.” The videos have gone a long way toward building their brand. “We used a phone to record the videos,” says Brady. “I think it cost us a one-time purchase of a $5 app. Very low-budget,” he says to laughter. Each video is shot locally (Flint and Davison) and is available to view on YouTube or on their website at heataboveband.com. More are coming in the future. “There are hidden details in each video that are all leading to something,” Brady teases. “It’s all going to come together. Don’t you want to know what’s in the suitcase?” (Brady is referring to the video for the song “Slow Down.”)
Earlier this year, Heat Above released the “Jellyfish” EP featuring four songs and continues to produce singles as time allows. By the end of the year, the band has plans to release its first complete album. All current songs were recorded and produced by David Roof at Rooftop Recording. “David has been great,” says Brady. “We really appreciate everything he has done.”
The band has a rock and roll dream and each of them are up to the task of achieving it. “Our long-term goal is to be able to do music full-time,” says Jack, “with no side-hustles. We don’t even need to be rich – just make enough to make music.”
We practice as much as possible to make sure the music is clean. We trust each other to be there and put in the time and effort.”
“You’ve got to be good at every show,” adds Brady. “We practice as much as possible to make sure the music is clean. We trust each other to be there and put in the time and effort.” Michael adds, “We understand the business and are all 100% committed to making it happen.”
For videos, music and merchandise, visit Heataboveband.com.