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Hailing from Watford, Herts, The Hunna – singer/guitarist Ryan Potter, lead guitarist Dan Dorney, bassist Junate Angin and drummer Jack Metcalfe – are four guys living the classic rock ‘n’ roll dream – one of touring, tattoos and tearing up the world’s most iconic venues, and they’ve already got to phenomenal levels of fandom as, largely, a word-of-mouth success story.
The Hunna are back with a thrilling third album and a stonking great attitude that’s alluded to in the title: I’d Rather Die Than Let You In. It was recorded in that most classic of band boltholes, Los Angeles, with crack producer John Feldmann, who achieved great success as the singer of ska punk heroes Goldfinger and went on to produce Blink-182, Fever 333, Twenty One Pilots, Refused, Panic! At The Disco, Black Veil Brides, All Time Low and many more, notching up sales in the tens of millions in the process.
A workday with Feldmann involves surfing trips, morning boxing sessions and afternoon drop-ins from half of LA’s music scene – a far cry from the cold North London studio in which they recorded 2018’s Dare. The whole experience, says Ryan, “was a bit of a mindfuck, in the best way possible.” The producer encouraged the band to work in new ways, freestyling vocals in the booth and recording with great speed – they wrote three songs on their very first day together. The last, written in 20 minutes, became I Wanna Know, which debuted in their 2019 festival sets and opens the album after the introductory One Hell Of A Gory Story… “John Feldmann is one hell of a character,” says Ryan I’ve never met anyone like John, and I couldn’t imagine not knowing him now. He’s such a big part of what we’re doing.”
Feldmann’s methods bore dark fruit, freeing the group to exorcise their demons into music that reveals an intensity of fire and fury that could only come from taking hard knocks and picking themselves back up again. It’s self-assured, confident and – most of all – collaborative, with multiple co-writes and features. Among the guests are some who arrived via Feldmann’s bulging contact book - Pete Wentz of Fall Out Boy stopped by to write a tune and Blink-182’s Travis Barker appears on Cover You.
Some guests came via the band’s connections, like co-writers Carl Barat of The Libertines and Mike Duce of Lower Than Atlantis and up-coming LA singer Phem, the female vocalist on If This Is Love. Phem was someone Ryan had admired from afar who the band met, by chance, at Halsey’s Halloween party (Ryan dressed as Garth from Wayne’s World, Dan went as Marilyn Manson – as did Halsey. Awks). “I heard her music about a year ago and I knew I wanted her for this one track I had,” says Ryan. “Dan was outside for a smoke at the party, he asked a girl for a lighter, they got to talking and it turned out to be Phem. Dan said, ‘I’m pretty sure our lead singer is super into your music…’, he messaged me and I came running out. The track came out better than I’d even imagined.”
With I’d Rather Be Dead Than Let You In, The Hunna haven’t missed a beat in turning their experiences into songs that express life experience beyond the world of fancying girls and relationship troubles that coloured their first two releases. “We're just in a different place,” says Ryan. “The first album especially, we were young lads: fresh, full of life, full of optimism. It went darker on the second album, and now this album is a reflection of everything we've experienced as individuals and as a band.”