Made Up of Seven Brothers and Sisters Who’ve Been Playing Music Together Forever, THE HUNTS Chat With All Access About Their Debut Album, Favorite Memories So Far and More!
Posted On 19 Aug 2015
Tag: *NSYNC, All Access, All Access Music Group, Aluna George, Artist Interview, Beatles, Bob Dylan, Boston, Carol King, Cherrytree Records, Chesapeake, Chris Kuffnerwho, Diana Ross, Dry The River, First Aid Kit, Hooked On Classics, Ingrid Michaelson, Interscope, Journey, Leonard Cohen, Make This Leap, North Carolina, Panic Is Perfect, Riverdance, Ronnie James Dio, Simon and Garfunkel, Supremes, The Hunts, The Mama's And The Papas, The National, Those Younger Days, Tim McGraw, Virginia, Youth Lagoon
Jessi, Jenni, Josh, Jonathan, Jordan, Justin and Jamison make up the Chesapeake, Virginia based indie-folk band, The Hunts and just do happen to all be brothers and sisters!
Earlier this summer, they released their debut album, “Those Younger Days” via Cherrytree Records/Interscope.
Their lead single, “Make This Leap,” is a lilting piece of indie-folk built on layered harmonies, intricately textured acoustic instrumentation, and lyrics that gracefully shift from melancholy to triumphant.
“Growing up the way we did, we had to learn to make do with what we had, so the stories from that time are incredibly special to us,” says Jessi, who explains that all seven members of The Hunts write each song together. “A lot of the time we write about what we remember from being young—the things we went through that have drawn us together and stuck in our hearts and really made us who we are.”
Learn more about The Hunts and their music in the following All Access interview:
Where does this interview find you all today? What’s a typical day like for you?
Oh heavens, today is awesome! We actually just got off the road from a two month summer tour (the tour was amazing by the way) and today we find ourselves in NC at a youth camp we’ve been apart of for years (just picture tubing, high ropes course, cabins, gross camp food, music, messages, friends, bonfires, etc). We make being a part of our community of friends and family a priority when we have down time at home. It’s refreshing you know?
Growing up, it sounds like music was always around and you all taught yourselves to play several instruments. What was it like growing up in that household? Were your parents musical too? Was folk music around?
Yes. Our parents were both very musical as mom was a classically trained violinist while dad taught himself to play shredding electric guitar; to that end, we grew up listening to anything from Hooked on Classics to Ronnie James Dio. We remember our mom taking us to the library weekly to allow each of us to take a CD home. Hundreds of records from Bob Dylan, to Boston, to Diana Ross and the Supremes, to N’Sync, to Simon and Garfunkel, to Riverdance, to Tim McGraw, to Journey, to Carol King filled the air waves of our tiny 3 bedroom house.We consumed alot of music as kids. A lot.
How did you come up with your group name? What other names were you bouncing around? Why do you think you guys decided to start this group originally?
Our group name was surprisingly harder to agree upon than it looks like it was. There were suggestions thrown out there, but nothing ever seemed to encapsulate everything we wanted it to at once… and if it did, it seemed contrived. We finally came to grips that we were simply “The Hunts”. That was us. We all loved how it not only tied into who we are as people, but it conveniently gives that woodsy, folky feel that our music does as well. The whole band idea formed together very naturally after we had been playing musical instruments together for so many years…as our community invited us to come play, we were totally game for that, and it just exponentially grew from there.
What’s it like being in a group with all your brothers and sisters. Do you get along really well? What’s something silly you’ve fought about in the past?
Being a family band is really amazing. Bands tend to become families anyways… Guess we just did things the other way around ;). We do get along very well actually- you have to when you’re in an RV with each other for months at a time. The only times things get spicy are honestly when we’re discussing band issues or during song writing sessions- everyone has that feisty-artist side to them. Things we fight about really don’t matter most of the time- like “should Josh wear pants or shorts for the gig tonight?” …ok, well I guess it does matter some 😉
When you aren’t writing new music or performing, what do you all like to do for fun?
This family likes to have fun- I guess it depends on who you’re talking to in the band for their definition of fun… Josh and Jonathan love playing disc golf, Jordan, Justin and JJ are always down for a game of basketball or filming hilarious videos, Jes and Jenni like running, thrifting and gardening.
When it comes to songwriting, how does that process work for you? Do you take turns or write every song together?
Good question- songwriting in this group is a really special thing because every band member individually is a songwriter themselves, and yet many of our songs have been written collectively. Josh likes to call it the “7 filter process”. Song to song has it’s own story whether the tune was composed by Jon on the keys as Josh paired it with lyrics, or if Jord hammered out an impromptu beat as Jes added “oohs” while Jen plucked a little tune on the violin. We feel strongly that every one’s participation in the writing process makes our songs more powerful.
What bands have consistently inspired you and your music?
Wow, there are frankly too many to list. But to name a few, The Beatles, The National, The Mama’s and The Papas, First Aid Kit, Dry The River, Youth Lagoon, Leonard Cohen… the list goes on.
You just released your debut album “Those Younger Days”. What was that experience like? What was it like to work with executive producer Chris Kuffnerwho has worked with A Great Big World and Ingrid Michaelson?
Yes! We felt very accomplished and relieved. So much work goes into releasing an album, it’s insane. We are grateful for the support of our label CherryTree Records for releasing our debut album! We also felt very honored to work with Chris and we really heeded from his knowledge and experience. He really stretched us from our comfort zone. Some of the riskier moments on the album are Kuffner’s influence for sure. What a privilege you know? The rewarding part of having our album out we found, was having fans showing up to gigs singing along with us- just can’t explain that feeling.
Tell me about the album’s lead single “Make This Leap”. What was the inspiration for it?
“Make This Leap” was honestly one of the very first “Hunts” songs. We wrote it collectively. It’s about friendship, really…the kind that lasts through thick and thin, youth and dreaminess, risks, and time gone by. Friendship and relationship means a lot to us- we write about it in all our music.
How was your tour this summer? Where are you headed off to next?
We just completed our summer tour with a band called Panic is Perfect– we love those guys. It was an awesome experience touring the country- seriously, every city was amazing. Being from Virginia though, the West Coast absolutely blew our minds. We’re looking forward to our tour in September- we’ll be playing colleges and universities- totally one of our favorite things to do!
We wish to give our listeners hope, power, and encouragement in the form of sharing our own testimonies and experiences. There’s a lot out there weighing everybody down you know, and if our music can lift some heads and hearts, we’re all in for that.
Anything else we should know about the band or your music?
Just that we really love what we do and we hope to see everyone out at a show sometime soon.
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