Music | Interview | Hunter & The Bear

By Kieran Webber

It would be easy to place these four on the forefront of the rock ‘n’ roll resurgence that is happening of late, especially in the UK.  Their use of Bad Company inspired ballads and fast paced energy make them one of the most exciting acts to emerge recently. This year has seen the band touring relentlessly in preparation for their debut album release that is planned for sometime in May next year. We were lucky enough to have a chat with the lead singer, Will Irvine, during this busy period.

CLUNK: First off I want to thank you for taking the time to answer our questions. How have things been and what have you been up to?

Will: No problem! We’re good thanks. We’ve had a crazy year of gigging all over the place and we’re now in the middle of recording our debut album. It feels like we haven’t come up for breath yet but pedal to the metal is how we like it.

CLUNK: So how did you all meet and what was the influence behind the band name?

Will: Jimmy and I are old friends from school up in Scotland and we kicked things off as a duo back in late 2012. Jimmy’s surname is ‘Hunter’ and I was nicknamed ‘Bear’ in school so after some terrible suggestions we stumbled across H&B and it stuck. Once we had the basics sorted, we took a plunge into the unknown and moved to London in search of regular gigs with our very limited song catalogue. We met Gareth (drums) playing on the same bill as us in the famous Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club and Chris (bass) came to us through a ‘Bass Player Wanted’ advert. We started jamming as a full rock band and never looked back!

CLUNK: I get a real Bad Company vibe from your music, are they an influence? Do you have any artists or bands you do take influence from?

Will: That has made my day! I grew up listening to Bad Company along with bands like Led Zeppelin and Dire Straits. Basically anything from my dad’s record collection. There’s something about that old rock sound that you don’t hear enough of these days. Having said that, we love bands like Biffy Clyro, Arctic Monkeys, The Black Keys etc who are more current. We want to be the best live band around and living up to those bands is definitely a good place to start.

“I grew up listening to Bad Company along with bands like Led Zeppelin and Dire Straits. Basically anything from my dad’s record collection”

CLUNK: What was the influence behind upcoming single ‘Renegade’?

Will: Our sound has been getting bigger and bigger with every new batch of songs that we write. With the debut album and ‘Renegade’ in particular, we wanted to make music that’s impossible to ignore. Building these big sounds is such a great thing to do, both live and in the studio so we wanted to challenge ourselves. Without going too deep on the meaning of the song, we wrote it at a time where we felt like we were fighting against the grain on a number of issues. It’s an empowering song for us in the sense that we’ve come through all that now by doing our own thing and making our own decisions. Sometimes you’ve got to break from the mound to get what you want, whatever that may be.

CLUNK: You guys have been touring relentlessly this summer, is there any gig or festival that has stood out in particular and why?

Will: It’s so hard to pick out one gig as the whole year has been amazing. We supported Simple Minds in London which was pretty damn special! On top of that, we’re just back from HebCelt which is an amazing festival on the Outer Hebrides. They really know how to party up there!

CLUNK: As a touring band I can imagine you have picked up your fair share of stories, care to share one with us ?

Will: We’ve got some good stories, most of which aren’t appropriate interviews. How about a tale of woe. We once played a festival up in Yorkshire. After we’d played we were selling a few CDs out front and chatting to people who’d enjoyed the set. Out of nowhere we hear a scream from the backstage area and someone repeatedly shouting “FLOOD!!”. We ran back there to find our amps, drums, guitars and all worldly possessions floating away in a raging torrent of water that’d come from a burst Zorb pool (don’t ask) just up the hill from our stage. I remember wading in there to grab my guitar. That’s not something I want to do ever again. Somehow we managed to dry everything out that night at Chris’s house where we were staying. Luckily his dad knows his stuff about amps so he made a few water related modifications and we were on our way to the next gig. Not the best day.

CLUNK: Have you always wanted to be in a band if so why? If not what did you want to do?

Will: Actually no. I’ve always loved listening to music but didn’t pick up a guitar until Jimmy started teaching me the basics at university. Even then it seemed ridiculous to even entertain the idea of doing this as a career. It still does! Before this all started I was pretty keen on having a life in sports. That was always my main focus growing up and I still love competing when I get the chance but I had to make the call and music prevailed.

 CLUNK: Is there anything you have learnt as musicians/a touring band that will stay with you forever?

Will: The best piece of advice we were ever given as a band is to never stop learning. The day you start thinking you’re amazing is the day that you start a slow decline. Look at the greats. Clapton is better at shredding guitar now than he’s ever been. That’s the way to do it. We’re always looking for ways to improve.

CLUNK:Before heading out on a tour what are 5 things that you pack first and why?


1. Pants – Just because

2. Gaffa tape – Solves every problem

3. CD collection – Can’t travel without solid tunes in the van.

4. Emergency cake – We genuinely have an emergency cake in our van. Nobody really knows what emergency it’s there for but when the time comes, we’ll know..

5. Your game-face – You can’t go onstage without your game-face!

CLUNK: You opened up for the one and only Eric Clapton recently, how was that? What is Clapton like?

 Will: That was our first really big stage and I’d be lying if I said we weren’t terrified on the first night. Luckily it all went to plan and we got the arena jumping. Eric (we’re on first name terms) is such a great guy. He took the time to come see us and say hello which he really didn’t need to do. He was so humble and really supportive of young bands. It was an honour. Our little van looked great next to his fleet of lorries!

CLUNK: Lastly, what can we expect from you in the near future?

Will: Our new single ‘Renegade’ comes out on August 5th. It’s the first single from our debut album and we can’t wait to get it out there. After that, the album will be released one track at a time (one every month) until it is complete in May of next year. Along side the album, we’re still touring like crazy so have a look at our website and come and see a show!