This month saw up-and-coming rock sensations Hunter and the Bear completing their UK tour, taking their sold-out show from the impressive Scala in London to our very own Bodega. I caught up with them in the Bodega’s modest dressing room (picture a walk-in wardrobe with big band names nonchalantly scribbled on the wall and a toilet at one end) before the show.
Frontman Will updated me on their current status:
‘So this is the last day of the English leg of our tour which has been going super well. It’s bigger venues then we’ve ever played before. Like just a few nights ago we were at Scala in London which to us is just fucking mental… It’s absolute madness. It’s crazy to see these big shows getting sold out and they’re absolutely rammed so we’re just buzzing. But yeah we’re just travelling round to all these shows. We’re so lucky, it’s what everyone dreams about!’
When asked about what was next for them Will laughed ‘Have a little sleep! We know it’s time for us to get releasing something new so we need to put a plan together for that and basically work out how to do an album. We need to get it right as well. Obviously we’re proud of what we’ve released but definitely think that we’re right at beginning of where we wanna be. We want to release some stuff that really, really blows people’s minds.’
It is evident that the band were loving every minute of their ever-growing success. Having toured with Eric Clapton and now being regular names on the festival scene, they have the air of a band that’s just about to blow up. Big time. When I mentioned this, bassist Chris commented:
‘We’ve certainly been chipping away for a few years now. It does feel like it’s all suddenly coming together- I’ve got friends from years ago suddenly asking for tickets to our shows. These are people who would have said they were washing their hair or something not so long ago if we invited them along!’
At this point drummer Gareth walked into the already cozy dressing room, ‘oh cool, an interview’.
We moved onto the topic of the meaning behind the songs and which was the closest to their hearts. ‘To be honest they all mean something to us’ Will commented. ‘Obviously the standard answer would be something like “Paper Heart” or “Hologram” as they’re so deep, but then we’ve got other songs which are pretty aggy and they mean just as much, just in a different way. We write about absolutely anything. At the moment I’d have to say our single “Chemical” because it’s the most recent. I don’t want to spill too much though, so the magic isn’t lost. I think people can have their own take on each of our songs and I don’t want to spoil that by saying ‘it means this’.’
Time for some quick-fire questions.
If you could have written any song already released, which one would it be?
Gareth: I’d say “Free Bird” (he then proceeded to sing the guitar part, note-perfect, much to our amusement).
C: I’m going to go for something that I just like at the moment, so Stephen Wilson’s “Refuge”
W: I’d say for me it’d have to be.. “Tiny Dancer” (Elton John). When I’m feeling a bit down I go to that.
Who is the most likely to survive a zombie apocalypse?
W: Probably Clarky, I’d say.
C: I do like a zombie movie and my family are quite countryside-y
W: His brother has got like over 50 guns. He’s fucking ready.
C: He’s so ready. He doesn’t kill animals don’t worry! He has proper off-roading bikes and everything. He’s like a redneck!
W: He’s almost waiting for it. It’s as if he wants it!
Who’s the most likely to cry at a sad movie?
W: I’d say Jimmy, which you perhaps wouldn’t expect.
C: He’s quite a little sensitive sausage.
W: When we have our band movie nights, we’ll get to a sad bit and you’ll just see his little lip wobble.
Who in the band are the hunters and who are the bears?
W: That depends in what sense.. Gareth is definitely a hunter of fridges that have cold drinks in them. Thing is we didn’t realise there was this huge connotation about bears, which is absolutely fine! But none of us are bears in that sense (laughing).
Jimmy comes in at this point, no longer sporting his iconic beard. ‘It’s great I like it, it’s a relief… I mean it’s colder than it was!’
Who’s the most likely to become Prime Minister?
Jimmy: Prime Minister? Definitely Will! I mean look at him! He’s got the jaw! To be honest I think it says more about the rest of us than it does him! He’d actually be alright.
W: I can get my Hugh Grant on, get sliding around!
G: I can see that, actually. You’d be good at that.
C: A golden oldie, for a golden oldie.
Who’s the most ‘high maintenance’?
W: I think we all have our moments, it’s fair to say. Clarky is definitely the least high maintenance- he’s in control.
C: I agree with that, I am pretty horizontal.
I’d say it’s probably a straight shot between me and Jimmy. But yeah it depends what we’re doing. If we’re doing something annoying or stressful it’s definitely Jimmy.
J: I’m not high maintenance I’m just vocal!
W: Yeah but he just struts around all pissed off.
W: I’m definitely the most diva-ish on the road.. It comes with the territory I guess, I AM the lead singer, I’ve got to be!
Hunter and the Bear’s new single “Chemical” can be found on Spotify.