"And we blew up like a bonfire."
Indeed they did. Pumped with flammable tanks of energetic swag, British band The Hunna, is stirring up a storm all over the UK. Ever since touring with Coasts
, the four piece band have played sold out shows in a variety of venues nationwide. With no other option but to go big or go home, the band continually murders the stage and they invite you to join the party.
Sporting tattoos, long hair, red vintage leather and shades, you'd think The Hunna was just another rock band. With a diverse spectrum of music influences from Kings of Leon to grime king: Skepta, optimistic vibes and a constant inclusion of dope, 'Hunna' slang has resulted in a swarm of Hunna Huns. Sophie Mayanne
captures the boys in and around Soho, London in a raw, candid image series.
Their stage confidence clearly reflected in the images, the boys weren't afraid to tree hug or skip down dodgy alleys. Coaxing Jack away from the Gentlemen's lounges with the promise of lunch, we tucked into the best of Byron for lunch. Random members of the public couldn't resist the band and jumped in mid shots - welcomed by the cheering boys. Vans threatened to flatten the group whilst pizza making men looked on with interest. Taking over Barber shops, parks and entire streets at some points, The Hunna do what they want and say what they want. This band is fire. With dreams of dating girls in higher places and immortality, we have an uncensored discussion with the boys that are: Ryan, Daniel, Jermaine and Jack, aka, The Hunna.
Tell us what you're about.
Daniel: We are The Hunna, we do what we wanna do.
Ryan: We're a four piece rock band from just outside of London. We've been gigging all around London for quite a while. Me and Dan came together about six years ago, and then finally we got these guys in the band. From there it just felt completely natural. We've been working hard, and things are now going really well.
Jack: High times squad.
Ryan: We couldn't be happier. Two years ago now, we were signed and we've been working on all our new material and preparing for our release which was in September this year. Now we're just enjoying everything that comes with it. Shit's getting pretty crazy at the moment, it's really fun.
Where was your first gig as The Hunna?
Jack: Bar play right?
Jermaine: Yeah under an old name. That was our first ever gig, we were all pretty nervous.
Jack: It was a sold out show, pretty lit.
Ryan: You got it good boy. That was the gig where we played, because a support act dropped out. That was the turning point for us, as the label signed us after that.
Daniel: It was amazing.
How do you deal with nerves?
Jack: We listen to trap, hip hop and grime backstage to get pumped.
Ryan: Have a smoke and psych each other up.
Daniel: A smoke and a cuddle.
Jack: Maybe a little stretch. I'm the drummer, so I hit hard, it's physical.
Daniel: He stands in front of us and tells us to do this and do this.
Jermaine: We get nervous, but after the first song it's bless.
Ryan: It's the crowd though, when they start singing back our lyrics, it's insane and gives us incentive.
What is it you call your fans?
Everyone: The Hunna Squad.
Daniel: The Hunna Huns, but there's quite a lot of names actually.
Ryan: Yeah, those are the girls.
Jack: Don't forget the Dime Squad.
What is the writing process like?
Daniel: Ryan, Jack and I write in our room, or we'll go into the studio and write together. We tend to lay it all down and get it structured, that's about it really. If there's a song that Jack writes down, he'll come round and lay drums on it.
Jack: We read each other like books as well, since we see each other everyday.
Ryan: We all have the same direction.
Jermaine: It's a nice process, we're a band of brothers.
Do you ever have any disagreements when you're writing?
Daniel: I suppose so, but they get cleaned up pretty quickly.
Jack: There's never really any problems, is there?
Ryan: It's more like suggestions rather than disagreements. Our approach is to try different things out and if it doesn't work, then it doesn't work. If it does and everyone's down, it's bless.
Jermaine: We know the main target, so it's just about getting through those little bits.
Do you guys live together?
Everyone: Not yet.
Jack: We're all at our families house. There's a lot of talk about moving out, so maybe later on in the year or something. We definitely want a band house though. AC Manor.
