Sometimes a band comes along that is just too delightful to pass up. The Hunts just happen to be one of those bands. Made up of all siblings, The Hunts are cohesively perfect and make the kind of music that everyone can enjoy. We here at Lemonade certainly enjoy them and I just happened to have the pleasure of speaking with the lovely Jenni Hunt earlier this year. So without further adieu, I introduce to you one of my new favorite bands…The Hunts.
B: Alright, perfect. So, tell us a little first about – you guys grew up in Chesapeake, Virginia. What was it like growing up in that sort of area, music-wise, inspiration around there in the music scene?
J: It’s kind of out in the country here, that’’s like a lot of land for our area. And we had just a three-bedroom house, and my parents were musical so music was something we always had in our home. My mom was a classical violinist so she taught hundreds of students in the community and so we grew up playing classical violin in her classes. She kind of built a name for herself in the community so we would play at every farmer’s market or at the libraries or any community festival or event. We were the ones to call to come and play all the violins. My dad was an electric guitarist, he was kind of self-taught and he was into rock ‘n’ roll and so we had these two worlds of music influencing us as we grew up and as I hit the teen years and thought “Oh man, dad’s cool.” We wanted to play guitar like him and play his kind of music and so that’’s when everyone started to branch into drums and keys and guitars and bass and we really developed more of a band that way. Our community just kind of saw us, evolved and saw us always growing and adding another instrument. There is one kind of musical spot here in Virginia in Ghent in Norfolk, Virginia. There’’s the historic NorVa Theatre, I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of it. It’s just a big music scene down there, so that was cool. We grew up just knowing lots of musicians and other singer/songwriters having, you know, collaboration nights and songwriting nights. So we grew up surrounded by a really strong musical community.
B: That’s awesome. It’s one of those things too I would imagine that growing up on, I actually grew up on acreage as well and I could imagine growing up in that sort of way, you don’t have to worry about being too loud either or the neighbors getting grouchy and that kind of thing, so that must have been nice?
J: Totally. We had a tiny little house, but my mom would send us out on the land to go practice our instruments and we ended up – over the years – building a little studio out there and so we would practice and it was kind of cool. We weren’t bothering anybody and we weren’t aggravating the neighbors with our loud music jams. Hopefully, at least they haven’t told us that we have all these years.
B: Now, there are seven of you, so I’m sure you get this question a lot, but you are siblings after all. You know, siblings, we love each other, but how do you guys manage to not only decide on music, but also tour together and not get on each other’s nerves at some point, or how do you deal with that part?
J: Yeah, we do get that question a lot, but I mean it’s fair. I’m sure everyone’’s curious. We do pretty well together actually. We’’re each other’s best friends just from all the years of building something together. We worked hard together so we feel like we receive the rewards together too. We’ve been on tour now for a month and we’ve done great. I think towards the end of the month, like in such close quarters in the RV sometimes we’re like, “O.K. I think it’s time to get a little space from you guys.” But for the most part we do well. We all look to my brother Josh, everybody has a vote and everybody has their say and we make a point to just kind of exhaust all options when it comes to songwriting or decisions in the music. We try everyone’s ideas, but it doesn’t seem like one person is calling all the shots, but in a way we do kind of look to Josh to make a final decision. It’’s good to have…you know, a leader. He’s very fair too, and we really trust his musical faith and we trust his discernment. So that’s always good to have at least one person to be the leader and make the decisions. And it’s also good that there’s seven of us, so there’s an odd number so there’s never going to be any ties.
B: Also to go in further into that dynamic, your sister, Jessi, you guys are twins.
B: Is there any sort of twin magic on stage, you know, that sort of thinking the same thoughts, that kind of thing?
J: I think so. I love harmonizing with my twin sister, like, there’s something magical about I guess having the same DNA. Well I guess there’s all of us, the siblings, like, voices just kind of blending really well. Siblings tend to blend differently than others. But the one thing about being a twin that’s probably a downer on stage is we’ll go to the mic at the same time and maybe address the crowd and say the exact same thing at the exact same time and that can be an awkward twin moment, but I don’t know. We love being twins and being able to harmonize. Jessi’s the harmony girl and she’s just amazing at harmonies and so itss awesome to have her voice that blends in so nicely.
B: Well that’s cool. It definitely comes across. And obviously it comes across really well in your lead single “Make this Leap,” which I’m a huge fan of. We’re all big fans of you. We actually put the video up on our Facebook page…
J: Oh man, thanks!
B: We’ve been listening to it for a while, actually, so I’m glad that we were able to get in touch. Now I know you guys had an album that you released in 2012, and then you have this EP that just came out, Life Was Simple. What was the biggest change for you guys going from the first album to Life Was Simple in the sense of recording?
J: Yeah, our first album was all of our first original songs and we released it our own, so it was kind of like every last living song that we had we put on the album as a band. I think the growth from 2012 to 2013 was just us as people maturing and growing and learning and I think we even started to sharpen our sound a little bit more to zone it in a little more, just making decisions like, “What do we want to sound like as a band? What is our goal here?” So I think we eliminated some instruments and we wanted to focus more on the indie-folk sound, because really growing up as a musical group we could play any genre anyone ever asked us to play. With that wide variety we really had to work hard at nailing down a specific sound for the band, for the Hunts. So I think that big growth there was just continuing to work on our sounds and even more mature lyrics and songwriting. Of course, Life Was Simple was released with Cherrytree Records, so it was just amazing to have them behind us and to feel like we really are moving forward as a band.
B: What are the plans for touring here on the West Coast soon?
J: Yeah, we’d love to come out to the west coast. We’ve been before and just absolutely fell in love with it. This tour we’re on right now is kind of a southern tour. We’ve been in Texas this past month and Louisiana, Alabama, Georgia, and then now this next week we’re heading up to Wisconsin, Chicago, Minnesota, Missouri. I think when we release the new album hopefully in spring 2015 we’d love to just take it to the entire country to just tour for that album. We’d love to get out to the west coast again.
B: Is there anything you can tell us about the upcoming full album? Anything that we might not know?
J: Yeah, we’re really stoked. We have a stack of new songs that once we finish this tour we’re really excited to get back to the studio and finish writing and start recording. I’m just really excited about these new songs. I think they’re our most mature songs yet, and I can’t wait to get them on the new record.