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The Hunna Vs. The World



Nick Paruch

Talk about trial by fire, The Hunna, have seen it all in short time. In 2016 these British rockers; Ryan Potter, Daniel Dorney, Junate Angin and Jack Metcalfe, exploded on to the scene with their first album ‘100’, which hit #13 on the UK charts. They feverishly toured UK, Europe, and the US which garnered them a massive following. Their highly anticipated second album ‘DARE’ was released in 2018 and encompassed another world tour that included UK, Europe, USA, Australia, Indonesia and Asia. And while things appeared splendid to the fans, internally the band had come to blows with their management over their necessity to control them. Finally, the band had reached a breaking point, tours were canceled, legal action was taken against their record label and new management was established. The Hunna are signed to 300 Entertainment in the US and just wrapped a US tour supporting Barns Courtney. They are heading to the studio to record their third album with John Feldmann, front man of Goldfinger, as producer.

We caught up lead guitarist, Daniel Dorney to discuss to their troubled past and where they are headed now.

daniel dorney

Is your latest single, IGHTF (I Get High To Forget), a song declaration to your former record label?

It actually kind of was to be completely honest. We worked with grandson. He was in town, so he jumped in on the recording session with us, which was amazing. We were just saying that we’ve got a lot to talk about and we really wanted to channel that kind of mood into the song. Normally Ryan is the lyrical writer, he loves to write about real experiences. He always says if he is going to have to sing it for the rest of his life he doesn’t wants it to come from someone else. But also we were trying to keep it from the perspective that if you weren’t going from the same situation as us you could relate it to any situation you currently had. Whether it being a break-up, a colleague or a job. Anything like that really, we thought, if we could keep it open minded for people out there that it could relate to themselves with whatever shit they have got going on, then that would be great.

When you first started writing the song was that the intent?

Yeah it was intentionally written about our previous record label management and it was like massive fuck you for them and it was really fun to channel that energy into songwriting.

You play ‘D.G.A.F.’ at the end of each set which I understand will be on the upcoming album. What does it stand for?

D.G.A.F. stands for “Don’t Give A Fuck” Our friends who are in the killer band, Night Riots, they taught us that definition. They were like, “Have you ever heard of d.g.a.f.?” We where like, “No, what the fuck is that?” “It stands for don’t give a fuck!” We thought was awesome and we wrote it with John Feldman. We actually are recording ‘D.G.A.F.’ as well. But that was kind of a song where we really just wanted to go really fast, really punky. We wrote the song in like 15 minutes, but John doesn’t waste time. So when we are writing with him he’s like right we got 20 minutes left are we gonna write a song, try and make a killer song or you gonna go home? So we just went in there and we just wrote an incredibly fast crazy upbeat song and it’s turned out really really well. We’ve been playing in the U.K., Europe and our festival season too. We like to play any songs that we are going to record in the future live to see how they play out live, to feel the energy of them and that one’s proven to be really successful. So many people can’t wait for it to be released. I really excited to record ‘D.G.A.F.’

It was surely amazing to perform at the Reading Festival. What was it like having thousands of people sing “She’s Casual” back to you?

Unbelievable man! I remember writing that with Ryan. Near my house there was a guy in a wedding band, and I used to beg him to let me practice because we didn’t have much money back then and he finally let us record it down. Me and Ryan were trying to learn how to record on a laptop for the first time, we had just recorded two guitars with the vocal and we were really stoned, and we were like that sounds really good, that song sounds really good! We were just so mad for it for that moment in that little shed that had holes in the roof, complete shithole stoned out of your brain and then playing the Main Stage at Reading and Leeds and everyone singing it, word of word, back to you it was just unbelievable. Too great to put into words!

jack metcalfe

For your third album you have John Feldman producing it. What can we expect from this upcoming album?

The albums come from experiences. Our first record it was more about wanting to be successful and early young love. The second record was about real experiences about losing family members and breakups. Now it’s about our previous experience about our record label and what we’ve left. We’re quite angsty and we’ve got a lot to say. It’s really channeled well with the songwriting. Sonically we’re going to add elements, like we want to do a whole Hip-Hop / Rock upbeat, fast, with some electronic sounds. We never had the right producer to do that with. It’s really coming along very well and it sounds futuristic. It’s kind of hard to compare the sound we’ve got right now and what we’re currently recording with John Feldman. I think that’s going to be a really good thing because it’s going a to be a unique sound sonically and lyrically, I think it’s the best shit Ryan’s ever written!

