Hunter and the Bear have been a band H2N have been closely following for the last 12 months following the release of Renegade in 2016. When that was released and closely followed up by Oh Daisy, we knew the band were special and on to a winning formula with their writing. On May 13th the band released their debut album Paper Heart to critical acclaim with major outlets, including Kerrang Magazine giving the record rave reviews. We had chance to ask the band some questions about the release as well as gave the album itself the H2N review treatment.
Every few weeks this year the band have filtered through a new track that was going to be on Paper Heart; this method of releasing seems to be growing popular in the industry as a means of building hype and bringing up the streaming numbers, but for Hunter and the Bear, they released every track for a reason. At the start of the album cycle the band set out on the ambitious target to film a video for every track on the record, a target which the band have hit with some style. This alone shows the drive and the hard work the guys are willing to put into their music and it not only comes through with the videos but with the quality and standard of every single track on the album. With Paper Heart, their music has put them on the edge of greatness, on the edge of redefining what it means to be a rock band. Ladies and Gentlemen, with Paper Heart, Hunter and the Bear have official brought rock music back to the UK.
This isn’t to say, however, that the record is ten tracks of raging drums, ridiculous riffs and blinding vocals (hmm maybe the last one); it is a controlled album that shows a number of sides to the band, reflective of the sound they set out on almost four years ago. Yes, with tracks like You Can Talk (currently sat in the top ten of H2N 2017 chart), and D.R.K you get the heavy, raw sound that Hunter and the Bear pride themselves on in their live shows. But Hologram, for example with lyrics such as “I wanna be a better man” shows a different, more 90’s Bon Jovi sound that the band have mastered so early in their career (that wasn’t an insult we promise!).
Every track is distinct in the production, the lyrical direction and the music performed. From title track Paper Heart and “I am What I Am” being mellow, and perfect for a late night wine and dine, to “Nickajack” which I’m terming grunge-indie, the band have managed to fit so many genres and styles into just ten tracks and somehow made the whole thing work. This is definitely a case of the songs are excellent on their own but world-beating listened to together as a product, and right now, is the album of the year and will take some beating!
Q&A with Matt
Your debut album is finally released, how does it feel now it’s out there for people to hear?
It feels Great! We’ve been working so hard on getting it together for so long and we really wanted it to be right. You only get one chance at a bands debut.
Although each song has the raw vocal running through, there’s a good mix of more classic rock, indie and pop in there. Was that a deliberate choice?
There wasn’t a conversation about how to make the album sound. We played songs that were honest to us and involved all of our influences this shaped the album into what it is sonically. We do have a high level of quality control so we made sure it was all killer and no filler.
Was it a long time in the making?
Yes and no, We had to record the album in pieces due to studio avialibility and cost. So it was spaced over a few months. But when do get into the studio we are pretty good at getting it done quickly.
How do you as a band approach the writing and recording process?
Jimmy and Will normally come into the rehearsal with an idea for a song then we all add ideas and parts to it and turn it into a song that sounds like us. During recording we each have our own roles within the process which have developed from working together for so long.
You’ve been incredibly busy not just recording song but videos for each of them; why did you make the decision to make a video for every track?
We thought it would be cool idea to give each track its own focus and space. We said publicly we would do it before we started, then realised just how much work it was! But its totally been worth it, it really gives something else to the fans to enjoy.
You’ve just set out on a huge UK tour, is there anything you’re particularly looking forward to?
We’ve just been so excited to get out again. We’ve been really busy working on our live show, its better than its ever been! Its all about playing wicked gigs, meeting new people seeing different places.
What’s the plan for the rest of 2017 when the tour concludes?
After this leg wraps up we are playing some festivals and gigs in Europe then we go out for a second leg of the Paperheart tour, which is going to be announced soon!
What would be top of the band “bucket list”?
There are so many things that could fit… Pyramid stage at Glastonbury, Maddison Square Gardens, our music causing World Peace or being the first band to perform in Space.
If this Q&A was happening in a years time what would you like to have achieved in that year?
More solid touring in places we haven’t conquered yet, like mainland Europe and America.
That and being well on the way with the Second album !!
If you had the power to change one thing about the music industry, what would it be and why?
Talentless people making huge amounts of money off small bands, choking them out and causing them to break up before they reach their potential.