Having just finished touring the country on their sold out UK tour, newcomers on the indie rock scene, The Hunna, sat down with Georgia Arundell to discuss the challenges when starting out as a band, the highlights from their recent tour and their killer schedule for 2017.
You’ve just finished your sold out UK tour. What would you say was the highlight for you?
Jermaine [bassist]: Glasgow was pretty cool. We played to around 700 people. There were just so many pits every fucking song. They were going crazy. You could really see that the fans were connecting with the music, which is always good to see.
So was that the most memorable venue from the tour?
Jack [drummer]: I’d say the venue in a boat in Bristol.
Dan [lead guitarist]: Yeah The Thekla was pretty cool. The venue was on a boat. And we walked onto the stage to ‘I’m On A Mother F*cking Boat’ – it was dope.
As your album only came out a couple of months ago, this is the first time that you’ve toured and people have already heard your album. Was the reception different compared to previous tours because of that?
Jermaine: Yeah definitely. With the first show you could see a difference from that to the last tour. The fans are so much more into it and you can see it in their eyes. We thrive off the energy of the fans, so every show got crazier and crazier.
Dan: The Hunna Squad is growing, definitely. At every venue we turned up to our fans have been waiting, which never really happened before. There were a lot of queues, which is really special.
It must be quite surreal once you finally have the album done to finally release it and hear the reaction?
Dan: Yeah definitely. Luckily though a lot of people have their own individual favourite tracks. We’re not one of those one hit wonder kind of bands with just one song. Everyone has their own favourites so that means we’ve done something good, I think!
If you look over the past year since you formed properly, it’s clear to see that you’ve had an incredible journey. What would you say have been the stand out moments for you?
Dan: Touring America was a really good achievement. We lived on a bus and that was really fun.
Jack: Our headline show at Electric Ballroom in Camden. It was overwhelming for us because it was the first time we’d seen that many people come to a show purely for us. We also had a lot of people there like family, friends and guys from the label. It was a wicked show and a moment where we were like, ‘shit we are actually doing this for real.’
Ryan [lead singer]: I actually had the date of that show tattooed on my arm.
Dan: Hitting number thirteen in the album charts was quite a moment. We didn’t expect to get that high and we did. For the amount of time we’ve been around and being on an independent label, it was crazy. The fans really did help to push it that high.
Jack: Another highlight was Reading and Leeds. Reading was the first of the two and that was once again a moment where we were like, ‘wow we’ve managed to pack this tent out. We’re only playing half an hour and everyone is fucking going mad!’
Was Reading a festival you had attended as punters and thought you wanted to play at one day?
Ryan: Oh yeah, absolutely.
Jermaine: I was there about three years ago and I remember watching PEACE play an amazing set. So to be on that stage three years later is just mental. It’s really surreal.
Dan: I smashed up my guitar – that was a dream. It was a proper rock ‘n’ roll moment.
Jermaine: He nearly hit Ryan in the head. He was literally two inches off. He was just swinging it around and Ryan was just singing. He had no clue – he was like the axe man!
As previously said you’ve been very lucky with the success you’ve had so far, but nowadays with the closure of small venues it’s quite hard for new bands to actually make a name for themselves. How did you find it when you were starting out?
Dan: That’s absolutely true. It was very hard. We were all working full time jobs and were putting in every bit of money we could just to record things to submit to managers and record labels. We’d also be asking them to come to shows so they could hear us live. So many times we’d do shows and play small venues to practically no one, but that’s just shit you have to do. We were just trying to get established and get used to live performances.
Jack: We were busy back then because we’d do a full day’s work and then we’d rehearse in the evening. It was a journey and we slaved away for so long.
Was there a time when you decided that you were all going to quit your jobs and fully commit yourselves to making this work?
Jermaine: I think we were all committed anyway. There was only Plan A and no Plan B.
Dan: There’s a transition period which is probably the hardest part. There’s the part where you’re working and you’re also doing stuff independently and then there’s where we are currently. And in between the management expect you to do so much but you’re not getting paid, so it’s catch twenty-two. Your boss is hating on you because you can’t go to work and then your label are expecting you to do everything. It was an absolute pain in the arse. But it’s all good now, thankfully!
Was there a point where you thought, we can’t keep going on like this’, or did that thought never cross your minds?
Dan: No, it’s persistence.
Jack: There was a good year where we were like, when is this going to happen? But we knew it would and we had faith in everyone around us and the goals that were set, so we just had to be patient.
When was the moment that you realised that things were actually on their way up and were going in the right direction?
Jack: I think it was when social media began to kick off. We were surprised that we were getting a good fan base going online.
Jermaine: We believed in our music even before it was released. We knew we had good tunes and something different to offer. But actually seeing the reaction once it was released was like, woah. And the speed people were picking up on it was a bit of a shock.
Jack: After supporting Coasts on tour we really saw a difference. We began to see the views on our first few singles really build up on YouTube afterwards. We had a really good response just from a support slot.
Jermaine: We’d only released a couple of tracks before that Coasts tour but a lot of people there were turning up to their show just to see us, so that was pretty special.
You’ve had a lot of support from Radio 1 DJs such as Huw Stephens and Greg James. Is that something that you strive for as a band or is it just an added bonus when people like that pick up on your music?
Dan: Having them back us is a great thing. But having anyone on board is important to be honest because we’re just trying to get established and get as many new people listening and liking our music. But it is so dope to have people like them playing our records and bigging us up.
Jack: All the DJs at Radio 1 seem to have different approaches. Annie Mac introduced us at BBC Introducing and then we’ve got Greg James and Huw Stephens who are also pushing us out there.
They’ve all got very different shows so will have different audiences that your music will reach.
Dan: Exactly. And luckily we’ve got some really good backing from people at Apple, like Zane Lowe – he’s really into us, which is dope. That’s a dream come true for us because we love Zane. Spotify are also putting us on some of their major playlists so it’s all really good.
Now you’ve finished your UK tour you’re off to America again. I imagine you’ll be getting a well-deserved break for Christmas, and then are you busy straight after the celebrations?
Jermaine: We’ll get a few weeks off after the US tour but as soon as January hits that’s it. We’re touring the UK again then. We’re pretty much booked up for the whole of 2017.
Ryan: UK, Europe and then I think we go to America again for god knows how long. I have a feeling we’re going for five months! I think we might be flying back from America to do festivals over the summer. And then at the end of the year we’re apparently going to Japan and Australia.
Dan: Yeah Japan want us, which is absolutely mad!
Jack: You don’t really think about playing in a country such as Japan until you actually get there. We’re day by day with the whole thing.
Are there any festivals booked already for next summer?
Dan: I think it’s a bit early yet. Around Christmas they get booked.
Jermaine: I think we’re aiming for pretty much all of them – hopefully the majority of the biggies.
Ryan: Hopefully SXSW and Coachella.
Jack: We want to play Glasto too.
Dan: I think Reading and Leeds want us back. The guy who owns it came and watched us and he was really impressed. He wants to put us on a bigger stage and with hopefully a bigger crowd.
Is there a festival that is a real dream for you all to play?
Jack: We’d love to headline Glastonbury. Obviously it’s a while away but you never know. We have to dream big – that’s why we’re here.
Dan: If you don’t dream you don’t get.
You can catch The Hunna on their UK tour in January 2017. Tickets available online now.