The Hunna: “It felt like we were almost held hostage”

The Hunna: “It felt like we were almost held hostage”

By Yasmin Brown

Jul 10, 2019 16:32

The fact that the music industry can be a duplicitous world is no secret, but it’s rare we’re offered such a candid insight into the way artists can be taken advantage of through manipulation and dodgy contracts. For The Hunna, though, this honesty and openness has allowed them to grow closer to their ever-growing fanbase – gaining respect and continuing loyalty as they do so, not to mention giving them “the fire” they needed to come back hungrier than ever.

At the end of last year, The Hunna made a public statement explaining that their upcoming November tour dates were being postponed. New dates were announced but there was still a general sense of confusion surrounding the situation, not least how fans were to get refunds or new tickets when management, High Time, were seemingly being so shady.

Despite this uncertainty, fans of The Hunna remained fierce in their love for the band, only ever commenting positively in regards to whatever mess was clearly going on behind closed doors. This unwavering devotion hasn’t gone unnoticed by the band, who acknowledge that “the support for the band’s been amazing and it, you know, speaks volumes really”.

Their story is one that they’ve clearly recounted many times, recalling without much emotion that they’d been told, “if we weren’t with [their old management] then no-one would give a shit and we wouldn’t sell out anything and no-one would care and we’d be done”.

It was during this time that morale hit rock bottom, and for many, this would have been the end; the devastation that comes when the people that should be your biggest champions are the ones throwing around the most degrading comments and threats is enough to destroy even the most confident. However, this band’s spirit was far from crushed, and they now feel “even hungrier to continue what [they] were doing and just spread Hunnamania worldwide”.

This particular evening is a shining example of that ‘Hunnamania’, as we sit backstage at the O2 Academy Brixton, ahead of their third sold-out show at the venue. “It’s one of these”, Dan Dorney laughs sincerely as he flips his middle finger in conjunction with this statement. “It would have been stupid to call it a day. It would have been stupid.”

The Hunna: “It felt like we were almost held hostage”

Their legal battle may be ongoing, but the past few months have been liberating for the members of The Hunna, who up until pulling away from their management described the situation as making them feel “like [they] were almost held hostage”. Now, though, there’s no limit to the band’s creative flow, having smashed through the glass ceiling that was previously boxing them in and are feeling  positive about what’s to come.

It’s heartwarming to hear these men – who are clearly extraordinarily good friends – chat among themselves excitedly, openly and proudly discussing the hardships they’ve faced and how strong they’ve emerged on the other side of it.

“Psychologically I feel like we’re probably the healthiest we’ve been, you know? Clear minds, uh positive, driven… At the same time there’s other elements that haven’t changed, like we haven’t changed, we still are doing the same thing we were technically doing before. We were still ripping back then but we’re just ripping harder now.”

That they are ‘ripping harder now’ is highlighted by the fact that almost every show on this comeback tour is sold out, even shows in European cities they’ve only visited once or twice. As each band member takes a moment to name a city they’re excited to visit (not to mention a tangent about a wild, wild night in Prague), there’s a sense of amazement in their voices as they acknowledge that their ever-growing success allows them to “see a bit more of a future in [music], whereas before [they] didn’t know where [they] were”. This new found freedom – or at least what is soon to be freedom – has allowed them to adapt a ‘sky’s the limit’ approach to their careers moving forward.

This liberation has allowed The Hunna to focus on what’s really important to them which, aside from the music, is their fans. When asked, they unanimously attribute their strength and fire to this group of people that support and stand by The Hunna unconditionally, never losing momentum or passion for the songs that make up such a huge part of the soundtrack to their lives. 

“Music, performing and the fans. Like literally was the drive that kept us going and kept us going from the start. That was the fuel that just pushed us forward and any bad shit that was in our way was, you know, it was tough but you know, that was the fuel that kept us moving, kept us going and without that, we wouldn’t be where we are now.”

The phrase ‘put your money where your mouth is’ is appropriate here, as The Hunna don’t just claim to love their fans, and to be propelled by them, they make every effort at showing them just how important their loyalty is to them. Whether that’s through retweets on Twitter or standing outside the venue for hours after the show ends to meet every single fan that has waited behind, there’s very little separating The Hunna from their thousands upon thousands of followers. When asked why they continue to put their effort into the fans, it’s a no-brainer.

“We were fans once and we still are fans of bands and people and it’s a dream to try and meet the people you love, and it’s not hard to reply to a a fan and it’s, you know, it’s an easy thing and it goes such a long way. And it’s just, without them we wouldn’t be where we are so… it’s really, really important.”

The Hunna: “It felt like we were almost held hostage”

As for what the future holds, The Hunna already have plenty of new music written and recorded, ready for release as soon as they’re “legally free” that they’re anxious to get out there. While at the moment they’re tied to contracts meaning they’re unable to officially release anything new, that hasn’t stunted the band’s creativity in any way. In fact, it’s been the fuel they’ve needed to experiment with new sounds and take the time to create something that feels authentic.

“Yeah it’s kind of like a fresh start so it’s kind of like the next album will be, we just took the time to actually do it and not have something that’s tailored by some dickhead.”

That’s not to say, though, that they have any negative feelings towards their 2018 album, ‘Dare’. While it might feel “like it’s been out for three years”, they’ve still only toured it in full once – on the album release tour last July. They’ve described the experience as being in a “bubble” that  resulted in an illusion that this year-long cycle has actually lasted far longer and there’s unanimous agreement that these songs are still a joy to play live, and the reaction to performances of tracks such as ‘Lover’ (a fan-chosen addition to this tour’s set list) and ‘Babe, Can I Call’ only increase their love for the album, despite the circumstances under which they were borne.

With all of the drama, it’s easy to forget that The Hunna are just four guys in their twenties, but as they get waylaid and start reminiscing about insane nights in Prague and upcoming ‘double birthdays’, you’re abruptly reminded that they are just best friends doing what they love, looking for a good time. After three solid minutes of arguing over whether two consecutive days can occur at the same time, one statement ends the discussion with a sense of perfect finality, somewhat encompassing who they are outside of the legal debacle:

“We have our birthdays in Germany and we’ll get fucked up.”

Whether they did get “fucked up” in Germany remains between them, but mere hours later, right there at Brixton Academy, The Hunna were certainly the reason behind many drunken minds, flailing limbs and freshly developed bruises – a reason to celebrate by anyone’s standards. We can’t wait to see where this band takes us next.