While Hunters’ smash self-titled album has been on record store shelves now for almost a year, the shine hasn’t faded from the album for the band yet. In fact, it still feels incredibly new for singer Izzy Almeida and singer/guitarist Derek Watson – and part of the reason why lies in the fact that the band has been off the road since the end of 2013 for medical reasons. “We toured a lot last year, but this year has been a little weird so far because we started a tour with Bleeding Rainbow and then I got a concussion so we had to cancel the tour,” says Almeida as she explains the sudden but lengthy pause the band had to take early in 2014.
“I fell off a monitor at one of our shows. I fell backwards off the monitor and hit my head on Derek’s amp. At the time, I didn’t notice anything so we just kept playing the show. At the end of the night I felt really weird, but I just chalked it up to being a little drunk and we went back to the hotel after the show and crashed. Then the next day I was feeling really, really nauseated and weird and I got a little worried. We had another show that night and I played it with a concussion, and later the doctors I saw told me that made it worse because I should have rested.
“The concussion turned out to be kind of serious so we ended up having to take, like, eight weeks off of everything,” Almeida continues, with more than a hint of apologetic regret colouring her voice – but she quickly brightens when she begins looking forward to the band’s future. “I couldn’t listen to music or sing or read books and magazines or write or watch TV or go on my phone or go on the internet which was kind of crazy. I’ve felt like I’ve really been out of the loop with the slow recovery, but I’m better now and we’re writing new songs, which feels great! We’re finally hitting the road for the first time this year and I can’t wait to get out playing again.”
The excitement in Almeida’s voice is totally understandable. Because Hunters had to come off the road so soon after the release of their debut full-length album, the record had to build its own steam online, on airwaves and in the marketplace solely on the strength of the music and without a whole lot of support from touring. While such isolation would be considered troublesome for most young bands, in Hunters’ case the music was good enough that it spurred the imaginations of those who heard it and, as Almeida recuperated, new fans’ interest quickly built into hunger and demand for the band. Now, as they begin picking up where they left off, they’re doing it with a few solid plans for touring and releases in mind.
“While we had to be off the road, Izzy and I were writing a lot,” says Watson, voice brimming with ambition. “I feel like we’re always trying to write something new, or something that makes us excited about writing music and, for this batch of songs, Izzy’s been playing guitar which has really opened up some new opportunities to try different things sonically.”
“I was playing guitar back in 2011 when we recorded our first EP, but I stopped when we were recording the full length album because I wanted to focus on performing more,” offers Almeida.
“Right – when we were touring the full-length album before, we had one guitar, bass, drums and vocals. When you’re locked into that, it limits you a bit in what you can do and what you can try. Sometimes that can be really awesome and handy, but other times I can hear something else that COULD be happening with the music in my head, but we can do it because we don’t have enough instruments. With Izzy playing guitar again though, that really opens up the possibilities for what we could do in the songs – so I think that’s pretty exciting. We’ve already got some of the new songs in the sets now.”
“We’re probably going to put out a new full-length record next year, but we’d like to put something out in between so we’re just going to record a bunch of songs and put out a couple of them,” echoes Almeida – picking up on Watson’s line of thought. “The plan is to record in July or August, and just get it done quickly and cheaply. We don’t know if it’s going to be an EP, we’re just going to go in and record a bunch of stuff – probably with this guy we know, Kyle, here in Philadelphia – and see how we feel about it. Then maybe release a couple of things or a 7”, but we’re not sure yet. The ‘what’ in what we’re going to release – single, 7” or whatever – is still up in the air; we really just decided to do all of this yesterday [laughing]. We’ll definitely have some new stuff coming out this summer, we’re just not sure what shape its going to take or how large the release is going to be quite yet.”
Photo by Tod Seelie
www.huntershunters.com / www.huntersny.bandcamp.com / www.momandpopmusic.com/artists/hunters / www.facebook.com/huntersny www.huntershunters.tumblr.com / www.instagram.com/huntershunters / www.twitter.com/huntershunters