Singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer Will Hunt knows a thing or two about musical heritage. His father, Bill Hunt, was a member of 70s behemoths ELO and Wizzard, while his cousin Miles formed the seminal indie outfit – The Wonder Stuff. In turn, he has spent a lot of time writing for other artists, as well as a spell with Sony/Colombia Records producing lush poppy dubstep as Dansette Junior. Since then he’s changed both location and direction. He’s recorded a critically-acclaimed single with his father, as well as selling a range of their own ales across London. Hunt has also moved down to Brighton & Hove, developing a new sound which is truly his own and dictated by the needs of a major label.
He now trades in a thoughtful brand of alt folk, becoming a regular feature on the local live circuit. His self-released album – Momentary Romance – is out now, and he’s all set to make an appearance at The Great Escape in Brighton this month. That’s more than enough great excuses to grab a chat with him.
How long ago did you move to Brighton?
Six months, wish I’d done it sooner but… (you make plans then life happens!)
What made you want to move to the city?
I’d been kicked out of everywhere in Kentish Town, where I moved from.
In what ways has the live scene changed since you’ve been here?
I haven’t been here long enough to comment but it’s great to see a place that caters heavily for live music and so many people with guitars on their backs. I feel like in Brighton there’s time to stop, smell the roses and paint them.
What are the biggest challenges facing music in Brighton & Hove?
I’m yet to find out but challenges aren’t always a bad thing!
What does the future hold for the city’s music culture?
I hope that Brighton keeps on keeping on. There’s a good energy and that comes from the people. Right-on Bright-on
What influences can we hear in your music?
I grew up listening to harmony groups like The Four Freshman, Beach Boys, ELO (for obvious reasons) and their string arrangements. We had a lot of old 78’s in the house that we picked up in the states such as Tom Waits, Chet Baker, Ray Charles. More modern influences would be The Divine Comedy.
How much input have you had from your musician relatives?
I haven’t really had any input, apart from support and encouragement but maybe if they were doctors I would be doing something else
How do you think events like The Great Escape help emerging artists?
I think these kind of events are great for people to see all kinds of acts. I especially like the ‘alternative’ ‘fringe’ gigs where loads more interesting stuff goes on. It’s a great place for acts to meet too.
Is there any other acts you’ll be checking out at TGE2017?
Sadly, I have a weekend of gigs myself in The Midlands but I hope to see a few acts either side of mine at The Fiddlers Elbow.
While the rise of social media brought a new way to platform music without mainstream media, how has it affected the live circuit?
I think more people are discovering more talent with the likes of Youtube, Spotify etc, so for new emerging acts it gives them a sense of presence and the opportunity to get more people to their shows without having to fork out the £££’s to PR, promoters, pluggers etc. A dying breed…
Will Hunt plays at The Fiddlers Elbow, on Thurs 18 May at 3pm, as part of The Great Escape 2017.