Wild & Free:
On The Brink of Super-Stardom with UK Rockers, The Hunna
Interview by Ariana Igneri
Photo by Amy Harris
If Ryan Potter — the lead singer of the up-and-coming British rock group The Hunna — had to pick one word to describe his band, he says he’d choose the word “free.”
“That’s just how we are,” Potter says, explaining how The Hunna created its sound and style by being open minded and willing to experiment. The group draws its influences from seemingly irreconcilable opposites — from the past and the present, from hip-hop and rock, from Drake and Kings of Leon. It defines itself by trying, in every way, to be indefinable.
“People say we have this 1975 kind of vibe, which is cool, because they’re an amazing band, but we love classic bands like Led Zeppelin as well,” Potter says. “We want to make our sound old school but also quite modern.”
The sense of freedom that Potter talks about when discussing The Hunna is obvious on its debut album, 100, which drops in the UK and in the U.S. on August 26. The album’s title is drawn from the band’s name, which Potter says is hip-hop slang for “100.” “We always say that we give 100 percent in all we do, and we want to embrace 100 percent of everything that comes our way,” Potter says, “so the title comes from that.”
100 is packed with infectious hooks and energetic lyrics that scream youthful rebellion and carpe diem. There’s the anthemic call to arms “You and Me:” “We are wild and we are free / You and me / We were meant to be.” Then there’s the festival-ready track “World Is Ours Tonight: “We won’t run / We won’t hide / We’re going out tonight / The world is ours tonight.” And the list goes on, with similar titles like “Alive” and “Be Young.”
The Hunna — which includes Potter, lead guitarist Dan Dorney, bassist Jermaine Angin and drummer Jack Metcalfe — came together a few years ago when Potter met Dorney in college. In October 2015, the band released its first single, “Bonfire,” with the help of producer Tim Larcombe (Halsey, Lana Del Rey). That same month, the group went on its first supporting tour with Bristol band, Coasts. “It’s just been crazy from there,” Potter says.
If Potter weren’t in The Hunna, he says he’d probably be trapped in an office cubicle somewhere — an idea he says he doesn’t dwell on much. “To think of not being in this band is quite a weird thought,” Potter says. “We’ve been trying to do this for so long.”
Potter says the last couple of years with The Hunna have been an education. Being away from friends and family, meeting other people in the music industry and interacting with fans have all been things he’s had to learn how to do. “Learning how to treat people, and how to treat this whole kind of lifestyle has been crazy and new,” he says.
But Potter likes new things. When asked how the rise of music streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music has affected fledgling bands like his own, Potter is optimistic. He says he loves old technologies, like vinyl records and cassette tapes (which The Hunna will be releasing alongside digital and CD versions of 100), as well as newer platforms. “It’s a lot harder for bands now in terms of getting what they make heard, but at the end of the day, we just want to make music because we love making music,” Potter says. “As long as our songs get out there, we don’t really care how.”
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