Ryan: We're hoping to move somewhere like East London soon. Eventually I'd want to move to America. I want a place in New York, Cali or Longbeach.
You obviously spend a lot of time at each other's houses writing, so what are your best memories from touring together?
Daniel: On tour is funny man. Smoking on the Glasgow stage was a good memory.
Ryan: It's in the 'Bonfire' video, we were just listening to hip-hop on stage after the show. We shut the doors and bribed the sound engineer to play songs for us. Our first ever tour was last October and that was a support tour with Coasts. It feels crazy looking back on it now.
Jack: The actual gig itself of course.
Ryan: We shot that video while on tour and went into Harif's (our creative director) hotel room since he got loads of models down. It was really fun, but then we got kicked out the hotel in Manchester. Big up Ibis. Then we went out and played the gig in Manchester, which was sold out as well.
Daniel: Big up to Coasts for taking us on tour with them.
Jack: Bristol as well man.
Jermaine: We've had a lot of good moments on tour.
Daniel: To be honest, playing in Shepherd's Bush was an absolute highlight. The scale of that one compared to the rest of the shows was so heavy.
Jack: It took our breath away.
Jermaine: All the fans at the front chanting our songs.
You've got such a huge amount of support behind you. Twitter goes mental.
Ryan: We love it. We never really thought that this sort of reaction would happen this quickly. We get messages through from fans all the time constantly supporting us, which is amazing. They also make their own Instagrams, music lyrics and random pictures of us.
Jack: I think this is just the start though.
Ryan: We're ready for the crazy.
Jermaine: We are crazy.
Jack: Snapchat's on lock.
Going back to 'Bonfire', what was the inspiration behind that?
Ryan: It was about a girl and a boy...
Ryan: Honestly, it was about me and my ex, and the middle stage of being with someone, but not really 'being' with someone. The stage where things change in a relationship where it's not how it was when it first started. It's when you're in that 'limbo.' The lyric at the beginning sums it up: 'If you love me, why don't you use me? If you hate me, why do you care?' I was really just writing about how relationships generally are.
Do you draw a lot on personal experiences for your music?
Ryan: Yeah, It would be weird if I was singing about something I didn't know shit about.
Jack: You've got to feel it from the heart.
Daniel: Our music has a message, it's always in the moment. It's all about telling a real story, and a new one at that.
Ryan: People pick up on that, because makes it more relateable. We want people to know we've been through so much and experienced a lot. People really connect. For instance, we've had messages from people like: 'your song Bonfire, it gets me up.' The main point for us, is that they are connecting.
Who influences you?
Jermaine: There are so many! I think we all can say Kings of Leon is a big influence. I absolutely adore them, as well as Michael Jackson and James Brown, I like my Funk. Their music goes straight to the heart, you can really feel what they're going for.
Jack: I'm going to start with Michael Jackson and Queen, and a bit of old school Bob Marley. Then new influences would be Travis Scott, Drake, Justin Bieber, PARTYNEXTDOOR, Rae Sremmurd, Yung Simmie, Chief Keef, Skepta. Also, Wiz Khalifa has got to be up there.
Daniel: Anything heavy, or vinyl rap.
Ryan: I love soul music like Marvin Gaye. Ray Charles is one of my favourite artists ever. Obviously Stevie Wonder, he's the man. Kings of Leon, Drake is my hero.
Daniel: Drake's our boy. We want to collab with Drake and Yeezus as well.
Ryan: No one does it like Drake, but I would love to sing with Beyonce too.
Daniel: Deftone's hard. Whatever's a good track, doesn't matter what genre it is.
Ryan: Jhene Aiko as well, she's amazing.
Just so much swag.
Who did you grow up listening to?
Jack: A lot of old man stuff like Rolling Stones and The Police.
Ryan: I think one of the first bands I listened to was The Beatles. My mum and dad had their number one album, I would listen to it every day.