How much time in the studio do you have to finish the record?

We’ve got a whole month and we’ve already tracked a lot of parts. Drummer Jack Metcalfe and our bassist Junate Angin are going to come down and do their stuff. Then we’ll add more guitars and make our songs sound like they are ready and then we’re going to dissect them again. We’re going to try and create a third record which is a complete game changer for us and for the rock scene really.

When will it be completed?

We are going to record the album then we going to shoot videos then a worldwide tour, Australia, Europe, UK and America. We’re going to be here in America as much as possible. We’re got a lot of work to do here. It’s probably going to start in April, that’s the talk about it.

How does The Hunna start a new song? A guitar riff? A lyrical hook or what?

It kind of varies. Me and Ryan always write together, we always have since we were young. It could be a couple chords or a vocal melody and we’re like that’s a wicked chorus and we could decorate and dance around that or it could be as simple as a wicked guitar riff that we start to build off of and then put a vocal over it. Sometimes Ryan has lyrics written or a set of chords with like a really good chorus/melody and I can bounce around that. Also we love writing with other people. It’s really good experience working with people like John Feldman. We write with Fall Out Boy, Josh Dun of Twenty One Pilots and Nick Jonas. It’s just great when you go into these sessions you think you know a lot and you think you know how to write a song, which really do but there are other people who have been doing this for twenty or thirty years, they really know their shit. It’s great to walk away from a session knowing something you didn’t know before and you can implement in your writing again. To try and become a better you and a better writer, it’s brilliant and I love it!

Rap/Hip-Hop artists have used collaborations with other musical genres to widen their audience. Why do you think rock artists have been slow to embrace that concept?

It’s kind of a complicated thing. I think bands feel like they should be entitled to be writing their own material which they do and they should. Me and Ryan never not want to write our own material like we always have to be involved or be a part of it. It’s a bit of a difference. I lot of bands I do know think if it doesn’t come from your band it shouldn’t come from anybody else and I completely understand that, it’s great. But like I said before I think it’s really important to understand that you shouldn’t let your own ego be in your way. To let it create a barrier between you and songwriter. There are a lot of people who are not wanting to try, and I respect it but you can also hear it in their music. Music so far developed, these songwriters in all genres of music they are the best. It’s up to them I guess but good luck if  your ego is like that and you do believe in yourself then fine but going to be a longer and slower process and there’s no harm in wanting to learn from people and excel as a person.

Music listeners today are exposed to so many more styles of music. Do you feel musicians should embrace that in the music?

Exactly, it’s so diverse now like the music industry and genres are changing it’s not just how it used to be where people like rock or people like rap, everybody likes everything now and everyone’s got all those streaming platforms. When I was a kid you liked a genre of music and you would go buy the record. You would end up being social with the people who had the same taste in music. Compared to now, if you are a young kid you can listen to anything, anywhere, whenever you want and I think it’s a great thing. It’s bringing genres together, creating great sounds, creating a new wave and it’s actually brilliant but I do feel like a lot of people in the industry are still thinking backwards and that’s just what’s going on right on. They should embrace it. It’s like Post Malone, he is an all-rounder, sonically he fits all different kinds of categories because there isn’t really a category. When you see him live, he’ll have a live band, he’s smashing it, he’ll give you that rock feel but he’ll also give you that hip-hop feel with a pop feel. He’ll go to new avenues because that’s what music is becoming and it should as well because you shouldn’t be boxed in. That’s why we’re really excited about our third record, we’re not boxed in to having to be what everyone would expect a band to be. Like you can still be a rock band and add other elements from other genres and evolve rock. Not saying it’s going to succeed but we are going to give it a fuckin’ good go! You gotta try and be revolutionary if you can and I believe we will be!

ryan potter

Your critics call you a self-made social media or identikit indie band. How do you respond?

