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Interview with Hunter James & The Titanic - Local Denver Music

Interview With Hunter James and The Titanic

You all know me – I love our local music scene. So, I was thrilled to get on a call with Hunter James, a Denver musician and singer I have known for years. He has played in other Denver bands and on his own, but now he has formed a more solid group in Hunter James and The Titanic.

The band has released two albums thus far and show no signs of stopping. The latest release, La Liberte, is is about “finding joy and meaning amongst the trudge of everyday existence.” Hunter James and The Titanic played at Local 46 last week and is planning a winter tour right now. Watch out for those dates on my concert calendar!

Interview with Hunter James & The Titanic - Local Denver Music


Hunter James Interview


Aimee:
Get through COVID, okay?

Hunter:
Got through COVID, okay. Built a studio in my garage. That was my COVID projects.

Aimee:
Good.

Hunter:
So, obviously what was happening in the world was awful, but it kind of gave me a little pause, a little time to reflect and kind of dig into what I wanted to do, what I wanted to work on sort of a lot of the noise of the world went away for a little while. So it was an equally awful and evolutionary experience.

Aimee:
Well, for those who don’t know you, can you just kind of tell the quick version of how we got to here.

Hunter:
Yeah, sure. The band is called Hunter James and the Titanic. I wanted to start a group with a really focused style and sounds because in the past I sort of have written a lot of different genres. I was just more and more called to sort of do these roots, Americana rock-and-roll projects, and really get all the players that I kind of have known about over the last five, six, seven years together. Slide guitar players and organ players and drummer and bass player. I guess we had our first show three or four; it was about four years ago, but then it was Hunter James’ Band. We only just became Hunter James and the Titanic, which is a little bit of an homage to Led Zeppelin.

Aimee:
Okay, explain that please.

Hunter:
It’s a large vessel that met a tragic demise. They were named after the Zeppelin; the gas explosion that happened in the 1930s, and I kind of just liked this idea of this huge ship or piece of transportation that is destroyed. Obviously, those were both tragedies. It’s awful, but kind of reflecting on that tragedy in the name, to me, it has interest to it.

Aimee:
And good job – it’s more Googleable.

Hunter:
That’s right. We recorded a couple of records and our first one we did with Joe Richmond. He kind of opened up my world as far as recording and recording techniques and ways you can record because he was never in a studio, he was just this freelance producer and he had this collection of gear, pre-amps and compressors and EQs and sort of just did it wherever he pleased. He had an old office space on Tennyson. When we started recording, we were recording at his house and it just kind of blew my mind that rather than having to go to a capital S studio, you could sort of just compile maybe 20 to $30,000 of really nice high-end recording gear and kind of make records yourself in there. Almost you get a better sound doing it. I mean, there’s obviously wonderful studios, but you can really take your time when you’re not working on the clock.

Aimee:
Yeah. You don’t have that time pressure of every minute, you’re just thinking in your head how much you’re spending.

Hunter:
Yeah, exactly. And there’s not that pressure of like, oh, we better have some good ideas and we better play really well today because we’re spending $2,000 on the studio day. It’s a little bit more casual in really like the best of ways.

Aimee:
Do you find that you ended up tinkering with stuff forever in a day though, from that side?

Hunter:
Yeah. That’s a great question. I kind of am a person that has the mentality of, let’s just finish it, whatever it is. It’s just a snapshot in time. What am I trying to say?

Aimee:
I think “snapshot in time” is a really good way of expressing it because also, there’s no reason you can’t play it differently, live or re-record or whatever. I like that idea of thinking of a song being recorded with that mentality.

Hunter:
Yeah. And I try not to think of if something is better or worse. I just try to think about, what is it? Because in our age, you can make everything perfect in the computer. So, you can quantize everything and you can pitch correct everything. But that a lot of times, like the “objectively” more perfect version, is not the thing that speaks more. It’s not also the thing that’s more reflective of the human experience because we’re all very flawed and imperfect and fucked up. So just the right amount of perfection is good, but if it gets too perfect, if may be really sterile.

Aimee:
Yeah. So what are your plans now that, hopefully the world is kind of opening back up, will you start playing shows or what are you thinking?

Hunter:
Yeah. We’re working on putting together kind of a regional tour in December and in January, going through Nebraska, Wyoming, Arizona, New Mexico. The plan is just to get out onto the road a little bit now that we have kind of two albums under our belt and we really have been working so hard writing and recording, and it feels finally like it’s time to kind of go play that music on the road.

Aimee:
That’s great. How does the songwriting work as a band?

Hunter:
We’re really becoming a lot more collaborative as far as the writing goes. Previously I wrote all the songs. I’m Hunter James, and the band is sort of supporting my songs, but we’ve really become a lot more of a collaborative entity because I’ve always wanted to be in a band. Obviously, I was in the band Pedals of Spain, with Wesley (Watkins) and Nic (Jay), and we had a great time. I think we had just very different styles of writing, and so it was very spectrum of the rainbow. With this group, I wanted it to be more focused as far as the music we’re creating.

Aimee:
Sure, sure. You’re recording new music as well. Do you have any plan on when that’s going to be released or is it just going to get there when it gets there?

Hunter:
Yeah. We’re planning on putting out maybe three or four more songs. Another little EP when we go on tour in December. So, that’s coming up and then we’re going to push to put out another full-length record sometime next spring.

Aimee:
So much! Can’t wait to hear it – and see you guys again live!

Interview with Hunter James & The Titanic - Local Denver Music


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