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.
If you’re a local in the Leeds area you’ve probably either been to see local band VITAMIN or seen a tonne of posters promoting their many gigs in the city. The group, who met at school, have had a successful career so far, receiving praise from BBC Introducing and being played on Radio 1 numerous times. We caught up with lead singer Jared to talk about their return to the festival and their upcoming debut album.
Q: You performed at Live At Leeds last year – which venue did you play at and what was the atmosphere like on the day?
A: We loved Live at Leeds last year! We played the Stylus and in all honesty I had my hesitations. We’d never played a venue that size off our own back, so to walk onto that stage with a room full of people looking back at you was a real sense of satisfaction.
One of the most highly anticipated artists at this years Live At Leeds Festival is Manchester born singer/songwriter and producer Shura. Having made the longlist on the ‘BBC Sound of’ poll back in 2015, Shura has released a string of successful singles including ‘2Shy’ and ‘Touch’, and her debut album ‘Nothing’s Real’ is set for release on July 8th. We caught up with Shura before her performance at Live At Leeds to find out how she’s looking forward to the festival.
Q: Hi Shura! How are you feeling about playing Live At Leeds this year?
A: Super excited about returning to Leeds! I had a great time playing the city before so it’s gonna be mega!
Q: Which artists are you hoping to see perform at the festival?
A: My mates Dahlia Sleeps are playing so I’m definitely gonna try and catch them. I’m also really up for watching Pumarosa again – they’re sick live! So are Clean Cut Kid! And it would be wicked to see Kelly Lee Owens play, as I’ve never seen her live show.
Having recently been crowned winner of MTV Brand New For 2016, Essex born singer-songwriter Anne-Marie is set for a fantastic year. Having sung lead vocals for drum and bass group Rudimental for the past two years, she has a wealth of experience under her belt, standing her in good stead for a supporting slot on Rudimental’s upcoming spring UK tour, as well as on their 5-night tour of Australia and New Zealand in May. With her debut album being released later this year, she certainly has a busy year ahead. We caught up with her backstage on the opening night of her first UK solo tour.
Q: Your music is best described as a fusion of pop, hip-hop and R&B. What influenced you to make this style of music?
A: If I was making music on my own and I didn’t have people around working with me, it would probably be really R&B, like old school Alicia Keys. But luckily I write my songs with producers, so I tell them my influences, like R&B, hip-hop. I knew I wanted to be a pop artist but I didn’t want to be cheesy. I know people associate pop as cheesy, but in actual fact in isn’t. But that’s how I saw it.
The road to success can be a tough one and making a name for yourself in the industry can be brutal. For Essex born, soul and funk inspired band, The Milk, this rings true for their beginnings also.
“There were a lot of showcases. No one really knows about it unless you do it,” explains drummer Mitch. “The best ones are obviously when they come to a gig and it’s packed out with loads of people cheering you on. But then there are these other moments where they come down to your rehearsal and there are five of you in a room. They’re like, ‘Impress me. Do you want my money or don’t you?’”
“They’ll just sit there and light up a joint and be like, ‘what you got?’” adds lead singer Rick. “Some of them are horrible; not pleasant things to do at all.”
Experiences such as these would have put many bands off, but not The Milk. “I think we’d already gone down the rabbit hole at that point. It was like, we’ve got to do this to get there. Let’s just get this done,” says Rick. Just months prior to this, the band had to make the monumental decision to quit their day jobs to make their musical passion a full time venture.
“I remember phoning Mitch and being outside the boss’s office and being like, ‘Look man. I am about to knock on the boss’s door and tell him where to shove his job. Like is this what we’re doing?’ And it worked – it was f**king scary,” says Rick. “We got to that point where we were too busy with the band but the band wasn’t quite making enough money to kind of call it your job. It was a hard choice in one sense but in another sense, there was only one choice you would have ever made.”