With their third album in the works, The Hunna are turning up the heat. Earlier this summer they released a new single “I Get High to Forget” alongside a music video directed by Haris Nukem. They are currently wrapping up a North American tour supporting Barns Courtney. I caught up on the phone with drummer Jack Metcalfe before their show in Vancouver, Canada. We talk about working on the new record, exploring new sounds and making their own clothing line.
First off, how was Reading & Leeds Festival?
Jack: Reading & Leeds was insane. We were on the main stage. The fans were awesome. We had the best time of our lives. Career-wise, it was the highlight of the summer for us. We hope to go back and work our way further up the bill on the main stage.
You’re out with Barns Courtney right now in the states. You’ve toured with him before in the U.K. How’s that going?
Jack: He supported us out on our last headline run in the U.K. which was a really sick tour. He’s a gent and we love him. He’s so good at what he does. It’s nice to be on the run with him and now we’re returning the favor and supporting him on this tour. It’s been awesome. We’ve had loads of great shows. We’re now actually up in Canada in Vancouver and then we end in Denver.
This isn’t your first rodeo as a touring band, what’s something you’ve learned along the way?
Jack: On the road, you get into a routine and it’s how well you’re willing to look after yourself on tour with all the traveling and late nights and partying as well. (Ha). In general we’re always excited to be out in the states. We have such great reception and amazing feedback after we play. Ultimately that’s why we’re here – to make people happy and show the English side of heavy alternative rock with The Hunna twist. I guess we’ve learned how to pick and choose when to party. I think in the early days we’d go pretty hard most nights and then we’d really suffer when it came to soundcheck. You start to learn when to hold back, and also to eat healthier. At the last year we’ve gotten a lot better at being healthier. Taking care of yourself is key really.
You all are working on album three. Thinking about the new era, is there a different mindset? Is there a new energy you’re bringing to the songs?
Jack: All around, the answer would be yes. It’s a new start for us – new management, new label. There’s more chance for us to be even more creative than we have in the past. We’ve always been able to do our thing, but we’ve learned a lot with the last two albums and we want to explore more and experiment more. It’s going to be a bit darker, a bit heavier, and sonically there will be some elements like hip hop and electronic stuff. We’ve always been open to the idea of working with a couple of artists as features as well. We’re just excited to move forward and we really want to nail what we’re trying to do this time around. Although we love the last two records, we’re excited to move into a heavier, darker stage, especially with what we’ve been through with the struggle of everything in the past with the old record label and us soldiering on. We’ve got a lot to talk about and a lot to give.
Let’s talk about the “I Get High to Forget” music video you did with Haris Nukem. Can you tell me about that collaboration?
Jack: We’ve worked with Hairs for a long time – I went to school with him. He’s just progressed unbelievable amounts in the past couple of years to art galleries and doing music videos. He’s really pushing the boundaries. For us, it’s a pleasure to be working with him because he gets us and we get him. His vision is incredible. Half of the time we’ll be like “wow” and the concepts that we come up with, we’re so down for. And we meet in the middle a lot as well, which is really nice and organic.
Speaking of visuals, do y’all find inspiration in other forms of art?
Jack: Yeah, we’re into all sorts of things – movies, some of us are into gaming, we’re all into fashion. Back in the day we did a couple songs that were very movie-esque as well. We haven’t released it, but we wrote a song about the film Lawless with Tom Hardy. In the future we’d love to do a movie soundtrack down the line. We’re kind in that sort of space of like dream big and the more influence, the better for us as a band.
You guys are in a unique space where fashion is such an intricate part of music and who you are as a band. That’s also really cool that you have the opportunity to express that with your music videos as well.
Jack: Yeah, we just started our own clothing brand as well, which we had some of the extras wearing that in the music video.
Yes! Are you allowed to talk about this? Is this Hard as Hell?
Jack: This is Hard as Hell, yes.
Can you give us some insight?
Jack: Yeah, we’re basically on the verge of releasing our first campaign with some pieces we’ve designed. We just got the socials up a few weeks ago. We did a shoot for Hard as Hell, which will be coming out really soon as well. We’re really excited about it. It’s something different that we’ve never had the chance to do, but now it’s really nice to have a fashion brand that’s separate away from the band where we can take our creativity on a fashion level. I can’t really say too much else, but it’s around the corner. There’s some flashes in the I Get High video.
Is this something you’ve wanted to do for awhile?
Jack: We’ve customized clothes for a long time ourselves. We’ve had a couple people nearby to come up with random ideas, whether you know its a band t shirt or a hoodie that’s actually quite serious. We’d just play around with ideas and go and get them printed. It’s definitely something we enjoyed doing before we actually had the opportunity to work on our own official brand. IT’s definitely nice that it’s come along and the opportunity was there so we were like “Hell yeah. Let’s do this.”
Going back to the music, do you think it’s important to break the rules or bend genres when you’re making music?
Jack: 100% yes. I think I speak on behalf of all the boys. I mean, why not? I think if you stay in your lane and stay in a box, to each their own. Some people love that. I have nothing against people who stay in the same thing that they’ve always done, but for us it’s always about breaking the rules, moving forward and experimenting. Why wouldn’t you not try new things? I think if you limit yourself – what you put in is what you get out.
Where do you see The Hunna fitting into the current music climate? We see hip hop and electronic as a big thing right now and you’ve mentioned you’re pulling these elements in.
Jack: We have our favorite sort of artists right now that bend the genres – and one that we saw side stage at Reading & Leeds – Post Malone. I think he’s on the other side. He came up as hip hop but he’s moved into the rock element as well and he owns it. I think he’s one of the top guys that shows that good music is good music it you’re willing to try different stuff out then it can all merge into one sound. Swae Lee would be another good example and someone that we admire. And then on the other side, Bring me the Horizon and Twenty one Pilots. If we look back, bands like My Chemical Romance and Limp Bizkit were bending the genres and trying out so many different styles and revolutionizing their generations. So that’s kind of what we want to do in our own way.
With the upcoming album, do you see yourselves going all out with this?
Jack: Definitely. We’re going to go harder. We’re playing one of the songs that we’ve already worked with John Feldmann on at the end of the set on tour. We played it all summer as well. We haven’t even recorded it yet, but that’s a good example of us taking it to the next level, like punky, fast, energetic. And we have a few hip hop and electronic underlayers. So yeah we’re bringing the heat. We’re not messing around. It’s a serious time for us. We’re going to pull the boots up and get strapped in. We feel like we’re ready to show the world what happens next.