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Hunter and the Bear: “We were all totally shocked by the chance to play at Hard Rock Calling”

It seems that folk music is becoming increasingly popular these days. With new folk bands, like Hunter and the Bear hitting the scene it makes total sense.

With a unique sound, the band offer up-beat, feet-stomping, sing-a-long tracks, such as Forest on the Hill’, as well as much slower, and beautifully soothing songs, like ‘Catalina’. The trio made up of Jimmy, Will and Josh, formed as a band in 2012 and decided to move to London to kick start their music careers, as Hunter and the Bear.

This summer has been very busy for the three-part folk/rock’n’roll band, playing gigs across the UK with more dates to come in September. This autumn, Hunter and the Bear will release their debut single ‘Forest on the Hill’ in September, followed by the release of their debut EP ‘Dusty Road’ in October. Connor Mackay, managed to catch up with the band to talk about their recent supporting gig at Hard Rock Calling, and oddly enough facial hair.

So, where did it all begin?

It all began with us trying to write a song, sat in Will’s garage in the Scottish Highlands. We took a gamble and moved to London pretty soon after that, and have been playing as many shows as possible since the day we got down here.

Where did the name come from?

We went through tons of names and none of them stuck. We liked the idea of an animal. Will used to get called a bear at school, so that was a solid option. One day one of us just came out with it [hunter] and it clicked.

Jimmy and Will – you are both from Scotland, whereas Josh is from Huddersfield. How did that happen?

Josh and Will were on the same course at Northumbria University and became friends there. When we needed a bassist Will said something along the lines of “I’ve got just the guy...”

Where do you get your inspiration from? What/who are your influences?

I think it is very different for each of us in the band. We love a range of music and each have our favourites. I think that this blend of influences is key in our sound and the way we try to play shows. A few names off the top of my head; Zac Brown Band, The Band, Kings of Leon, Billy Joel. The list goes on…

You’ve been busy playing gigs across the country and there are still more to go. Do you have a favourite place to play?

We love to play our music to anyone and anywhere that will listen. We’ve been lucky enough to play some great London venues like Notting Hill Arts Club, Ronnie Scotts amongst others. It was great to be able to play at The Bull And Gate before it shut down. But all over the country we’ve had favourite shows. From a tiny pub in the north of Scotland, to a first game of the season at the Etihad (Manchester City FC’s home ground), we just love to play.

You have recently supported both Bruce Springsteen and Kasabian, that must have been incredible?

We were all totally shocked by the chance to play at Hard Rock Calling. The three of us are massive Bruce fans, and to be included on a bill with such a star was rather exciting. We held it together, played the show and got to watch the boss do his thing after. A great day!

Your debut single ‘Forest on the hill’ will be released on September 29th, are there plans for a debut album any time soon?

We’re always writing and testing new material. After the ‘Dusty Road‘ EP release at the and of October, we’ll be getting stuck into recording again for another EP in the new year. We can’t wait to get back in the studio.

Finally, I notice you all fashion some impeccable facial hair. Are beards a requirement for anybody who wants to join the band?

Not a requirement as such. A beard would certainly help your chances in an audition though.

‘Forest on the Hill’ is out September 29th. Hunter & the Beer’s debut EP ‘Dusty Road‘ will be released late October.||||

Written by Connor Mackay

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