A New Generation of Rock: The Shelters and The Hunna Talk Touring, Rock Legends, and Origin Stories

INTERVIEW BY SARAH MIDKIFF
PHOTOGRAPHED BY SOPHIA RAGOMO 

 

“There are real guitars up here!” SiriusXM’s Alt-Nation host, Reagan, exclaims before introducing the first band of the night. In an industry currently dominated by synths and looped tracks, rock maintains its perdurable popularity. Making a tour stop at New York City’s Gramercy Theatre, we met up with swaggering blues-rock outfit, The Shelters, an energetic indie-rock foursome, and The Hunna, to talk genre labels, band origin stories, and touring.

 

 

The Hunna

 The Hunna

The Hunna

 

On the importance of a social media presence…

Daniel Dorney: I think it’s very important. We all really strongly believe in social media. It’s the best way to connect with people and get your music out there. It’s not how it used to be. You have Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat. We try to do as much as possible.

It’s much better exposure than live performances. For us, we’ve been really exposed with social media. It brings people to our shows. We aren’t really discovered from playing shows. In America, we’ve toured with The Struts and a lot people haven’t heard of us, so it’s kind of more old fashioned. They’re hearing us for the first time at the show.
 

On describing their music…

Daniel: Energetic, enthusiastic and real. Especially when performed live. The energy between the crowd and us is something special 1Hunna.

 

On song evolution from writing to finally recording…

Daniel: Our most recent single Piece By Piece evolved a hell load. When it was first written it sounded like the biggest pop jam ever! The original chorus was Taylor Swift meets Carly Rae ahaha. We love a bit of pop. Over time we changed it up and gave it that rock element.

 
 
 The Shelters

The Shelters

The Shelters

On how they came together…

Chase Simpson: Well Jacob was stripping at a strip club…
Jacob Pillot: If you’re looking for a bassist, check out strip clubs. If you’re looking for the truth…

Chase: Truth is, Chase, Sebastian, and I were all in a band before. That band fell apart and we decided to start a new band. We just wrote songs for a couple years. We didn’t really play shows, we just wrote songs. We didn’t have a band name or anything. When we decided to start playing shows…Jacob was a friend of Sebastian, they used to surf together.

Jacob: I still surf! Despite popular belief.

Sebastian Harris: That’s debatable.

Chase: So yeah, that’s how we became The Shelters.

Jacob: Insert heart emoji.
 

On listener’s attraction to nostalgia and classic rock…

Sebastian: I think that there is an element of that in our fan group, but as Chase often so eloquently says, we also have the opportunity to re-educate the younger generation about rock and roll music. I think that’s what we’re really striving for.

Chase: I think what people like about something nostalgic is that it’s familiar. There’s something there that they already recognize and already like about it, and then they can start to go from there and think, ‘Well this isn’t exactly like the Beatles, this isn’t exactly like The [Rolling] Stones, or whoever they are comparing it to.” We’re all like this, we have short attention spans, we want to either like something or hate it. If you give them that, it’s easier for them to dive in and see if there’s something they like about it.

 
 Jacob Pillot

Jacob Pillot

 Chase Simpson

Chase Simpson

 

On working with Tom Petty…

Chase: It was an incredible experience.

Sebastian: Even better than you would imagine.

Jacob: I mean, for a band to work with one of the greatest rock and roll songwriters…

Chase: It’s like rock and roll bootcamp.

Chase: Mixed with Yoda…

 
 Sebastian Harris

Sebastian Harris

 Josh Jove

Josh Jove

 

On learning from others…


Josh Jove: I think the biggest thing we learned in the recording process from Tom being the producer was just the importance of songs. There’s a lot of bands who can play well or have a good show, but if you don’t have good songs there as a fundamental, then it’s hard to be long lasting. He’s the master of songs that just last forever. If we can take a snippet out of that influence and take our own approach to writing songs…then we’ve done the right thing.


Chase: Touring is the other thing. That’s one side of what we do is being in the studio and recording, but the other half is here on tour and being on the road. One band we were on tour with said this…emotional intelligence is so important. You have to be able to find peace in all the craziness. When everything can be going wrong, something’s broken, you might be sick, you have to do your job, but finding a way to not take it out on anyone. Remembering that we’re all here having fun.

 
 

Keep up on Facebook with The Shelters and The Hunna.

 

Special thanks to The Impossible Project.