Just take it on the chin. I don’t mind the haters. There are a lot of people who love us too! The haters fuel my fire. They fuel me to be better. They fuel me to want to prove them wrong and want to win them over. It’s kind of a good thing, with love comes hate. I can see why people have that perception line from the early days and how we were marketed on Facebook and online. The marketing was aggressive. But for us at the time that was the plan for the band when we signed the deal. The deal that we got out of. No one really advertised on Facebook and we are going to spend all of your marketing budget on Facebook. We just want to try a new thing. Yeah, I guess it’s a timing thing too because we were the first in the UK to do it. You got to remember this was when sponsored ads weren’t so frequent. And we did do it and we gained so many fans. For us it was great. It was getting the music out to everybody around the UK and around the world really. It was working and it was great. Obviously with aggressive marketing comes the first problem which is people don’t like to be force-fed something, they don’t want to consistently see an ad that they don’t want to see. So I can understand why people would be irritated and thing we are manufactured. But the manufactured thing is complete bullshit because it’s not. I’ve known Ryan since college. I’ve known Jack since college, he was just a couple years older and he was drumming in bands and I really wanted him to be in a band with me. We all pulled together and played around campus for a while. Then we signed a deal and in one year we wrote hundreds of songs. And out of the hundreds of songs which are the best like 12 or 16 songs and we picked them. We recorded them and dropped ‘100.’ We were a band before The Hunna. The funny thing is now, which is really hilarious, some bands that used to give us shit about it are now doing it too! The irony! It’s hilarious. I love it!

The music industry has changed drastically over the years. Streaming services have replaced album sales and bands are looking for other ways to generate revenue. Green Day just announced a partnership with the NHL and your tour mate Barns Courtney has a sponsorship deal with Motel 6. What other changes in the industry do you see coming?

There are definitely a lot of crossovers now isn’t there, like with brands and events. Events are becoming more of a thing than like actual physical record sales. There are so many festivals around the world and people like to go to those kinds of things and are willing to spend money on it for the experience. And it just makes sense and with brand crossovers as well it works hand in hand. We can get paid and gifted stuff and in return we get exposed to their fan base and they get exposed to ours. We’re all just helping one another out. It’s just genius. It completely makes sense and social media has changed everything!

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Tears for Fears Brings Thunder and Lightning to Dallas

The Tipping Point World Tour Kicks Off



Roland Orzabal
Nick Paruch

With thunder and lightning present outside The Pavilion at Toyota Music Factory, the band seized the moment by rocking the inside as well. Tears for Fears co-founder Roland Orzabal addressed the crowd, “We brought a bit of English weather with us.”

Straight away it was clear that this would not be a legacy tour where the band just plays their most popular songs. Much of the set consisted of songs from their new album, The Tipping Point, and for good reason. This critically acclaimed album is on par with their first three and in some ways even better.

Sure the fan demographic definitely skewed toward those who grew up in the MTV generation but there was a fair representation of younger fans who most likely first experienced Tears for Fears through a video game or TV show. Regardless of how they got there the audience embraced this special moment, singing along and swaying to tune after tune. With the hits receiving the most enthusiasm from the crowd, Orzabal jokingly stated, “I guess a lot of you haven’t bought the new album yet.”

Vocally the band didn’t miss a beat, with co-founder Curt Smith sounding as good as ever and proving they are still able to move an audience in the most cathartic ways. You could sense the confidence in Orzabal and Smith’s harmonies as they hit as hard as ever and backing singer Carina Round pulled it all together with her gorgeous voice.

Curt Smith

No Small Thing
The Tipping Point
Everybody Wants to Rule the World
Secret World / Let ‘Em In (Wings cover)
Sowing the Seeds of Love
Long, Long, Long Time
Break the Man
My Demons
Rivers of Mercy
Mad World
Suffer the Children
Woman in Chains
Badman’s Song
Pale Shelter
Break It Down Again
Head Over Heels / Broken

End of Night

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Mitski Returns From Hiatus with New Album and World Tour

Set List and Pics from Dallas, Texas Concert



Nick Paruch

In 2019, Mitski decided to walk away from music. She announced that she’d be stepping away indefinitely, but just over two years later, Mitski returns with her sixth album, Laurel Hell and a 53 stop tour covering North America and Europe. The Factory in Dallas, Texas was the seventh stop in her completely sold out tour.

Her 23 song set includes six songs from the latest album, Laurel Hell, with the rest pulled from her older material. The stage design is minimalistic, composed of a stage prop door and decorative stage lights. Mitski‘s movements are very deliberate as she runs and dances across the stage, somehow appearing apprehensive but totally in control. The tone and mood of the songs is shaped through her visual expressions  and the ever-changing lights pointed towards the audience.

