Driven by their love for live music, fans and festivals, The Hunna have cemented themselves as indie-rock icons over the past few years, but after some of their toughest years are finally behind them with the release of their third album to look forward to. We decided to catch up with the boys from Watford to find out their thoughts about their success, turning negatives into positives, and most importantly what to get excited about from their new album, I’d Rather Die Than Let You In.
Now more than ever, the world is a crazy place with hurdles for us all being thrown left, right and centre. For most people, dealing with those struggles takes time, but the last five years have shown that The Hunna, eat those hurdles for breakfast. “It’s been a really wild ride the last 5 years. From going from hustling all over the country playing to 5 - 10 people & working behind the scenes to finally putting our first sight singles out, our first tour just the 4 of us in our cars driving round trying to spread the word as much we could.”
It wasn’t all plain sailing whilst singing and touring though, as Ryan tells, “Taking down and leaving our label (High Time) & manager Carl Hitchborn after so many abusive situations & robbery. Plus our personal lives on top, it’s been fucking insane & I wouldn’t change any of it.” Despite all of these up and downs intensifying over recent years, it seems like the quartet have managed to draw strength from their resilience, flipping negatives into positives and show that there’s always a light at the end of the tunnel eventually. Similar emotions are felt throughout the band as Dan shares, “He stole everything we earned and consistently lied to us about it throughout album one & two. We were left feeling incredibly frustrated and angry but we picked ourselves back up and channelled all of that into writing and recording IRDTLYI” Even still with all their success over their career so far, it’s no doubt that The Hunna feel it may be slightly tainted in some way, but from hearing their thoughts on the future, it seems like they’re ready to rise like a phoenix, almost start fresh with their new album, and branch out in ways we’re still yet to see from the boys.
For most fans, they’ve been waiting for a while now to see the full instalment of their latest work, as they all took the difficult decision to push back their album release until October; of which Dan explains; “Due to the pandemic (COVID-19) we thought it would be nice for our fans to have a new track to listen to each month leading to the album release. We didn’t originally plan to do that but life being what it is right now we thought turning a negative into a positive would be best for everyone. So far the fans have reacted to the singles is such an amazing way. So many fans have been creative with artwork, song covers, dance moves and more. It keeps us happy knowing our music is keeping people entertained and sane during these dark times.”
It wasn’t just the fans who loved the innovative approach to releasing the album, as Ryan seemed to share the same amount of joy from it too. “We had no choice really, the best option we could make out of it all was we can release more singles from the album and keep giving people something each month throughout this shit-show of a year & that excited us again 'cause it was hard to pick just a few singles from the record. We got to let people hear some our favourite tracks that may not have been chosen as singles & the response and support has been so great!”
The new style of releasing music isn’t the only first for the band surrounding this release. As you might have noticed with some of their releases already, this is the first time the band have collaborated with other artists on their tracks. “Finally we were ‘allowed’ to collab and work with other artists... we’ve always wanted to get some features on board but with our old management and label were road blocked so now we are free we could finally experiment and the outcome had been extreme!". With Ryan clearly buzzed by the new experiences, he continued, sharing how it might be the first of many collabs with others, “It put us in a really new exciting refreshing state of mind… connecting with other artists that share the same passion as you & it seriously makes it more fun even if they’re just to hang out. We loved every second of it so yes definitely expect more in future!”
One standout duet off the album comes from the single, If This Is Love. “‘If This Is Love’ is a standalone track that is so melodic and spacious compared to a lot of other songs on the album.” The track itself features Phem, who seemed to be a sure-fire hit with the band. “We are so stoked in how it came out, Phem and Tino compliment each other so much, their voices are incredible together and with the trippy guitar loops and heavy drums at the end it really brings something new to the table.” Jack continues “The album is our gory story of many different subjects, Ryan expresses real life experiences and blends them with clever story lines that also include dark fantasy as one example. The world is a complicated messed up place with also lots of beauty and amazing things under the surface and the album is a reflection of that.”
With slightly different sounds to usual, both sonically and collaboratively, it seems like The Hunna haven taken the opportunity with the aid of producer John Feldman to stretch the limits of their sound on the new album, whilst as Jack nicely put it “Still maintaining The Hunna core rock sound.”
Despite being able to share music with fans during the pandemic, the boys have missed out on doing what they do best, live shows. “We had the biggest touring year we’ve ever had planned this year so was a huge blow for us... we are happiest on stage hearing the fans sing with us and just lose it for a few hours... there’s a special moment created at shows that can’t be replicated anywhere else.” tells Ryan. “Yeah for us live music is the reason why we are here and got into bands in the first place. Growing up we were all inspired by the legends of the rock world at festivals or headline shows that made us want to follow in their footsteps.” Jack adds.
Alongside getting their new album out to the fans, it feels like live shows and gigs are what the boys are most hyped for to come back. “When we can all get back together for a Hunna show it’s gonna be the most special insane atmosphere.. we can’t wait! A Lot of other songs off our third album ‘IRDTLYI’ are also going to go off live next year, Hunna Mania will be back bigger than ever.” But with live music missing from this summer, the boys have been forced to find alternative ways to spend their time, including staying active; “Away from music we enjoy going to the gym, watching football & maybe a holiday just to recharge the batteries and relax, but ultimately we can’t wait to get back out there with all the fans and play the new album.” expalins Jack, who reminds us that if you look past the immense musical talent and song writing ability, The Hunna are just like the rest of us.
It’s clear to see how much The Hunna have been missing doing what they do best. But even with the absence of live music and gigs, or the ability to properly promote the new album, the boys have continued to show the industry what you’re capable of when resilience and determination prevails, and if that doesn’t get you excited for what’s in store, nothing will.