Those in attendance for dark trap rocker Mike’s Dead’s show late last month at Warehouse on Watts were treated to a deliciously devious set from immediate support act The Haunt, a brother/sister band – who have been making music together for a decade, originally as AnastasiaMax, before transitioning to their current moniker in 2017 — based in Florida, who churn out synthy, industrial-tinged alt-rock reminiscent of the gothy golden years of Hot Topic. And the band’s performance featured Anastasia Grace Haunt (vocals) and Maxamillion “Max” Haunt (vocals, guitar, production), decked out in duds equal-parts fetish party and séance, thrashing about the nightclub’s stage in a manner that could’ve stolen the show on the second stage of Ozzfest or Warped Tour in the early aughts.
In addition to the Haunt siblings, The Haunt are rounded out by bassist Nat Smallish and drummer Nick Lewart, and last month the band released break-up anthem “I’m Done,” co-produced by Max and Lewert, and mixed and mastered by Kevin Thrasher (Blink-182, Avril Lavigne, Machine Gun Kelly). The track features lines like, “Love burns on my skin. It hurts, I can’t win,” and, “How you caught me in this spell. Hope you learn to blame yourself,” perfect for angsty teens looking for alt-pop profundity to grace the covers of their notebooks and diaries, along with riffs worthy of collaborations with any of the acts on Thrasher’s resume. The song’s music video was inspired by supernatural horror classic Poltergeist, which is beyond fitting.
I recently got a chance to squeeze in a phone chat with Max and Anastasia, as they wrapped up their dates with Mike’s Dead, prior to a quick break, before once again returning to the road… “We’ve been on the road for about two weeks, and then we have a little break. This tour’s been great length-wise, compared to some of the longer ones, like each of the tours with The Hu were three months each,” Max tells me. In addition to several tours supporting the Mongolian folk metal outfit, they’ve also had numerous stints supporting fashion-art rockers Palaye Royale, and just last month they opened two nights for alt-rock legends Filter.
When I ask Max and Anastasia about their biggest influences, they tell me that they’re quite indebted to their family. “Our parents — who had us when they were young — were very big music people, not musicians, but music fans, so we listened to a lot of ‘90s hip hop, and early 2000s rock,” says Max, before going on to say that there were two acts that proved to be exceptionally influential for him: “The White Stripes were always one of our favorites, I think at least partially because we started as a two-piece garage band… The first concert I ever went to was Nine Inch Nails, and that cemented me wanting to be a musician.” Anastasia tells me that she’s a particularly big fan of Billie Holiday and Amy Winehouse, and that her stage performances are inspired by the likes of Queen, Jim Morrison, and Stevie Nicks.
The Haunt’s upcoming dates, which kick off 6/19 in Cleveland and include a 6/29 show at our own Silk City, will have them double-headlining with glam rockers Starbenders, who were also here last month, when they provided direct support for Cobra Man at Underground Arts. Although the two bands are not yet intimately acquainted, they do share mutual friends in Palaye Royale, having both opened for the band. And while the siblings tell me that their recent dates with Mike’s Dead have required a shorter set (Max describes it as, “the headbanging set,” and Anastasia characterizes is as, “30 minutes of raging.”), Max tells me that their dates with Starbenders will give fans the opportunity to experience The Haunt more fully: “It’s double-headlining, so it’ll be an hour-long set, with a bunch of new music, not this 30-minute set that we’re doing right now. It’ll have highs and lows, and we’ll be able to do our real thing.”
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