Being in a band is one thing, but to craft a debut album that encapsulates not only who you are, but where you want to go is a different beast altogether. So many bands come and go, some without even reaching their debut albums, as the fifteen minutes of fame fizzles out into nothingness.

The Californian musicians that make up Hunter Hunted have aimed to be more than just another hype band and have succeeded with their gem of a record titled Ready For You.

Ken Grand-Pierre got to sit down with Daniel Chang of Hunter Hunted to find out what the journey was to making the album happen.

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The album is finally about to come out, how does it feel to know that?

It's pretty incredible. Being our first album ever, it feels like we finally accomplished a major milestone. This album definitely tells a journey we've been on for a while now. Like they say, you never forget your first!





How has being in a band differed from your expectations of being in a band?

The politics. We never expected to encounter the type of political dancing amongst all the different players in the industry as we have. I guess we are all just political animals and it's unavoidable anywhere you go. Sometimes I wish writing a song was simpler than what the industry has made it out to be. Also, I never thought I'd eat as much chips and salsa and hummus as we do at every venue we play.


Hunter Hunted is a band that sounds so damn refreshing to me, even after all this time. When it comes to songwriting do the lyrics come first for you or is it usually the melody?

I think for the majority of our songs, the melody comes first. I grew up listening to Disney and Broadway musicals, so accessible melodies have always been very integral to my songwriting. Although, sometimes a single lyrical line may pop up first, which then dictates where the song goes melodically. It's a constant dance between lyrics and melody that contains a bit of a technical component. What vowel is easiest to sing at this high note? Or if I really want to use this word, but it's an open vowel, then do I sing lower to accomplish that? It kind of takes away from the glamour of songwriting, but that's just how it works sometimes.

For Michael, while he also places a big emphasis on melodies, he's a great poet - so often he'll have a whole song written out and then put a melody to it. He even does writing exercises in the morning like the cute little nerd he is.





What's been one of the most surprising aspects of touring live over the last couple of years?

The human experience across the country has been the most surprising. I know they say everyone is unique in their own way, but there's a similarity amongst all of us spread throughout this country that is truly beautiful. By no means am I trying to downplay individuality, I just think we are more similar than different. And this goes beyond the fans we meet at shows, but also through our everyday interactions. It's hard to truly describe it, but there's a sense of familiarity I feel even when meeting new fans. The way they approach us, their eyes awake with enthusiasm, smiling, asking to take a picture, or just explaining what our music means to them. No matter where we go, the emotion is the same, and it binds us all together more than we know. It's kind of cheesy, but I don't really care. I love cheese.





What would you say was a difficult aspect of being in the studio and how did you overcome it?

The biggest lesson we've learned in the studio is to always keep an open mind. Sometimes you go in thinking you know exactly how something should sound... but with more cooks come more ingredients... and taste buds. All of a sudden, you start to wonder if you're even making a record for yourself or not. But this can also be a very narrow way of approaching things. If you step back and widen your perspective, things start to fall in place from a greater point of view.

So for us, when we started to feel the project slip from us, we'd adjust our perspective to allow for more creative thinking. And then by keeping an open mind, we would then refine and reshape the new ideas into something that ultimately became better than what we imagined in the first place.





What song came about in a 'eureka!' light bulb moment type of way?

Lyrically, 'Ready For You' happened really fast once Michael honed in on the thesis of the song. We had started the song musically and got really excited with the potential for where it could and would go. But we were a little stuck on what the song should be about. Michael then suggested the idea of someone declaring their readiness to dive into life with their partner, inspired by his older brother. The minute he said that I immediately started to write from the perspective of what I'd say to my future wife and the words I imagined my vows having. Words have never flowed my freely for me. It was almost too easy.





Are there any songs that changed drastically from playing them live over the last couple of years?

'Ghost' is a song that ended up very differently than how it started. We used to play a different version last year that included a completely different verse, musically and lyrically. Through the natural process of evolution, the end result that you hear on the album persevered. There are, in fact, four or five different versions of 'Ghost'. We'll probably put out an EP one day of all the different versions. Just kidding. Or maybe not? We'll see.





Something I've noticed about the band is that you guys seem to be very ambitious but there also seems to be an aspect of being content. It's not in how you guys go about things but it's in how you always come across as calm and collected off stage. Do you feel there's some truth to that and if so what do you think that's attributed to?

By nature, Michael and I are very laid-back, go with the flow type of people. So that might attribute to the "calm and collected off stage" description. Although, it would be a little disingenuous to say that we're like this all the time. If Michael doesn't eat, he gets super grumpy.





Has there ever been an interaction you had with another musician that made you think 'wow this is why we do it!' and by 'it' I mean that feeling of gratification towards being a musician.

One time, in another band, while we were on tour with Guster and Jacks Mannequin, we were invited on stage to sing with Guster for their song 'Careful', a song that Michael and I had arranged as an a cappella song while we were in college. Guster has always been one of those bands that shaped our songwriting early on because like them, we were writing for two voices. Michael was always the low guy while I sang all the high harmonies. So while on stage in front of thousands of people, I looked over to hear Michael singing the low part while Guster's lead singer Ryan sang the high part and I felt my heart explode. It was amazing.


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