The Hunna – Interview – 2016

The Hunna exploded onto the scene in October last year and quickly became one of the hottest act on the planet. But it wasn’t a simple and easy journey for the four-piece – years of hard work and honing their craft was endured to get them to where they are now. Now the band are days away from their début album, 100, being released and the hype surrounding it in the UK and the States is absolutely electric. We grabbed a few words with lead singer Ryan Potter to find out more about what made The Hunna.

Where did you grow up?
We all grew up in Watford, in Hertfordshire. Back when we were 17/18 years old, there was a really good music scene. Lots of places to see music and there were a lot of bands that came from around that area – Lower Than Atlantis, Dom Broco, Friendly Fires, The Gallows. Now quite a lot of the venues are shut down which has really cut down on what’s going on.

What kind of music were you brought up on?
I was brought up on a lot of different things. The Beatles were a big band for me. Led Zepplin and Queen too. A lot of soul music as well – I love Ray Charles, Marvin Gaye and Aretha Franklin. I have got two sisters as well whose influences rubbed off on me. So there was quite a mix of music really.

Can you remember the first album you owned?
I think the first record I actually went to the shop and brought was a Busted album. Funnily enough I hadn’t listened to it in years but a friend and I were reminiscing the other day and started listening to it again, it’s still a great album and reminds me of a lot of great times.

Have you always sung?
I used to play football a lot. When I was about 15, I was always singing songs but never really thought too much about it. As the years went on I would be playing football but constantly singing in my head, so I thought maybe I should stop playing football and give it a go. When the end of school came and it was time to go to college or onto the next step, a mate was going to music college. I knew that I liked and enjoyed singing, so I went along with him and that’s when things really kicked off. I knew a few things on the guitar but Dan, who I met there, taught me a lot.

How did The Hunna form?
When Dan and I met at that college when we were 16, we started the band. It was just us two at the beginning, just trying to find numbers to join. We both have had part-time jobs and office jobs along the way, and put all the money we had into videos, recording, gigging and just trying to get ourselves out there. It was about four years ago that Jermain and Jack joined us and it’s been really fun ever since.

Is there a story behind the name?
We have a big hip-hop influence and in hip-hop a “hunna” means 100. It reflects giving 100% and being true to ourselves, which we like to think we do in our music. We want our fans to think that too – give 100% and not to give up on what they believe in no matter what people say. We have had setbacks along the way but have always stuck together in what we do.

How would you briefly describe your music?
We like to call it Turn-It-Up Rock. All the songs we have created are about experiences we have encountered in our personal lives and together as a band.

Tell us a bit about 100?
We are very excited to finally have it out there in the world, it’s a very big moment for us and we can’t wait to hear what people say about it. We have worked so hard on it for a long time, we are definitely happy with the vision we had of it and how it has come out now we listen back to it – we really wouldn’t change a thing about it. It’s called 100 because of the meaning of “hunna” and our fans are using it now as well, it kind of made sense to call our first album it.

Have you started thinking about album number two now you have released your debut?
Before we came to release our debut, we spent two-and-a-half to three years behind the scenes just writing lots of different material. We have something called “The Hunna Bank” where we’ve got lots of songs that no one has heard yet. We have done a bit of writing recently, but everything has been so crazy this year with the first album coming out. So for now we are just focusing on that, but towards the end of the year when we are back from touring we’ll start looking at things for the second album.

What has been a musical eye-opener?
There has been a few. It’s weird as we are still very new to this crazy kind of world, and we are taking it in and just trying to enjoy it. Being at festivals now on the other side with other artists, artists that you have been listening to are just walking around and you can go chat to them which is amazing. Recently we met Craig David at Radio 1’s Big Weekend, which was really cool. Also I knew being in a band would be hard work, but it’s a lot harder work than I thought. With touring, you see things on TV of bands, you assume that it is just fun and parties all the time but there is a lot more to it.

If you could give a musical award of the year, who would it be for and why?
I love Drake – his new album, Views, is the best album I have heard this year so far and for a long time really. I would give him an award for best album of 2016.

Who would be in your perfect supergroup?
I would have Caleb Followill, as I love Kings Of Leon. Jimi Hendrix, Beyoncé, then John Bonham (Led Zepplin) on drums. Perhaps a bit of Michael Jackson in there too.

What would be your perfect line-up for a concert you are putting on and where would it be?
It would have to be on the beach in California, definitely a festival vibe. Queen to headline with Freddy Mercury and some guest appearances also. Kings Of Leon and Ray Charles to start proceedings.

If you could work with any artist, who would it be and what would they bring to The Hunna?
Michael Jackson, because he is a big influence of ours and because his voice is incredible, his style is incredible and his dancing is incredible. He is the King of Pop and has it all.

What music are you listening to at the moment?
I’m listening to this artist called DVSN who is on Drake’s label (OVO Sound). I have been listening to their debut (Sept. 5th) for about a month now and I’m really into it – some really smooth R&B.

Do you get to go to many gigs?
Since being in the band it’s hard to find time to do it, but when we play festivals we sometimes get moments to see other artists. We were on the same stage as Circa Waves recently who played a really good set and were awesome – got to chat to them afterwards and they are all really nice guys.

What are your future plans till the end of the year and after?
We are really looking forward to Reading & Leeds Festival, that’s going to be huge! We’ll be there the day after our debut is released, which is also huge! We have a UK tour to follow the album. Then when that is over, we pretty much immediately go to tour America from the beginning of October to the beginning of December.