The dedicated fans of Mitski adored every second of it, singing along, dancing and reveling in her presence.

Set List

Love Me More
Should’ve Been Me
Francis Forever
First Love / Late Spring
Me and My Husband
Stay Soft
I Don’t Smoke
Once More to See You
I Will
Drunk Walk Home
Your Best American Girl
I Bet on Losing Dogs
The Only Heartbreaker
Working for the Knife
Heat Lightning
Goodbye, My Danish Sweetheart
Washing Machine Heart
A Pearl


Two Slow Dancers

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The Resilience of Toad the Wet Sprocket in Disposable Times

Starting Now marks their return after eight years



Nick Paruch

The Cali alt-rockers Toad the Wet Sprocket formed in 1986 and spent the next five years mastering their craft. The 1991 release fear, marked their commercial breakthrough with chart-topping singles All I Want and Walk on the Ocean, the quartet’s popularity soared. They continued with 1994’s Dulcinea and 1997’s Coil, which contained another string of successful hits such as Something’s Always Wrong, Fall Down, Fly from Heaven, Crazy Life and Come Down.

In 1998 the group officially disbanded but for the next ten years they performed on numerous occasions and in 2009 the band reformed. They continued performing, re-recorded some older hits and launched a very successful Kickstarter which resulted in the release of New Constellation in 2013. Another eight years would pass until Toad the Wet Sprocket entered the studio again to record the long-overdue next studio album, Starting Now.

We caught up with the band’s frontman Glen Phillips during their recent tour to discuss the new album, touring and life.

How did Starting Now come to be?
Actually, I started recording another solo record and I was really loving the songs and I was thinking, why am I doing a solo record right now? What am I trying to prove? It’s been a long time since I wanted people to hear these songs. If I put this on a solo record, then I don’t get to play them on a Toad record and I just think I finally took the chip off my shoulder about the band. We’ve been in those years too, we changed. Randy (Guss), our original drummer, left the band and so we had to adjust to this idea of what we are right now and kind of figure out our new relationships with each other because we’ve been together for 35 years. So it’s a very familial dynamic and I had this realization that I’d rather make a Toad record than a solo record, which was really surprising to me and quite welcome. I quit what I was working on and we started recording and next thing we knew, it was lockdown. So, there’s definitely a bit of a rewriting process of some of the songs that had been kind of topical, which is always a dangerous place to go because unless you get things out really fast, being topical is like it’s deadweight even before it’s released. And beyond that, I think there was a realization that things are so ultra-polarized right now that I kept needing to try to zoom out and find something that was a little larger and a little more true than my perspective about the specific issues of the day. There’s a song called Hold On that went through major rewrites, it was originally about the child internment, splitting up families and it was a particularly heartbreaking subject and very timely, then the song didn’t come out, time moved on and then there was quarantine. Eventually it became as broad as I could write it, a lot of the songs probably carry on things that could be directly related to what’s happening or what was happening. During the time I just felt like I had to get back to the point, instead of here’s a particular injustice that’s going on right now, it had to be more of the question of how do you find a moral center, what’s the definition of hope. I entered this beautiful description of hopes, as opposed to the passivity of optimism or pessimism, which are either everything is going to be great so I don’t need to do anything or everything is going to hell so I don’t need to do anything, that hope is this position of activity where it’s like the outcome is uncertain but the moral imperative is clear. Hope is moving towards that moral imperative and doing what is right, despite whether or not it’s convenient and despite whether or not you think it will result in any response from the world. It’s that kind of a thing, do you do the thing that’s a little more difficult because it’s better, even when no one’s watching. So that ended up being a lot more of where the album focused. Yeah, it’s also got some love songs, which I hadn’t been writing for a while. It felt really nice to have love songs again and to be inspired to write them.

