Unsigned band Hunter & The Bear talks ahead of Birmingham gig

Combining melodic sensibility and riff-laden tunes, Hunter & The Bear bring their unique sound to a headline performance at O2 Institute Birmingham on June 17.

The group released Paper Heart, their debut album, on May 12.

Formed in 2013, they’ve have already supported Eric Clapton, Simple Minds and Van Morrison as well as played some of the biggest festivals in the UK including Reading and Leeds, T in the Park and Hard Rock Calling.The Ticket had the chance to chat with bassist Chris Clark about their career so far, and what the future holds.

Growing up in Shrewsbury, Chris moved to London four and a half years ago in the hope of pursuing a career in the music industry.

Through mutual friends and an audition in which he was the only one to turn up found himself recruited as the bassist in Hunter & The Bear.

The group features vocalist Will Irvine from the Scottish village of Achiltibuie; lead guitarist Jimmy Hunter from Glasgow; and Brighton-born Gareth Thompson on drums.

“There are plenty of incredible musicians, they just don’t have anywhere to play,” says Chris on Shrewsbury’s music scene. “I used to play jam nights around the Shrewsbury and in the Bishops Castle area and still very much enjoy coming back to the area.”

Their career so far has had many highlights: the success of releasing a debut album, selling out a Scottish tour and an upcoming tour across the UK.

“We’ve had some wild experiences from playing festivals such as Reading and T in the Park to supporting Eric Clapton and visiting the east coast of America.

“Our best experiences are travelling around and playing music.”

“We self financed the whole record ourselves as an unsigned band, recording tracks between Glasgow where lead guitarist Jimmy is from and various studios around London including The Pool Recording Studios (Tom Odell, Mumford & Sons, Florence & The Machine).”

When asked about the release of their debut album Paper Heart, he says: “In terms of creating hype for the record, we filmed a music video for each song we recorded that were put out before the release that saw us reaching number eight on the iTunes Rock Chart which is a great achievement for us.”

Looking forward to the year ahead there’s an upcoming UK tour with many of the dates either already sold out or selling well, and a number of support slots and festival dates still to be announced. There’s also another UK tour in the pipeline for later in the year with a Midlands date expected to be announced.

In terms of artists that readers should check out, Chris recommends November Lights, who supported the band on their recent Scottish tour, as well as Model Aeroplanes, who’ll appear with them on their upcoming UK tour.

Hunter & The Bear play O2 Institute Birmingham on June 17. Paper Heart is out now.

l Are you an Unsigned act? Would you like to appear on this page? Email daniel.earl@expressandstar.co.uk

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