Getting to know the band Huntertones

Huntertones - Promo

  1. How did the Huntertones first form as a band? Who are all the members?

We formed when we met in College at Ohio State University. We played in a student ensemble together and eventually me (Jon), Dan, and Chris started writing music for the group band outside of the school setting. Members are me (Jon Lampley)-trumpet/sousaphone, Dan White (saxophones), Chris Ott (trombone/beatbox), Adam Deascentis(Bass), Josh Hill(guitar), and John Hubbell (drums). There are other guys who will sub in and out in the rhythm section, but that’s the core band. -Jon

 

  1. What did each member do before this band started?

We all studied music in college and were collaborating with a lot of other musicians around Ohio while in school.  Dan and I also spent a few summers performing at Disneyland with the All-American College Band, and Lampley started doing tours with the rock band O.A.R. and soul singer Allen Stone.  Our guitarist Josh has been on the Columbus scene for a while and still plays with some great local bands, Bird Shack, and the Hoodoo Soul Band when not playing with HT.  Our drummer John Hubbell actually first got a degree in classical bass and music history before starting drums.  He’s done quite of bit of engineering and mixing work in the studio as well. Adam is the youngest member, and is currently doing a music business masters degree at NYU. He also frequently works with Broadway singers and plays for musical theater showcases.  As working musicians in New York we all continue to collaborate with a variety of bands/artists, I played for a touring production of Guys and Dolls for 6 months, Lampley and I have played with Ricky Martin, and Lampley has recently appeared on the Late Show with Colbert as a part of Jon Batiste and Stay Human.

-Chris

 

  1. When and why did you all move to New york?

Myself, Dan, and Chris moved to Brooklyn in March of 2014. We had grown a lot individually and as a band in Columbus but we felt for our own careers and for the band to be able to gain more national exposure we needed to move to a city with more opportunity. We already had a small network of musicians and friends in NYC so after talking it over Dan, Chris, and I made the move together. John Hubbell had already been living in NY for grad school and Adam moved shortly after us to start grad school at NYU. -Jon

 

  1. Why the name Huntertones?

When the band started, Dan was writing most of the music so we went by the Dan White Sextet. As Chris and I started to write more music for the band during our first 3 albums, we decided a new name would be a more accurate reflection of the band and also allow our music to be accessible to more listeners. The name is sort of a tribute to Columbus where we formed. It comes from the house that Dan, Chris, Adam and I lived in during our time at Ohio State, which was located on Hunter Avenue. We started to build our following at this apartment by having house shows in the basement. -Jon

 

  1. Who are your biggest musical influences?

Too many to name…Louis Armstrong, Oscar Peterson, John Coltrane, Stevie Wonder, Led Zeppelin, Michael Jackson, Earth Wind and Fire, D’Angelo, Snarky Puppy.  -Jon, Dan,Chri

 

  1. As an instrumental band it’s tough as it is in this day and age in musical, how do you want to influence the world of music world with your tunes?

Being an instrumental band does present its challenges. I think our goal is just to make good music, writing things that we enjoy and that we’ll think audiences will enjoy.  A lot of times we’re playing for crowds that have never heard us…it’s fun to see how new listeners react.  I think our music is accessible to a very broad audience, from fans of jazz, rock, blues, funk, soul…we’re able to reach people in all of those areas.  Our sound is a unique blend of many influences, I think giving people an energetic variety has been a part of our sound since the early days of the band.  Although we cover a lot of genres, we’ve definitely developed a certain style and signature sound that makes Huntertones a unique voice.  There aren’t many groups where the horns are out front carrying the melody the whole time, we also take pride in our adventurous arrangements.  There is still a lot of spontaneous improvisation, but we strive to create great songs that will keep the listener interested, not just verse chorus solo chorus end.  One of our signature characteristics is also the ability to switch instruments, Lampley pulls out the sousaphone and I do some beatboxing.  Crowds really enjoy seeing this unorthodox combo and we do some recognizable songs in creative ways.  Overall we want listeners to have fun, shake their hips a little, bob their heads, and enjoy the musical journey. -Chris

 

  1. Since you are releasing an album this november, how much work and time went into creating this album?

The songs on this album were written over the course of the past two/three years so they weren’t brand new for us but they are newer for listeners. We’ve been playing them live for a while now. We only had about 10 hours to get the majority of the album recorded so it was a pretty intense day but being familiar with the music made it a doable task. We handle everything in terms of logistics and production  which makes for a lot of extra work, but in the end it feels good to have a product that is entirely your own. We’re really proud of the new EP and are looking forward to getting that music out in the world! -Jon

 

  1. What message conveys the most from this album that you guys want your listeners to know about?

I think our biggest goal with this album was to try to capture as best we can the live energy of the band in the studio. We love playing music in front of people. There is definitely an energy that an audience bring that lifts us to a new level. With this new record we tried to get as close to that energy as possible, which is definitely a challenge. We’re hoping that listeners feel the energy as they listen to this new EP. – Jon

This album also draws from our experiences the last few years. The music written directly reflects music we’ve been listening to and performing and things that have happened in our lives. -Dan

 

  1. Any advice for other instrumental band’s out there?

Be creative and be versatile! In a world where most people can’t latch on to music unless it has lyrics, you have to find out -of-the box ways to reach those people while remaining true to the tradition of the music that’s come before. Explore all the roles of each instrument and utilize each player’s talents….any instrument in the band can add melody, accompaniment, rhythmic texture, harmony, or bass lines, whether it’s a guitar, a trumpet, piano etc.  Also something we’ve learned over the years and have improved upon is how to put on a good show as performers. Audiences hear with their eyes as much as their ears, and if you’re having a good time on stage that is going to rub off on the crowd and add to the overall vibe of the show. Instrumentalists tend to box themselves into their own little world, connect with the audience, talk to the people! Make them feel like they are part of the show. Of course the quality of music is number one, but being a dynamic performer is also very important. -Jon and Chris

 

  1. Individually I know you guys played with quite a few great artists. If you had a choice to pick any vocalist to sing to your band, who would be the most fitting?

Stevie Wonder. It’s be a dream come true for us and I think his musical influence is in all of our writing anyway. Hoping someday somehow that gets to happen! -All

 

  1. Besides music, what else drives you guys in your daily lives?

Family, faith, friends, Ohio State Football. The overall idea of being a little bit better at something every day, whether that be music, or anything else in life. -Jon Dan Chris

 

huntertones.com

facebook.com/Huntertones

instagram.com/huntertonesband

 

Interview by Leanna Ahmed

What are your thoughts on Huntertones?  Comment below.

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