EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW – HUNTER AND THE BEAR
Hunter and The Bear, dubbed ‘the saviours of British rock and roll’ are one of the most exciting new acts to come out of the UK for years, and we can tell you now – their debut album Paper Heart, is going to blow people away next month!
Ahead of the album release and UK headline tour, RUSHONROCK co-editor Adam Keys caught up with Hunter and The Bear front man Will Irvine to talk about their quest to become the best live act on the planet.
RUSHONROCK – Thanks for joining us at RUSHRONROCK lads. It’s an exciting time for you guys. Can you give our readers an update on what you’ve been up to?
Will Irvine – Thanks for having us. We’re one month away from releasing our debut album ‘Paper Heart’ which is equal parts awesome and terrifying. That’ll be followed by a big UK Tour to promote the record throughout May and June.
After that we hit the festival scene so it’s gonna be a seriously busy year! We’ve been away recording the album along with filming a music video for every track which has been a massive undertaking. We’re super proud of what we’ve made and keen to see what everyone thinks.
RUSHONROCK – We’ve fallen in love with our early copy of the album, and fans are gobbling up the tracks that have been released. Can you describe the overall sound of the album for our readers?
WI – Glad you like it! The fans have been so supportive of the releases so far and it’s an epic feeling to have them behind us. To put it simply, it’s a modern rock record. We wanted to make songs that make people feel. Be that through the lyrics or the sheer power of the sounds. People always try to label our sound with different adjectives but my personal favourite so far is ‘Thunderous’. We’ll take that every day of the week.
RUSHONROCK – There are so many influences that spring to mind from this album – Clapton, Springsteen, Kings of Leon and Gaslight Anthem spring to mind. What were the sparks that inspired Hunter and The Bear?
WI – It’s really hard to pin down a few names. We’ve been influenced by so much music and so many other things from conception. The names you’ve mentioned are definitely on the money. On top of that I’d say Biffy Clyro, Muse and Royal Blood to name a few. We try to write music that we’d like to listen to ourselves and then if others are into that’s a great bonus.
RUSHONROCK – Speaking of Clapton, how nerve-wracking was it to support a genuine rock and roll legend?
WI – It was equal parts amazing and terrifying. There’s nothing you can do to prepare yourself for walking out on an arena stage for the first time but we’re proud of how we handled it and feel like we did ourselves proud.
Having the backing of a rock legend like him is a huge confidence boost for us and the shows really brought us on as a band. Hopefully one day we play our own shows in some of those venues.
RUSHONROCK – You guys met and formed Hunter and The Bear whilst studying, which, let’s face it, is a time when you meet some of you closest friends, make some of your best memories and have pretty of mad nights. How has this helped the tight bond within the band?
WI – It may sound cheesy but we’re genuinely just four best mates travelling around playing shows. It’s the dream scenario. We meet lots of bands that are like minded musically but don’t necessarily have that added chemistry.
We argue about the set list every night but that’s about it.
RUSHONROCK – Like us, the national press has become hooked. How does it feel to receive such adulation so far before the album is out?
WI – We’ve been blown away by the press pick up so far. To have some of the big players rumbling at this point is a great feeling and we can only hope it continues. There seems to be a hunger out there building for what we’re doing which is amazing.
RUSHONROCK – Has this added to the pressure ahead of the release?
WI – I suppose it does! Thanks for pointing that out… There have been some huge quotes from people like The Huffington Post who said we were “The heroes British rock needs right now”. That’s a big statement but we’re ready to get out there and prove them right.
RUSHONROCK – You’re hitting the road for a full UK headline tour in June, playing some brilliantly intimate venues. Tell us a bit more about this…
WI – We can’t wait to get out there and play the album for everyone. We’re playing Scotland in May and England in June. The venues have been hand picked to make sure the sound is great and the vibe is right. It’s gonna kick off in a big way. We pride ourselves on being very much a live band.
We’ll be making sure we’re on fire when we hit those stages and we want to give the crowds a night they won’t forget in a hurry.
RUSHONROCK – You’ve previously said you want Hunter and The Bear to be the best live band on the planet, and Paper Heart is filled with euphoric, atmospheric sounds – was this record written with this stage conquering ambition in mind?
WI – I suppose everything we do is kind of aimed towards that ambition. We really do want to be the best live band around and the only way to achieve that is put every minute of every day into something that brings that goal a little bit closer. From the offset we knew that the album needed to sound massive. We like to make music that hits people square between the eyes and can’t be ignored. We’re still at an early stage in our development with a lot to learn but we’re ready to do that.
RUSHONROCK – And, finally – Hunter and The Bear have been dubbed the saviours of British rock. Are you ready for the challenge?
WI – Yes.
Northumbria University Journalism graduate, rock and roll enthusiast and co-editor of RUSHONROCK.com.