NO REMORSE: Lovebirds Derek Watson and Izzy Almeida moved here from Brooklyn because they think we’re all really fun and awesome so keep it up, you guys.
“I can’t plan out the songs I write,” says Hunters singer Izzy Almeida. “I just do them. With him, it just became easier to do.”
“If I had to diagram a song before we just started playing one, it would go horribly wrong,” says Hunters guitarist Derek Watson. “With her, I didn’t need to sit down and think about it. It just happened.”
Maybe this is corny, but from what those two say about their band and its newly released eponymous debut album, Hunters is the sound of love. Hunters’ songs, like the angry, slacker-filled “Deadbeat,” may not speak directly to bliss or sensuality. It’s a noisy, gruff and feedback-driven romance for certain. But love is funny that way.
Their relationship evolved from pals and players to romantic partners not too long after they started playing together seriously.
“It was a slow evolution from friends to partners for sure, but our relationship did change,” she says.
Watson laughs when asked how love affected their music. “I think it was important to make sure that what we had between us at the very start of getting to know each other stayed a part of our relationship. We’re really lucky that we didn’t start the band while were [first] dating. That could have turned into a whole mess.”
The main thing that didn’t change between the two: heavy metal.
“Actually, it was metal that brought us together,” says Almeida. “That’s what we were talking about when we decided to hang out in the first place.”
Sure, they’ll mention Sonic Youth and godheadSilo as influences on their catty sound, and you can hear My Bloody Valentine in their approach to fuzz, but the pair really perk up when you say you hear a bit of Metallica in some of their crunchier songs.
“Metallica was one of the bands I was listening to when I learned how to play guitar, so it’s in there,” says Watson.
“It would be fun if every time we wrote a song we were trying to write a Metallica song. It would be our songwriting secret,” says Almeida.
After living in Brooklyn for a decade, the two moved to Philadelphia earlier this year.
Once upon a time, bands had to be from New York City or one of its boroughs to be considered vanguard, cool or worthy of being signed. Acts were willing to hole up in the dingiest, most cramped conditions just to say they were from the Big Apple, Brooklyn or Queens.
One thing they love about Philly: all the house shows (like the one they’ll play this weekend, for which we cannot print the name and address). “House shows and all-ages, DIY venues are usually the best way to go, even considering the fact that the locations have to change because they get found out and closed. There aren’t too many house shows in New York, though.”
The cost of living was a big factor. “Philadelphia is more affordable with way more space, and it’s completely mellower,” says Almeida. “We can be more productive that way.” Besides, why pay rent if you’re always on the road? The bigger Hunters has gotten, the more they’ve toured — especially since they signed to the Mom + Pop label.
“We really got tired of subletting our apartment in Brooklyn, and quite frankly were annoyed to have to rent it out to total strangers,” she says.
“Philly is just really fun and everybody here is awesome,” she concludes with a giggle.
Give ’em another year.
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