Was the album title reflective of a new beginning?
Yeah, well, once again, in terms of that, that was written actually about a year before lockdown. A few lines of it changed here and there, but it’s more about that. It’s the funny thing with good spiritual teachers, they just say the same thing over and over. So, for me, in the last five years, my big teachers have been people like Mary Oliver, Tara Brach and Jack Kornfield. A lot of poets and a lot of Buddhists, and there seems to be this recurring theme with all of that, which is; the past is gone, the future is indeterminate and all you have is this moment, right? This is it, and so your job is to be as aware as possible and see how much you can be present for it, and how much you can be aware of what’s actually going on, and not your narratives about past or future or imagining what’s in everybody else’s head. I keep coming back to that, as kind of the only spiritual teaching that’s really helped. For me, which is starting where you are, I have all kinds of regrets, all kinds of things that I would redo or repave but in lieu of a time machine, the only thing I can actually control is this moment. And even that is up for grabs.

How does it feel to be on the road again?
So far, it’s been really wonderful. I didn’t realize how much I’d missed playing music for people and playing with the band. So that has been glorious and it’s also been a certain amount of stressful. We’re kind of heading into the territories that are perhaps less cautious about COVID and at this point, I kind of feel like people have chosen a lane. Except the difficulty in that when you’re touring is that if anyone in the band gets sick, then we’re shut down for two weeks, there’s no insurance and it’s just lost income. So there’s sometimes frustration when there’s resistance to trying to be careful about it just because it’s like, I’m trying to work. We’re just trying to get through the tour and I know a lot of people have been shut down. So yeah, I noticed that my general anxiety level got way better once we reached the point at which if we were shut down we wouldn’t lose tons of money after not having worked for two years.

If you had to choose between being a performer or a songwriter, which would you choose?
What’s the pay? If songwriting actually paid, I would be a songwriter. Just because as much as I love singing I feel like no one can take that from you and honestly, most of my favorite places to sing aren’t club shows. I’ve been doing a lot of community choir leading and stuff that’s just friends in a room together. I find that as much as I love performing for an audience there’s also something I really love about flattening the idea of performance, where things are entirely participatory and there’s not a sense of us and them. Which is why situations that bypass performer and audience relationships are really exciting to me and if I were a full time songwriter I could both wake up with my girlfriend and make coffee in the morning every day and I would still have those other means of performances. So COVID made me a little more of a homebody. I don’t think I’d been home that long in 20 years and I kind of liked it. Unfortunately, songwriting doesn’t pay so I tour and this isn’t to say that I don’t love touring. I do love it. I just would love for teleportation to exist, so I could have a carbon neutral way of just bopping to the venue and popping back into my house.

How did you spend your time during COVID?
I was a very active live streamer. During the last year, I did well over 200 live streams. I was doing three a week that were on Facebook and YouTube and then I would do StageIts on Sunday. Then I kept the choir, it’s like a drop in community choir. The best way to describe it is that it’s like church without any religion. So it’s kind of uplifting spiritual songs and the songs are designed to be quickly learned by nonprofessional musicians or so as any voice is welcome. There are a lot of people there who were kind of shamed out of singing or told that they shouldn’t sing. And it just feels good to sing. So there’s not a pressure to sing particularly well. It’s better to sing in tune, but it’s not required if you can’t and the songs tend to be counter melody, which is easier for non musicians to hold.They’re fairly repetitive songs but you just sink really deep into them. So you’re repeating a 15 second phrase maybe for five minutes. They’re easy to learn, easy to pick up, and they’re uplifting and they feel good. I’ve been doing that for about four years before COVID got shut down so I kind of kept leading those online, like using a looper to kind of guide people in doing it on Zoom. It wasn’t as good as in person, but it was something. I had five shows a week for a year and a half, so yeah, it was strange I didn’t dress up the stage, I didn’t sell tickets, I showed up as I was for free for at least three times a week, every week and kind of created a community and I was doing benefit shows and raising money for other people. It ended up being more like my songs were a backdrop for this community to develop where people would just be checking in on each other and kind of reaching out and making sure other people were okay. It was a really beautiful experience, actually a lot of those people are coming out to the shows now. And it’s been really kind of humbling to see what came into being just by showing up that regularly.

