Jason Black gets personal about playing, politics and people.

In a scene where staying true to your roots while still climbing the ladder of success is sometimes a difficult feat, Gainesville, Florida's Hot Water Music has managed to do just that, with the recent release of their new album "The New What Next."

Combining all of their past experiences into the album, Chuck Ragan (guitar, vocals), Chris Wollard (guitar, vocals), Jason Black (bass), and George Romero (drums), have proven to die-hard fans that even signing onto Epitaph -- a major record label -- hasn't stopped the band from staying true to their driving forces from day one: friendship, loyalty to fans, and of course, their music.

Hot Water Music will show their Midwest fans that the wait for the new album has been worth their while next Friday, Nov. 19, at The Triple Rock Social Club in Minneapolis. In an interview with the High Plains Reader, bassist Jason Black gives us a look at the band's perspective on some current events as well as what it took to make "The New What Next" so great.

High Plains Reader: Your style of music and writing seems to have gradually changed with each album. How did you work as a band get you to "The New What Next"?

Jason Black: I think a lot of the success with this album had to do with the amount of time we spent recording it. We didn't spend that much more time recording, but we were able to set aside the rest of the summer to have time off afterwards. But when we got the record done we didn't have to head right back out on tour...we had a good four months of which we played maybe eight shows total, which is not that much for having a record coming out. So that was nice to not have to feel like we had to rush to get it done and it put everyone in a really good mood to be able to chill and not worry about it so we could make a really good record.

HPR: Are strong tires of friendship in and outside of the band something you would say has made Hot Water Music so successful?

JB: It's definitely been a lot easier for us to work together. When we're at home we still hang out with each other. We don't hang out everyday, but as much as I do with anyone besides my roommates. We are all sort of doing the same stuff -- for the most part -- and that's kind of how we ended up in the band together because we have a lot of the same interests.

HPR: This album seems to be the perfect mixture of every album you have done up until this point.

JB: That is exactly how we feel about it...you nailed it.

HPR: This is completely off the topic, but what did you think of the turn-out for this year's election?

JB: I'm trying not to think about it. I'm just like, "Well...there's that." I did what I could do. I was talking to one of my friends from one of the other bands we are touring with right now and we were both saying how we feel slightly impotent right now about the whole thing. It was hard, but I'm hoping that somewhere down the line something good comes out of it. It's one of those things where you almost have to hit rock bottom before you can get anything sorted out...and maybe we haven't gotten that far down yet to where people are really ready to make a change.

HPR: Is your music strictly personal or do politics ever play a role in what you do?

JB: it's all personal. There is a point where politics do become a part of your personal life and that's as far into it as we get. We addressed a few more issues in the past couple of moths than we have in the past. At the same time we don't really have a political agenda, as a band.

HPR: Not a lot of people around here know, but you guys actually have ties to the Fargo-Moorhead area.

JB: This is true. A bunch of you bastards moved down to Gainesville and ended up being friend with us because the weather sucks so bad up there. It's weird...you'd never think you'd have a crew of people from Fargo that end up moving to Gainesville that you'd end up being friends with.

By Krista Klein