by A.J. Wachtel
Hunter Stamas, Cameron Gilhooly, Connor Coburn and Zack Warneka belong to the best alt/folk/rock band ever to come out of southern New Hamphire. Their infectious music and stunning shows have captured the attention and ears of an ever growing fan base all over the world. This is a great group with a unique sound. Read on and catch the reasons why everyone is picking up the scent of this very talented quartet.
Noise: Your band is located in southern New Hampshire and you play all the time. How is your local scene the same and different from gigging in Boston?
Connor Coburn: Nashua doesn’t have a music scene quite as cohesive as that of Boston. There is a handful of bars and venues but bands come from different areas with different styles, playing long sets with covers rather than short sets of originals like in Boston.
Noise: What do you like best and what do you like worst about getting your music heard and being part of the New England entertainment community?
Zack Warneka: We haven’t really run into any negatives. Over the past year and a half of being a band in the New England music community, when our music gets heard it has given us bigger and better opportunities.
Cameron Gilhooly: We get new fans and new media opportunities as we play more and more live and get air time on the radio.
Noise: Your alt/folk/rock sound has been described as sorta like Lana Del Ray meets Of Monsters And Men meets Bob Dylan meets No Doubt. Is this a fair assessment of your influences?
Hunter Stamas: We get a lot of different comparisons with regards to who we sound like. I can’t say this is a fair assessment of our influences…though being compared to any of the listed artists is a huge compliment so we’ll take it.
Cameron: Lana del Rey, Bob Dylan, and No Doubt are all on very different points of the web of our influences and styles, which sort of goes to show how our sound developed from eclectic sources.
Noise: You cats perform acoustically and as an electric band. How are these shows different?
Cameron: We sort of adapt to different venues and performing situations and we’ve played quite a variety of rooms, but we bring our energy to every show. Even stripping it down to an acoustic set, it’s always a “Hunter show.”
Noise: Hunter you play piano and your passionate vocals have been compared to Adele. What do you take from her that you use in your own performance?
Hunter: I don’t really take anything from Adele in terms of writing or at live shows and I don’t play piano at our shows. I play around with piano for inspiration or when I’m writing but it’s usually behind the scenes. Though I would say that my passionate vocals when playing piano is where I drew from for the passionate vocals I have at live shows now.
Noise: You also play harmonica. Can you tell us a bit about your harp influences and how the instrument fits into your current catalog?
Hunter: My dad gave me my first harmonica which was the same make and model that Bob Dylan uses. I actually never really played much harmonica until we wrote our original song “Smooth Seas Never Made For A Skilled Sailor.” We knew the song needed a harmonica solo, so I figured it out to complete the song.
Cameron: The harmonica fits into our current catalog of originals and covers because we are a pretty whimsical band.
Noise: In your set you play covers and originals. Who writes the music and can you tell us your personal favorite band songs and why?
Connor: Hunter, Cam, and I usually will bring in different song ideas and we sort of work on it together from there.
Cameron: I really like playing “Psycho Killer” by Talking Heads and our original “Smooth Seas Never Made For A Skilled Sailor.”
Hunter: I like playing our original “You’ve Gotta Play the Game to Beat the Game.”
Zack: I like playing our original “Que Sera, Sera.”
Hunter: And we like playing covers because they play into how we perform live and are a source of inspiration for writing after playing them so much.
Noise: What are some of the covers you do and how do you pick them?
Cameron: We cover quite a few artists but our cover list includes The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, The Beatles, Tom Petty, and Talking Heads. We like to bring variety.
Noise: You have been getting a lot of local radio support including having your music on WAAF (107.3)’s playlist and winning a WBOS (92.9) battle of the bands, and being on their latest Femme Fatale digital album. How has this helped your career and is it a conscious effort on your part to keep close connections with these stations?
Connor: We started out submitting our music to various radio stations and eventually, the more we were played on the radio, the more people started contacting us for media time and different opportunities.
Noise: Any advice for other bands on how to get their music heard today?
Hunter: If you take time to make quality music that you really enjoy making and performing, the right people will find you. People will find out about you for the right reasons: because they’re genuine fans and want to support you.
Noise: You played the New England Music Awards show on April 9th at The Blue Ocean Music Hall in Salisbury. You were also nominated for New Act Of The Year. What are your reactions to this sudden success and recognition?
Cameron: We’re really grateful and flattered that we’ve gotten the opportunities we’ve had so far, especially the recognition of the New England Music Awards. We would like to thank our fans for the support they’ve provided since day one and all the different media people who have shared our enthusiasm for what we are doing.
Noise: What’s in the future for Hunter short-term and long-term?
Connor: Short term, we’re going to continue playing shows, making more new music, and broadening our reach and fan base along the way.
Cameron: Long term, we would like to make this a full time career and travel nationally and internationally, just following our passion and interest in making music we enjoy and other people enjoy.