INTERVIEW: Johnny Hunter on new album ‘Want’ & artistic influences

Johnny Hunter

Johnny Hunter rose from the wreckage of political turmoil in Sydney, bringing with them musical glamour and bravado reminiscent of David Bowie and Morrissey and lyrical torment not quite heard the same way since the days of Joy Division and The Cure. Quickly earning themselves a cult status, the quartet went on to support The Saboteurs (featuring Jack White), among others, and the release of their EP' Early Trauma' in 2020 cemented their status as a band to watch.

Their debut album 'Want' was released in June, and, having just wrapped up an Australian tour, XS Noize caught up with front-man/lead singer Nick Hutt to find out more about the collection and what lies ahead for the band.

Who exactly are Johnny Hunter, as individuals and as a group? What would you each say you bring to the band?

There are four of us. Nick Cerone- bassist, logistical mastermind and enforcer. Writes eternally melancholic bass lines and lyrics and has a huge say in our song-writing. Xander Burgess- guitar; a man of many names. The secret behind all of our posters, albums, artwork and anything graphic. Gerry Thompson; drums; band workhorse, the only reason why any gear gets from A-B is because of Gezman. He writes all of our rhythms, and I'm Nick Hutt; the front person, who drives all of the creative vision, writes lyrics and occasionally sparks a bit of magic on an instrument.

Tell me a little about how you came together. What are your backgrounds?

We met at uni, and through mutual friends, all of us had a huge interest in Nick Cave, The Cure, U2 and Bowie, so we had no issue with relatability.

Your music is influenced by the likes of, as you mentioned, David Bowie and Kate Bush, among others. How exactly do those artists impact the songs you create? What about them means so much to you, as people and artists? 

Both Bowie and Bush were incredible story writers. The way they told anything was utterly unparalleled. Their points or story were always met with an element of drama and performance that they delivered, and that made anything that they intended to say an absolute masterpiece. That, to me, is true artistry.

You released your debut album 'Want' back in June. Is there any particular reason why you chose that word as the title? What, to you, does it stand for/represent?

'Want' represents our need as a band to understand ourselves from the quite normal shit we've experienced. What it means and how we can better ourselves.

Which song on the album would you say means the most to you, or are you most proud of and why?

"Life" is my favourite song. It's some of the best lyrics I've written. It's also kind of a big picture song, and I'm very proud of that.

What, ultimately, is the message of your album? What do you want anyone who hears it to think about and be reminded of? 

There's always light at the end of the tunnel.

Are any European/global tour dates or performances lined up supporting the album?

We've just finished an Australian national album tour for 'Want' which was fab, but no plans for Europe yet.

In this day and age, social media is seemingly a must for any band or artist. To what extent would you say it has helped you reach an audience, and do you have any thoughts on how big of a role it plays, not just in the music industry but in society?

I hate social media; I don't use it enough, but it's one big pocket billboard, and because everything we need is on there, it's obviously hard to escape: I'd be off if it wasn't for Johnny Hunter.

What are your plans for the coming months? Are there ideas and projects you can finally work on, or are you just excited to have this album out in the world and will see how people respond to it before planning your next move? 

A couple of us are going to soak up some European sun on holiday, and then we're going to record another album.

Listen to 'Want' - BELOW:

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