Brooklyn's dual-singer-wielding noise-poppers Hunters rolled into town Wednesday on the back of a strong tour, playing a last-minute homecoming support slot for Jeff! The Brotherhood. The quartet of Isabel Almeida on vocals, Derek Watson on guitar and vox, John Mikulak on bass, and Greg Giuffre on drums has really solidified since they took off on the road.
James Iha, known for his role as guitarist of The Smashing Pumpkins, produced the band's single Brat Mouth. Somehow it also fell into the hands of habitual dilettante Nick Zinner from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs--he mixed the record. They have an EP, Hands on Fire, out now. Hunters played Death By Audio Wednesday, Feb. 8. Iha caught up with me through email.
This turned out to be kind of a dream team, particularly on the success of the Brat Mouth single. How did you all get involved?
I was at a depressing New Year's Eve party a couple of years ago and Hunters started playing w/a deafening noise, bringing everyone who was there into a semi-circle. At some point people were dancing with the band but half of the band were writhing on the floor. The show definitely brightened up the party! As I was watching I thought I should definitely ask if they've been recorded yet...
You've produced big-timers America, Michael Stipe, Chris Martin and others. Nick Zinner, the guitarist of Yeah Yeah Yeahs, mixed the project. The melding of the two worlds seems to correlate to the Hunters EP. Where do you think this music falls?
They're unique, noisey, and catchy, I'm not sure where I would put them, I hope they just keep evolving and playing out.
What corollaries did you find with your own music?
Loud guitars and high energy. (Well, I'm not that high energy.)
To some measure, if by success alone, your music corresponds to a pop dialouge. Where do you think pop is right now? What about rock music? Where do the two intersect?
In the mainstream, rock is down a little in popularity and pop is the most predominate thing you hear. But it's different for everyone, there's probably a death metal band saying this is our pop song and the song is like oooohhhhh!!! fff*****!!! ahhhhhh!!! I think most people like pop and use it consciously/unconsciously making music but their version of pop will always be original. I think Hunters are catchy like the way the TIng Tings are catchy/poppy but obviously it's not the same thing.
When you can work with basically any band in the indie world, why not go bigger? Bigger is better, right?
I don't think I'm in any position to be turning down producing jobs based on the popularity or size of the band.
How much of your production schedule is underbelly Brooklyn rock?
I've produced and worked with 6-7 bands over the last 6-7 years--not that many. I like the Brooklyn scene(s) but I've been a little out of the loop since our label Scratchie folded. Hit me up yo!
What else should I know about this project?
Everyone in the band is very talented and derek and Isabel have mad chemistry/stage presence, they made an excellent debut record and are really really exciting live, check em out!