Watford’s The Hunna only debuted themselves to the world in October of last year, but already their infectious brand of indie-rock is selling out venues in this country and overseas – and they’re racking up millions of views on YouTube.
Alex Nelson sat down with frontman Ryan to talk social media, their ‘turn-up-rock’ approach, and Drake’s ‘Big Rings’.
Hi Ryan. How did you meet and what circumstances brought you together?
“I met our guitarist Dan was I was at college on a music course, and then me and Dan got together and formed a band with other people from college and it just went from there really. Then our music tastes changed. but me and Dan stuck together and said that we’re not gonna give up on it and just keep going.
“Our bassist Jermain’s known Dan since Year Two, and we met our drummer Jack three and a bit years ago now. As a four piece we’ve probably been together for about two and a half years now.”
The band officially ‘launched’ in October, didn’t it?
“Yeah, that was when we finally got released. We were writing for about two years, just behind the scenes getting songs ready and getting prepared.”
Do you think that’s a good way of doing things; making sure you’re prepared for the future and keeping a low profile so when you do have the opportunity to introduce yourself to the world you’re ready with the songs?
“Everyone has different ways of doing it, but the way that it’s happened for us and the process has been really good so far and we’re all happy with how things are going. I think it’s good that we’ve done the work before on the songs, and we’ve got all the songs ready for future releases as well.
“That’s a good thing because we don’t really have to take our foot off the gas in terms of what we’re doing.”
For anyone’s who’s never heard The Hunna before, how would you describe your music?
“We like to call ourselves ‘turn-up-rock’ because we have so many different influences. We have a huge hip-hop influence; we love Drake, we love Snoop Dogg, we love Wiz. But then we also have an obvious rock influence – my favourite band is probably Kings of Leon.
“I think that sets us apart and we’re just ‘real’; just four guys that are like brothers talking about real shit that’s been going on in our lives.”
What subjects do your songs cover?
“They cover girl problems. But what person doesn’t have those problems?
“But ‘We Could Be’ is about people in the industry that we’ve come across that have kinda taken us in and said things to us and worked us up a little bit and then taken it away from us, and it’s about us trying to bounce back from that.
“There’s lots of other personal stuff; and there’s definitely depth to the album.”
You seem to be putting a lot of work in – I was looking at your upcoming tour dates which take you to June. What has it been like to get the songs out there and meet the fans?
“Meeting the fans is so fun, and every night they go crazy.
“The schedule’s pretty full-on; we haven’t really had a break since we did the Boston Music Room shows about a month ago. We went straight to Europe from there, and then straight in to the studio, and then straight on this tour, and the day we get back we go straight in to the studio again. So it’s pretty hectic!”
What can people expect if they come to your live shows? You mentioned there’s a lot of different influences, so do you try to play on that at gigs?
“We come out to the stage to Drake and Future’s ‘Big Rings’ and get the fans pumping before we play.
“We take it back to the old-skool, with small compact venues and lots of people just there to be part of something and have fun; go crazy, get sweaty, jump around. There’s always mosh-pits going on and a lot of turning up – the energy from us and the fans is amazing each night.”
You mentioned that you’re heading to the studio soon to work on the album. What can we expect from that?
“I think it’s obviously going to be fantastic, because we’ve been working on it for a long time and a lot has happened since we’ve been writing it. Duncan Mills is producing the album; he’s an amazing producer, and he’s worked with some great people.
“There’s lots of different dynamics on it, lots of different songs – the last song is quite different to the stuff we’ve got released so far so we’re excited to show a different side to us, as well as obviously having ‘Bonfire’ and all of those songs.”
You mentioned your trip to Europe. How has it felt to know you’re getting appreciation from outside the UK?
“It’s quite weird. We’d never played outside of the UK so we just turned up to Paris on the first day, and we got to the venue and there were people waiting outside two hours early, just welcoming us to Paris which was nice.
“Then we played and it was packed out and they knew the words to pretty much all of the songs, which was really quite special for us. We can see people commenting on Facebook from other places, but to actually meet them and hear them singing back is really special.”
You seem to keep a good rapport with your fans through social media, do you think in this day and age that’s just as important for a band as the music itself?
“I think nowadays everything is online really, so it’s definitely important.
“People were commenting and saying stuff and we were just happy to reply because we were like ‘yeah, thank you so much’. It just got bigger and bigger and snowballed from there.
“We try to get back to as many people as possible because without them we wouldn’t be able to do this.”
How is summer looking with festivals etc?
“We’ve got the the second UK tour, and then we go to America, and then we come back from America we’ve got quite a few festivals: there’s a few big ones in England. We’re super excited.”
The Hunna play the following dates:
May 23: Sugarmill, Stoke
May 24: Adelphi, Hull
May 25: Think Tank, Newcaslte
May 26: Glasgow, King Tut’s
May 30: Clwb Ifor Bach, Cardiff
May 31: Hare & Hounds, Birmingham
June 2: Bullingdon, Oxford
June 3: Moles, Bath
June 4: Joiners, Southampton
June 5: Underground, Plymouth
June 6: Patterns, Brighton
June 8: Waterfront, Norwich
June 9: Cookie, Leicester