Daniel: You got me into the Beatles. There were a lot more boy bands back in the day, Busted.
Ryan: Charlie! Oh Charlie.
Jack: My sister got me into the Indie bands.
Daniel: The old indie bands seem better than the new. They're the originals.
30 Seconds to Mars aren't too bad either.
Away from music, what do you do?
Ryan: At the moment, there's not a lot else beside music! We tend to smoke quite a lot when we're together, sit down and listen to Drake's OVO show, that's always hard.
Jack: We like a bit of Fifa, the odd party.
Ryan: We like to party quite a bit, and go to the cinema. We really want to go and see 'The Revenant' soon, can't wait for that.
Daniel: We went to a secret screening for the film 'Dope.' It was really cool, it was a good film.
Ryan: The film was produced by Pharrell.
Daniel: Dope was dope. Well done Pharrell.
Favourite food on tour?
Jack: Pizza and eggs, poached eggs.
Daniel: We ate a lot of pizza.
Jermaine: I like my fruit, so I'm going with bananas.
Ryan: This is tough, because we didn't really eat on tour. I think there was one day where we didn't eat anything, because we had hardly any money. We were going to go out that night with the Coasts guys, so we were saving our money to go out. In their dressing room, they had a platter of Subway.
Jack: They were all cut up.
Ryan: Then they were like, 'go on boys', you can have some, so we tucked into that and it kept us going.
Jack: I finished that off with ridiculous speed.
Ryan: Hopefully this tour, we'll eat more.
And healthier. Our New Years Resolution hasn't started yet.
What is your most treasured item?
Daniel: This sounds so lame, but I’ve had this grinder for a long time. I’ve lost it a lot of times but I absolutely I love it. I’ve had it way before the band even started so it’s solid.
Jack: I remember he was in the studio with Duncan and he thought he lost it, but for a month it was still there.
Jermaine: I’d say mine is this mini red guitar, short scale. I’ve never changed the strings of it.
Jack: I’ve known Jermaine since year two, we grew up together and learnt guitar the same time, but I’m going to have to go with my drum kit just because it’s gold, sparkly, it’s custom made from the USA, and it’s my baby.
Ryan: I would have to go with my ghost tattoo, which actually looks like the snapchat ghost. We used to say that we created snapchat and that was why we had it.
I went to a gig the other day, and on the drum kit there were sanitary towels…is that a thing?
Jack: Not for me! That guy was probably wiping his kit, or cleaning his hands. Maybe he’s a germaphobe. (Realising what sanitary towels actually mean) Oh! No way, that’s too weird. You definitely won’t find that on ours.
What’s your favourite word?
Daniel: We’ve literally created so many words. For me at the moment, it would have to be “gnarly bars.” Like when rappers spit bars, so when you’re in the studio recording you spit really ’gnarly bars.’ We’ve got a T-Shirt that says ‘gnarly bars’ on it, it was custom made for the squad.
Jermaine: Favourite word, I’d have to say ‘absolutely.’ I always say it, I can’t stop.
Jack: It’s pretty simple, ‘gang.'
Ryan: I’d say ‘blessed.'
What would you like to say to your fans and to the BBG audience?
Daniel: We genuinely love all of you.
Jack: Much love. The Hunna will come and see you soon.
Ryan: So much love. It's all love. We can't wait to meet everyone and play for everone and expand The Hunna Squad. We'll take it as far as we can.
Daniel: Thank you for your support. Keep it 1Hunna.
Ryan: Don't surround yourself with negative people, keep yourself surrounded by positivity. Be true to yourself!
Jermaine: Keep it real.
Jack: Keep it trill.
Do what you gotta do. Hunna Hunna Hunna Hunna [voice fades].
If someone had never heard of you before, how would you pitch the band in five words?
Daniel: Turn the fuck up rock.
Interview by Savannah Liu.
Words by Nicole Chui.