Following the release of Coil, the band broke up. You spent many years doing solo work, how would you compare your solo work to Toad work?
I always just wrote songs and those will kind of change depending on what I’m listening to or what I’m thinking about or feeling, more than anything else. But they’ve always had kind of a wide stylistic range that the band does a fantastic job of centering. Toad has such a signature sound, Todd (Nichols’) parts are so unique and are such a great counterpoint, about half the Toad songs are his music and the other half of the songs are just things I walk in with, but his playing and kind of the harmonies and Dean (Dinning’s) melodic sensibilities on the bass, no matter if I’m writing something that’s a little folkier or country or rock or just weird, the band would always bring it into the center place where it would have a feeling and an identity. I’ve never worked that out on my own and so I really noticed my songs are this kind of constant but the album making as a solo artist for me has been a very difficult process because I don’t know what I sound like. I know what I write like and I know what Toad sounds like but I have no idea what I sound like. So the albums are kind of all over the map and it makes me really appreciate the band to get together and do this. And even this record, we did two days of drum tracking and then things got shut down. The rest of the album we were just sending each other tracks via Dropbox, recording at home and then Mikal (Blue) mixed it. So it was very much self-produced, it’s like, here’s my part and somebody might say, I want to try that different and then a week later, I’d get to it and try something different, send it back out and a week later I’d get a response. It was a very slow process but mostly we were kind of responsible for our own corner and we all did a really good job of making room for everybody else. So it was a surprisingly smooth process that sounds very much like a cohesive record that we’d all worked out together.

What did you learn about yourself during COVID?
I’m still working on that. One is that it’s really good for me to slow down and stop doing, all the time. In certain ways it’s safe for me to have a home again. I got divorced seven years ago and I was very kind of itinerant and self indulgent and it was hard for me to settle down again. I think, moving in again and trusting that it’s safe to risk being hurt again, if that makes sense. All I want is a home and having lost one, I am so terrified of ever experiencing that pain again. But it’s been really difficult to just settle down and the situation, kind of not forced my hand, but tipped my hand into cohabitating again and after a few brief panic attacks, I found that I quite liked it. So it was really good for me personally that it’s actually worth that risk to allow myself to be with somebody again. So that was a fairly major one. And I don’t know, it brought back, what am I, what do I do in this world, I write songs, I sing songs, I found ways of continuing to do that and have it mean something to people, recorded the Toad album, just this last summer recorded his solo album, I’m still finishing that one up. I managed to keep myself occupied, but not just with busy work. It was good to feel like I was taking care of myself and I was really once again able to accept things as they were, was the big lesson. It’s always the lesson, right? It’s the strange thing about being a human being is, we’re able to do all these interesting things because of memory and because of the capacity for prediction. We remember how people act, we create models of people in our head, that help us determine expectations about their possible reactions to things we do in the future or we take samples of our current and past experiences and extrapolate those and that’s really useful, it gives us a framework to do so much, but the moments the only thing that actually exists and every spiritual teaching seems to come down to this focus on like, the past and the future fictions and the moment is all there is and how do you want to show up for today? And at the same time, there’s still whatever the modern day equivalents are of gathering wood for winter, you still have to have enough of the future in your head that you don’t just die when it gets cold. So those predictive capacities, but at the same time, I can tend to have a tendency towards predicting doomsdays and getting very anxious and trying to idiot proof the future, and being so afraid of all the things that could go wrong, that I don’t do anything. I’ve had a lot of reckoning with depression and anxiety and this year for me, I think, especially seeing it’s like, okay, now there’s a pandemic, looks like we have an authoritarian ruler, we’ve got massive divisions, we’ve got a breakdown of trust and of basic institutions and a loss of kind of a factual common ground, it’s almost split down in the middle, and what do you do with that? How do you react to that? How do you stay kind, how do I not become judgmental or hateful, or become the very things that I want to fight against. How do I keep an open heart and see the good in people who I disagree strongly with and not respond to anger that comes at me with more anger. It was such a fantastic test of all of those things. The answer that kept coming back was, show up, do your practices, get yourself centered, come back to kindness, be in the moment, forget what you think you know, and if there’s an irrational belief I try to hold, it’s that love wins and that people are good. I’m willing to state that that is an unprovable belief system that I have, but I’m aware of that. But I think it’s also worth me holding on to, because that’s where I derive my help. So, it’s been a big one for that, it was a major test, especially if you’re prone to depression, and you kind of know how your mind works. You have to have a relationship with the stories you tell yourself and how much you indulge them. If you are putting crap into your body that’s gonna mess up your serotonin levels. I want to be a happy healthy person who is useful to those around me, and is kind and isn’t always anxious. And so, the practices become much less esoteric when the shit hits the fan and they become much more practical.

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