Hunter & The Bear

Hunter & The Bear is a newcomer from the UK that has just released their debut album. It is true that the band is very promising and their debut album will bring joy to the fans of modern rock who fancy catchy hooks and a big sound. Grande Rock had a chat with the band’s vocalist & rhythm guitarist Will so as to find out a lot more about this budding newcomer…
Hunter & The Bear band pic

Hey Will – welcome to Grande Rock. It’s good to have you here. Firstly do tell us when and under which circumstances was the band formed?
W: Hello, hello Grande Rock! Good to be here. The band started in 2012 with Jimmy (lead guitar) and I taking our uni-pub-cover outfit to the next step. We started writing songs and playing gigs with our original material. We always wanted a big sound and moved to London from Scotland with the aim of world domination. We met Chris (bass) and Gareth (drums) playing in bands in the city and we all got together for a jam. You hear it said all the time but we truly just clicked. It was like we’d always played together. So then there were four and the rest, as they say, is history.
And how did you come up with the name Hunter & The Bear initially?
W: The name came from the start when there was just the two of us. Jimmy’s second name is Hunter and I used to get called bear when I was younger. It made sense and it was the only one we came up with that we didn’t hate so it stuck.
Which was the music style that you wanted to follow with the band? Did you have in mind to blend various music styles that you all fancy?
W: Not necessarily. The aim was always to write music we wanted to listen to and play live. I guess subconsciously we always wanted a big rock sound. Jimmy and I were both drummers growing up and we were raised on classic rock so “Big” was always a buzz word. Where we’re at now is truly just formed from playing so much together. We all have very different tastes and we like to think we draw a little on each influence to add up to something that’s more than the sum of its parts.
Many newcomers prefer to release their debut right away. You, on the other hand, decided to work on your sound and the tracks in general. Why’s that?
W: You only get one shot at a debut album. We love albums and the idea of one being a true body of work, a true representation of where the artist is at that point in their career. We decided to take our time and get it right. We think we made the right decision.
Hence, you chose to release singles and videos and give live shows in the UK in order for the fans to get to know you. Was this approach proven right for the band’s own benefit?
W: I’d love to say it was a master plan that was perfectly executed. We had a vision of ten tracks, ten videos, ten months and we pulled it off! The constant gigging was for the joy of playing and the need for cash along the way to keep the funds for the album trickling in. It all came together pretty well. Who knows how! It also let us sneak into studios for a day here, a few days there which kept costs down and allowed us to remain on the road which is where I think good bands should be. We managed the entire thing ourselves and I don’t think we can quite believe we pulled it off!
So, the time to release your debut has come. Was it easy to pick which tracks would make it on the album at long last?
W: Short answer is no. There were some fights. Black eyes, bloody noses – soon resolved over a few beers and a good show. We got there in the end and we’re all super proud of our record.
And you also decided to release your debut independently. Why’s that? Did you talk with music labels but you didn’t find what you were looking for?
W: That’s pretty much exactly it. We seriously considered some options that were on the table for us but we just didn’t feel we were being treated fairly. We got bored of banging our heads off walls and decided we could do it on our own. We’re all control freaks and we like being in charge. Also Jimmy doesn’t take kindly to being told what to do... such a diva.
What does the album title “Paper Heart” declare?
W: It’s an album about people. About ourselves. About everyone really. Fragility and overcoming obstacles in order to get what you want from life, whatever that may be. How frail a dream can feel at times but you have to follow it however dimly lit flickers. “Paper Heart” seemed like a good metaphor. That was actually a decision we all agreed with straight away.
Do give us a hint about each track…
W: “You Can Talk”: Liars…
“Hologram”: Desire…
“Paper Heart”: Fragility…
“Who’s Gonna Hear You”: Aggression…
“I Am What I Am”: Loss…
“D.R.K.”: Power…
“Renegade”: Escape…
“Won’t You Ever Come Home”: Mourning…
“IX”: Dreams…
“Nickajack”: Resolve…
Where did the recordings take place and who mixed, produced & mastered the album? Are you totally satisfied with the final outcome?
