Shy Hunters have characterized their debut album as, “A record about white-light-joy and black-hole-suffering, and the thin membrane that often separates them.” If that’s not enough to get you to give it a spin, then I seriously doubt I am eloquent enough to convince you. That album is O That I Had Wings and it drops February 18th. It is indeed morbidly popular and popularly morbid, reminiscent of the postmodern pop musicians of the 1980s, who could seamlessly blend sonic subversions with the delectably pretty in a manner that spoke to both the musically high-minded and the masses.
Brooklyn’s Shy Hunters are vocalist/guitarist Indigo Street and drummer Sam Levin. They first came together in 2009, when they were in the same noise band, in addition to each playing the role of supporting musicians to a bevy of big names, like Yoko Ono and Jolie Holland. Shy Hunters, however, represents their own aesthetic and that sound that they’ve been longing to kick out. I got a chance to chat with Indigo Street recently, who tells me that Shy Hunters already have new music well in the works and that they’re hoping to be able to take their sounds to the road in the near future. Until then, and the February 18th release of O That I Had Wings, they will be playing Baby’s All Right in Brooklyn on Saturday, January 4th.
Izzy Cihak: So this is still a relatively new musical project. What have been the highlights of Shy Hunters, thus far?
Indigo Street: Recording with Alex Newport (Bloc Party, Melvins, Mars Volta), who produced and mixed the record. Getting to work with Alex made us feel that we must, after all, be doing something right. It was really amazing to have the support of someone so adept and skilled, and all around great to work with.
Izzy: And what do you feel is most important for fans and potential fans to know about the band?
Indigo: Hmm, that I’m not actually in a bad mood, I’m just concentrating really deeply, because it’s hard to play lead guitar and sing at the same time. I’m having a really good time, I swear. My face just looks like that.
Izzy: Your debut LP drops in February. What were the album’s most significant influences and inspirations, both musical and otherwise?
Indigo: Musically, it’s very 80’s – early 90’s. Peter Gabriel, Kate Bush, Talk Talk, Prince. Human stories, fiction – The band name is taken from the wonderful Tom Spanbauer novel, In The City Of Shy Hunters.
Izzy: Your press release mentions both David Lynch and Angelo Badalamenti and your sound does seem to be “cinematic” in some way. Is there anything to that? If so, do you have any additional especially significant inspirations from the world of cinema? (While we’re at it, I’m currently watching your video for “Time Bomb,” which is totally cool.)
Indigo: David Lynch, for sure. I just love that whole aesthetic of things being slightly off or having a disturbed or melancholy undertone. And the marriage of his films with the sort of icily sweet Badalamenti music is perfect. Taxi Driver was a big influence on me. I’ve probably seen it 30 times. The score (by Bernard Hermann) is one of my all time favorites. I love how continuous and emotional it is, all of a piece. The music really captures that alienated and lonely feeling in such a beautiful and artistic way. The Sergio Leone film Once Upon a time in The West is another great example. The characters each have their own theme music, which is singular and unique, and absolutely captures and enhances our experience of the essence of that character. Our songs are definitely like that. Each piece is a complete environment or mood that is very much one idea.
Izzy: What are you most excited for in 2014? What do you have in the works, in addition to the release of your LP?
Indigo: We’re hoping to start touring a bunch and, in the meantime, we’re working on the next record. We actually have a surprising amount of material for it already, which is pretty exciting. We’re also starting to get into film scoring, so hopefully there will be more of that work coming in over the next year. Scoring is really fun and satisfying because you get to set aside your own creative vision for a little while, and have an assignment that isn’t self generated.