“Thanks in part to “Have You Ever” becoming a minor TikTok hit last year, Urban Heat has taken Austin’s clubs and America’s goth underground in such a blitz that it feels like it suddenly arose from the ether.” – Andy O’Conner, SPIN
Urban Heat is poised to break nationally in 2023. In March Urban Heat joined TikTok darlings Vision Video for a 3-week tour, taking them to the East Coast and Canada. The success of the tour led them to extend the joint run to the West Coast in August, where many shows sold out. Their official SXSW performances had them playing to packed crowds at Stubb’s Outdoor Ampitheater, the Austin Chronicle’s day party, and a SPIN party, who of frontman Jonathan Horstmann wrote “The star power is there, more so than any Austin musician in recent history.” In May Urban Heat delivered a powerful set at Cruel World Fest in Pasadena California, joining a lineup that included Siouxsie, Iggy Pop, Gary Numan, and other genre icons. They are following up with a national headline tour in November, beginning with a performance at Darker Waves in Huntington Beach.
After winning an Austin Music Award for “Song of the Year” for “Have You Ever”, they graced the coveted cover of the Austin Chronicle and topped Austin Monthly’s list of “8 Austin Acts Poised to Break Out at SXSW 2023”.
2022 was already a year of exponential growth for the band. Before winning “Song of the Year”, their single “Have You Ever” had a viral moment on TikTok. This propelled them into their first national headline tour after playing at the Austin City Limits Festival. They were selected as Sonic Guild grant recipients and featured as KUTX 98.9’s Artist of the Month in July.
“A lightning rod of dark electro/proto-punk/new wave/synth wave/part goth/part industrial sound that is all the things but… simultaneously transcending them into something fresher.” – Laurie Gallardo, KUTX 98.9
The band formed in 2019 when multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Jonathan Horstmann enlisted Kevin Naquin and Paxel Foley to form a live show based on his analog sound design. The result fuses dark 80’s stylings with modern flourishes, with Horstmann’s throaty baritone delivering musings on existence and romanticism against an unrelenting industrial gothic pulse. Their live show is undeniably energetic and engaging, earning them slots at Austin’s Levitation and Seattle’s Freakout Fest in 2021. They released 6 singles between 2019 and 2022 and while the pandemic saw their SXSW 2020 performance canceled, they returned in 2022 as official artists.
“The post-punk trio confronts the pervasive bleakness of life in pandemic-era America with an Atari blast of bubbling synths laid over insistent, body-shaking beats. These are not fluffy pop songs. Vocalist Jonathan Horstmann scratches at the many shades of malaise that have emerged as side effects of late-stage capitalism. He dances with darkness. He picks scabs ’til they bleed. He breaks through the pain.” – Deborah Sengupta Stith, Austin American-Statesman