W: Couldn’t be happier. Very proud of everyone’s job. We made it how we wanted to make it, our way and we’re really chuffed at that. It was recorded between Glasgow and London. Studios were Gorbals Sound, Kore and The Pool. The tracks were produced and mixed by our best friends and silent, life-long team members Joe Kearns and Jason Elliot. They are fantastic. Best in the game! Mastering was all done by our good pal Kevin Tuffy, who did an exceptional job.
By the way, why didn’t “Oh Daisy” make it on the album?
W: “Oh Daisy” was one of the reasons for the fights. Short answer is we couldn’t find a perfect place for it.
As far as I know, you’ve given some live shows in the UK in May and June right? Are there any plans of giving any live shows in Europe afterwards?
W: We’ve just got back from a sold out Scotland tour and the English leg starts this month. We’re playing a festival in Germany called Black Sheep at the end of June, which we,re looking forward to. We would love to get over to Europe more and hit the road properly out there.
Which are your expectations from “Paper Heart” and what do you wish to achieve with Hunter & The Bear over the next years?
W: Like I said, we’re really proud of the record and we think it can do big things in time. The response so far has been overwhelming so long may that continue. The overall goal is world domination. We want to be the best rock band on the planet. Shoot for the stars right?
Hunter & The Bear band pic
It’s time for our “weird questions”!!! How would you describe your band’s music style to someone that hasn’t heard of you before?
W: A thunderous roar of modern rock.
If you could “erase” one thing from modern music, what would it be?
W: I would erase the old school labels, who seem intent on using their dying breaths to exploit young, talented artists.
What do you think of the “free downloading & the free streaming issue” of our time? Will that help music generally or not?
W: I think it’s a part of the world we live in. To have been a rock star in the glory days of platinum records, rolls royces and champagne would have been a hoot had we managed to survive it. Which we wouldn’t have. But music is an expression and an art form and to be honest we’re happy if people are listening, however that may be. All I would say is: it’s never been more important to get out and see your favourite bands live.
Which is that band that you’d like to be part of (any time & era)?
W: I must admit I’d like a shot at being in Led Zep back in the day. Those guys had it sussed. Good excuse to grow my hair too...
Which are the best 3 rock albums according to you?
W: What a question! Pink Floyd – “Dark Side of the Moon”, Dire Straits – “Brothers in Arms” & Biffy Clyro – “Puzzle”.
Fill in the phrase… “Rock music wouldn’t have evolved the way it did, if it hadn’t been for…”
W: The Blues and Chuck Berry…
Top 3 sci-fi movies of any era?
W: I don’t get on very well with sci-fi movies. I’d say that’s a question for the honourable Christopher Clark, master of the bass guitar.
Which is the record you wish you had written and why?
W: “Brothers in Arms” by Dire Straits. Never gets old and Mark Knopfler is a god among mortals at crafting songs.
Were you obliged to give just one album to extraterrestrials that would represent the whole human music, which album would it be and from which band/artist?
W: Another cracking question! That is tough. I guess if they came in peace then something like MJ’s “Thriller”. If not then Pantera’s “Vulgar Display of Power” would probably scare them off.
If you had the chance to travel in time… where would you choose to go? To the past or the future and why?
W: I’d probably go back and see some medieval music. Arm wrestle Shakespeare. Spot of jousting etc.
Which do you consider to be the best female & male vocalist in metal history?
W: Devin Townsend and Angela Gossow. Terrifying skills
Who is the sexiest female Rock Star of all time?
W: Hard to say. We saw Grace Potter play recently. She has off the scale swagger.
Which of the Seven Deadly Sins do you reckon is the one, that’s more likely to send you straight to Hell, in the afterlife?
W: Gluttony knowing my luck.
Which character from the “Game of Thrones” would you have been – if you lived in the Seven Kingdoms?
W: This may be controversial but I have never seen one second of it! Sorry not sorry.
Imagine that your girlfriend is selling your whole album-collection just to buy an expensive ring for herself. How would you react?
W: I don’t have a girlfriend but I imagine she would be asked to leave while minding the door didn’t hit her on her perfectly formed bum on the way out.
We’re done Will! Thank you very much for taking the time to do this interview. Say anything you feel like saying before we close. Take care dude!
W: Big love to Grande Rock for having me. Come see us play ASAP! You won’t regret it.

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