Darkness meets light in The Hunting Birds’ enchanting fusion of genres and their forthcoming debut EP is no exception.
Since forming in 2015, the Western Australian five-piece have been gigging hard in their hometown of Perth, as well as appearing at major festivals including Falls Festival Downtown and Bluesfest Byron Bay, plus support slots with folk heavyweights The Lumineers and English singer-songwriter Newton Faulkner.
Working with WAM Award-winning engineer Andy Lawson and in-demand producer Joel Quartermain (Meg Mac, Dan Sultan), the group have created a In Its Nature.
An eclectic collection of great songs, co-vocalist Connor Minervini says the songs that made the cut on the EP are the perfect collection for the band to strut its stuff.
“We’ve kind of just been playing the songs for a bit of time, and at some point we all sat down and decided what our favourite songs were. We brought them into the studio and just played with them, and we were really happy with them. Even though they sounded musically different, we wanted to showcase them because it’s our first EP,” he says.
“I really like ‘Currents’, just because at the time, the song was brand new and it just meant a lot to the band when we were recording, and I think it’s the anchor of the EP.”
To celebrate the launch of the EP, the band played some WA gigs, but say they love playing outside their hometown, despite never having been to South Australia.
“We’ve been to Victoria, New South Wales, and Queensland a few times, but never to South Australia. It just hasn’t worked out our way. It’s logistics and organising the venue to match with everything else. It’s just been a matter of time, you know? We would definitely hope to be over in South Australia soon.
“I really like being in Melbourne, but I also like playing in Brisbane as well. There’s just something going on [in Brisbane] that I kind of like. It kind of reminds me of Perth a lot. Maybe that’s why.”
Connor shares vocals with fellow founding member Kendra Fewster and they are accompanied by band members Chris Mackenzie, Brad Forbes, Gwyneth Gardiner.
“Kendra and I, we met at university when we were playing in an assigned university band. Then we kind of started writing together. We met Chris in the same course, and us three have been playing for the past two or three years. We’ve added our drummer, Brian, and bass player, Gwen, since then,” Connor says.
“Kendra and I always write the songs and then bring them to the other three members, and we kind of just light and shade everything and put in our colours and all that kind of stuff. It’s kind easy when you’ve already drawn up the song, so we never find it super hard. But at times it can be challenging to find out which way is the best way to go with a chorus or with a verse, and that’s the challenging part of a democracy but I think it gets a bit better.”
With some clear influences in their music (I’ll let you listen and pick them out yourself!), Connor says the group is inspired by a diverse range of musicians from across the globe and moments in time.
“Well, Kendra’s really into Matt Corby, like the old Matt Corby stuff. We’re just soaking in a lot of different Australian stuff. It’s always on the radio, I guess. I’m always listening, so it kind of all melds into one big thing,” he says.
“Internationally, we really like Mumford & Sons, and Fleetwood Mac, and all that lovely stuff. Music, especially for people our age, we’ve just been given everything. It’s not like we were ever struggling to find music. It’s so much music all the time, so you take a bit from everyone as opposed to 40 years ago when someone would just listen to the record because they could only afford to go to the record store and buy one record and listen to it for six months. With Spotify and Apple Music, you’re able to just jump, and jump, and jump, and soak it all in.”
Connor reckons The Hunting Birds could be off on tour as early as the beginning of next year, so stay tuned for dates on that one, but in the meantime, grab the EP. It’s a good one!
By Libby Parker