Hot Chelle Rae Talks 'Throwback' New Album, Reveals John Oates Collaboration

Pop-rock group re-recorded the Hall & Oates classic "You Make My Dreams."

After their 2011 sophomore album "Whatever" spawned the hit singles "Tonight Tonight" and "I Like It Like That," Nashville pop-rock group Hot Chelle Rae is putting the finishing touches on its next full-length. A new single, "Hung Up," was released to iTunes on Tuesday (Feb. 12), and frontman Ryan Follesé tells Billboard that the group is hoping to find 10 more songs like it to round out a proper LP, which would be released on RCA Records later this year.

"We've probably written, collectively, around 20 songs," says Follesé, who makes up Hot Chelle Rae along with Nash Overstreet, Ian Keaggy and his little brother, Jamie Follesé. "I'd say that there's maybe eight or nine that we all love, or that we all are on the same page about. We're trying to…  get down to that moment where it becomes this cool little competition at the end, trying to out-write each other -- we have that type of situation. So hopefully we'll get 11 [songs]. That would be ideal."

Follesé says that the group has been "in the studio all the time and constantly cranking out tunes" after supporting Demi Lovato on the road and heading out on a headlining tour last year, but when it comes to a release timeframe, the singer remains hesitant to make any predictions. "Spring or summer would be amazing, but every time we say that it never happens," he says with a laugh.  "We'll probably end up knowing when our second singles out, which actually always ends up being a better scenario for the artist and the band."

In the meantime, "Hung Up" has been floated out as preview of what's to come from the quartet. Written early last year, the song features the same radio-friendly hooks that helped "Tonight Tonight" gain 3 million downloads and "I Like It Like That" snag 1.4 million of its own according to Nielsen SoundScan, but the new song is presented in a more polished, dare-we-say mature package than previous singles.

"On this next album, we have some material that's a little bit more of a throwback, but this one felt like it was the right song at the right time," says Follesé. "What's to come will be a little bit more surprising. There's going to be a lot more organic [material]. I feel like 'throwback' here is the best way to describe it."

Speaking of throwbacks, Hot Chelle Rae got the chance to work with one of their pop idols, following collaborations with Lovato and New Boyz on "Whatever": according to Follesé, the group recently re-recorded the Hall & Oates classic "You Make My Dreams," with John Oates lending a hand. 

"I have known John since I was a kid, and I asked him, 'If this is okay with you, we want to record your song and I'd love you to be a part of it,'" recalls Follesé. "He came back in and sang all the original background, brought the guitar he used on the song, and we rearranged it, just slightly, with him. It was really cool, because whenever you're changing something on such a classic song, you never know if you will get disapproval. And we did it with him, and he helped us reshape a classic song."

Although the "You Make My Dreams" re-imagining might not make the final version of Hot Chelle Rae's next album, Follesé says the collaboration with Oates was not just for his personal bucket list. "We don't have a release date for it yet," he says, "but it will absolutely be released at some point under our name."

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboard

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