Hotly-tipped indie-rockers The Hunna are going to be absolutely huge. Like, seriously – they’ve already sold-out a bunch of UK dates, toured America, and booked a slot in BBC Radio 1’s Live Lounge, and they haven’t even released an album yet. We caught up with them at Barn on the Farm to chat about their debut album 100, Michael Jackson’s bassist, and meeting a co-founder of Def Jam Records:
How would you describe your music for people who don’t know you?
Dan (Dorney, lead guitar): ‘Turn-up rock. That’s what we like to call it, anyway. It’s rock that’s fun.
You’ve just come back from a massive American tour. How was it?
Ryan (Potter, vocals): ‘It was a crazy, crazy adventure. It’s just so big, and we’ve always wanted to go out and there be able to play our music. It really was a dream come true for us, so we just tried to enjoy it and smash it as much as we could.
‘We met so many people – including our American label – and went to the offices of Facebook, Apple, and Billboard, which was ridiculous.
Jermaine (Angin, bass): ‘The head of our label actually had us around his house. That guy basically is the music industry. He was one of the founders of Def Jam Records, and he signed The Beastie Boys and Run DMC… So yeah, going round his house was really cool for four boys from Watford. It was so surreal!
Your album is out in August, too…
All: ‘We’re just dying to get it out!
Dan: ‘I can’t wait for people to hear it. Sixteen tracks – an eleven-track album, plus a few bonus tracks. Jack’s dad is a mastering engineer, so he mastered the album for us, and we just got the finished album back the other day. We’re so excited.
Jermaine: ‘We’ve had the songs for years, so to finally have our first album done is just really amazing.
Since you’ve had the songs written for so long, did it make it easy to pick which tracks would be on the album?
Ryan: ‘Kind of. Me and Dan started the band when we were sixteen – we’re twenty-four now – and the other two guys joined the band three years ago, so it really has been years in the making. We’ve all been writing so much music together, so the songs on the album are just the ones we felt developed best over that time.
Dan: ‘Ryan and I do the majority of the writing, We’re also open to writing with other people – we worked with Tim Larcombe, who wrote with Lana del Rey, and we really enjoyed it. It’s a great way to pick up new techniques and ways of working, and we always have a lot of fun with it.
‘We’ve got two hundred songs written and squirreled away, so the album is the best of those.
Ryan: ‘Before we were released, we spent two years unreleased – no names, no gigs, nothing – and just hid ourselves away. We just bought a laptop, learned how to use Logic, and just spent our time writing songs.
‘For the album, we sat down with our producer and went through all the songs we had, and just tweaked little things like the BPM and the guitar tones. We wanted to make sure that it was perfect.
Can you pick a favourite song from the album?
Dan: ‘Damn. I can’t. They’re all my babies!
Jack: ‘I listened to the vinyl for the first time the other day, and Bonfire was the one that did it for me.
Ryan: ‘We like all of them in different ways, I guess. Bad For You is one of our favourites – we always enjoy playing it live, and we filmed some shots for the video for it while we were in America, so we do have a soft spot for that one.
Dan: ‘There’s a track called Alive, too. Nobody’s heard it yet, but it’s a good one.
You’re doing a bunch of HMV in-stores, too. You’re certainly keeping busy…
Ryan: ‘It’s been non-stop since the beginning of the year, really. We went straight from the UK tour to America, and then we came back, had a day off, and then went straight into the rehearsal room for the festival shows we’re doing this summer. From there, we’ve got the HMV shows, the Live Lounge at Maida Vale Studios with Huw Stephens… Yeah, we’re keeping busy.
‘I think we worked out that we’ve got thirteen days off for the rest of the year…’
Dan: ‘We’re so excited about all of them, though. Reading & Leeds, especially; I’ve always watched out for the festival, and I’ve always loved so many of the acts who played there, so to be going for the first time and being able to play the festival really is a dream come true.
Jack: ‘The Forum in London, too. We’re all excited for that one.
Out of every song ever recorded, which do you wish you’d written?
Jack: ‘I say that a lot about songs…’
Dan: ‘Argh, that’s hard! Something like Black Skinhead by Kanye West would be great.
Jermaine: ‘I’m just gonna say Imagine by John Lennon.
Ryan: ‘I guess you’ve got to think about playing it live, too. I think the whole of The Killers’ first album is up there for me. Either that, or Use Somebody by Kings of Leon. I saw Kings of Leon at V Festival a few years ago, and they blew my mind.
If you could be in any other band, which would it be and which instrument would you want to play?
Jack: ‘I would be in Slipknot, and I’d want to be one of the guitarists. They absolutely shred it.
Dan: ‘Being in AC/DC would be fun. Lead guitar… Hell, just being Angus Young…’
Ryan: ‘I think lead guitar in Free. I mean, I’d get to play All Night Long every night…’
Jermaine: ‘I’d like to be Michael Jackson’s bassist. You’d just be seriously swaggin’ everywhere.
What’s the strangest thing that’s ever happened to you?
Ryan: ‘Going to the head of our record label’s house in America was pretty strange. The whole of 300 Entertainment were there; it was his son’s birthday that day, and when we were there he was like ‘okay, I’m taking my son out for his birthday now, so make yourselves at home!’.
‘There were about 200 people there, and when he came back there was just us…
Dan: ‘They even got us our own Snapchat filter. It was so awesome. That entire night was weird, really…
Ryan: ‘We were so English. We just didn’t leave. We just drank everything. He came home after going out for dinner, and we didn’t even realise that everybody else had left.
Dan: ‘We got recognised in a shopping centre in the middle of Illinois, too. We weren’t even playing a show there, and we’d never been there before, so we found it really weird to get recognised there.
Describe each other in three words?
‘Ryan’s romantic, perfect, and funky. Jack = Permanent Beast Mode. Jermaine? Baby bass face. Easy. As for Dan… Well, Dan’s The BFG and Mr. Coffee.