Hunter Hunted | Crafting Happiness

prof hunter-hunted_smThere’s nothing like going on stage and seeing a sea of faces slowly start to grin and smile as they soak in your music and give you their nod of approval.



Hunter Hunted’s music is like an earworm—in the best possible way. Los Angeles duo Michael Garner and Dan Chang write tunes that are catchy and sincere, heartfelt and cerebral. The 11 tracks on their brand-new FreeSolo/RCA Records release, Ready for You, bring a smile to your face, make you feel good, and reaffirm that everything is all right in the world—at least for today. The band’s live show extends the reach of the music, moving it from your ears to your heart.

Chang was nice enough to take some time out of his busy touring schedule to answer a few questions for us.

prof hunter-hunted

I saw you at Summit Music Hall with Smallpools and fell in love: great songs, great stage presence, great banter; now you’re co-headlining your own tour with Young Rising Sons. Name one thing about opening and headlining that makes it the best in the world.

As an opening band, you get the opportunity to be discovered by new fans, which is one of the best feelings in the world. There’s nothing like going on stage and seeing a sea of faces look at you with a blank stare, only to have them slowly start to grin and smile as they soak in your music and give you their nod of approval.

As a headlining band, it’s great to see familiar faces in the crowd where they once were strangers. It’s these people who come back that give life into the music and what we are doing. Headlining is also great because you have the freedom to be more creative and expressive with your set. On this run, we started to focus more on lighting and other production ideas on stage that really help enhance the show. We get to play a longer set that allows for more dynamics in the show. Oh, and having the bigger green room is a nice bonus.

Your music is the perfect anthem for summer, and beyond. Do you have as much fun writing it as we do listening to it?

Haha. I think it might be more fun listening. The journey of writing a song is a little more emotive, where “fun” falls just on one end of the spectrum. There are other times when you’re more engrossed emotionally in what that one lyric should be or how that musical transition should proceed. But it definitely becomes more and more fun when you see the song come into fruition.

Who were your musical idols? How did their music/personas shape you as songwriters and performers?

I grew up listening to a lot of musicals, so there is an inherent nature of storytelling in my songwriting process that definitely took shape from writers such as Jonathan Larson and Stephen Sondheim. Additionally, I watched a lot of Disney movies with my brother and sisters growing up, so melody has also always been a really important part of my writing process, as well.

I love that your press release says Ready for You is “tailor-made to engineer happiness.” When writing and recording songs, how do you keep this focus?

It doesn’t take much for us to create happy music. Even when the song has a more somber message or tone, it still comes across as joyful because we are by nature positive, gregarious people. In fact, most of our songs actually contain a lot of sad lyrical undertones complemented with more upbeat positive music. It’s that juxtaposition that keeps things interesting.

Explain your pre-release quote that you “wanted to write songs that were both tiny and huge.”

Michael and I met while auditioning for an a cappella group in college. We first started playing music together as a duo with just a guitar and piano. As our music evolved and grew sonically, and we started adding more instrumentation, the songs started to get bigger and more dramatic. While we love that our music has grown into this, we realized that the best songs were the ones that could be stripped of their bells and whistles and still captivate an audience with just our most raw instruments, two voices, a guitar, and a piano. So for us, the perfect song is one that can be both tiny and huge. | Laura Hamlett

Hunter Hunted‘s 20-date co-headlining tour with Young Rising Sons makes a stop at Denver’s Bluebird Theater on Sun., July 26. Remaining tour dates are below:

07.21 | Vancouver, BC: The Media Club
07.23 | Spokane, WA: The Pin
07.24 | Boise: Neurolux
07.25 | Salt Lake City: Kilby Court
07.26 | Denver: The Bluebird Theater
07.28 | Omaha: The Waiting Room
07.29 | Kansas City: The Riot Room
07.30 | Indianapolis: The Hi-Fi
07.31 | Grand Rapids: The Pyramid Scheme
08.03 | Washington DC: U Street Music Hall
08.04 | Pawtucket, RI: The Met
08.05 | Cambridge, MA: The Sinclair
08.07 | New York: The Highline Ballroom
08.08 | Pittsburgh: Stage AE

About Laura Hamlett 467 Articles
Laura Hamlett is the Managing Editor of PLAYBACK:stl. In a past life, she was also a music publicist and band manager. Besides music, books, and other forms of popular culture, she's a fan of the psychology behind true crime and violent criminals. Ask her about mass murder...if you dare.

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