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| 28 January 2022 | Reply

Photo credit: Todd Jolicoeur – Toddstar Photo

According to a recent press release: “Shaman’s Harvest and Mascot Records / Mascot Label Group have released “Pretty People” featuring Sevendust’s Clint Lowery in front of the band’s upcoming studio album release REBELATOR. The band will tour as direct support for Theory Of A Deadman from February 15 through March 13. The band will also appear at Welcome To Rockville in Jacksonville, FL on Thursday, May 19 with KISS, Five Finger Death Punch, Papa Roach, Mammoth WVH and others.  A complete itinerary follows below. Hunt offers, “Finally we can get back to doing the thing that called us to music in the first place. Connecting with lovers of music in a way you only can by playing live shows. And we get to start off the year with a group of guys we respect and dig playing with. I think if we can take all the necessary precautions and keep the tour gods on our side, we can be a part of making ‘22 the year we all deserve.” Shaman’s Harvest is vocalist Nathan Hunt, guitarist Josh Hamler and Derrick Shipp, and drummer Adam Zemanek.” We got frontman Nathan on the phone to discuss new music, touring, and much more…

Toddstar: Nate, thank you so much for taking time out of your schedule. You guys got some exciting stuff coming up, so I appreciate the time. We’ll talk about all kinds of stuff, but let’s start with you guys just dropped a cool single, “Pretty People.” What can you tell us about this track that your fans might or might not grab the first time they listened through this?

Nathan: You know, I mean, I think it’s just a slinky kind of, I don’t know, reminisce of some grunge days. So it’s got some 90’s vibe to it. But we tried to just keep it to the stuff we liked about the 90’s. And it was our very first time we’ve ever really written with another artist. Which was kind of terrifying and rewarding all at the same time. It’s got a lot of life. I mean, it goes, it soars in the choruses. So, it’s a high energy track, I think.

Toddstar: I really like it. It took me a second listen to really be able to dig in and grab some of the hooks and everything out of it. I think I went about nine times straight through the track before I gave it a rest. What I like about this track is you guys show, like you said, some of your influences while keeping it in line with the Shaman’s Harvest sound, but also showing some of the growth. How important is it for you guys to kind of keep those three components in place when you’re putting music together?

Nathan: I mean, it’s probably, I mean, that’s probably everything really. Usually, 99% of the time, just because we’re the players every time, it’s always going to have a Shaman’s vibe to it. I mean, I don’t care if we make a children’s album tomorrow. It’s still going to feel like Shaman’s Harvest. So that’s really not too much of a concern because I’m always trying to keep it fresh. I think all of us really want to mix it up between, not even just between albums, but between tracks within the album. So, it just keeps it exciting for us. And then hopefully that translates to the fans. You know, hopefully they’re not trying to hear “In Chains” over and over, or whatever it may be. So, and then having the influence come through is, that’s another thing that’s just kind of natural.

Toddstar: Well, the one thing I’ve always liked about your music, and I’ve talked to you about this both in person and in a previous interview, is the fact that when you guys listen to your music, the era and everything, like you said, you get that kind of 90’s grunge kind of feel, but to me, it’s such a weird twist on the music. You guys don’t have that vibe in the sound, it’s just in the groove underneath, if that makes sense.

Nathan: Yeah. No, absolutely. And that’s probably where it should be. The sound’s evolved in the last whatever, 20, 30 years. So it should definitely be well, just more polished I think. There’s some songs that you want to be just real dirty and nasty and harsh. But they’re pretty few and far between for us. I mean, we want big giant drums, and we want a wall of guitars. But we want to be able to hear the notes. Because you take the time to lay it down, it should be heard. And that’s the bummer with some of the stuff from that era, is that some things get lost in the translation.

Toddstar: So true. Well, I’m excited. I’m going to see you guys in a new venue to me shortly here. You guys have got a tour with Theory coming up. I’m going to see you down here in Florida, in the Tampa area. Not my normal stomping grounds; we’ve chatted and had a drink at one of my favorite venues in the world, The Machine Shop.

Nathan: Sure. Yeah. That’s quite the move there, man, from The Machine Shop to Tampa.

Toddstar: But I got old and I can play snowbird now. So in the summer, I’ll hang out with Kevin and Minty. And during the winter I’ll be down here where there’s no snow.

Nathan: Smart man.

Toddstar: Yeah. And by the way, I want to thank you for the great quote you gave me about The Machine Shop and Minty for the latest Minty Pics book that he put out recently. That was very cool.

Nathan: I hope he keeps putting them out. They’re little snapshots of the culture.

Toddstar: Absolutely. While on the of culture, what is it about you and Shaman’s Harvest that seems like you guys are cut perfectly for The Machine Shop? What is it about you guys and The Machine Shop that just makes it the perfect mix when you hit the stage there?

Nathan: I’d say that there’s probably similar backgrounds. We’re kind of Midwest, well Southern Midwest people, but we’re Midwest people. We’re all blue collar kind of guys. That’s how we grew up. That’s who our parents are. And we don’t get hung up on, I don’t know, whatever a “rock star” means. We’ve never really gotten hung up on that. We just, we want to hang out and experience the show just as much as the people that come out do. And the other thing that’s great is like, almost everybody works at The Machine Shop. The reason why it works is because that place is always packed, it seems like. I don’t care who’s coming through. I don’t, I mean, if Barney showed up tomorrow, I feel like the place will be packed. It just, people just want to hear live music up there. Which is, sadly, that’s kind of a dying thing. So maybe they’ll be the last holdout, this little island.

Toddstar: We can always hope. With that said, you guys put out the dates, I think through Rockville. You are going out with Theory. So you will have some dates under your belt with the new material both before and after it’s dropped. What are some of the songs from the new album you’re really hoping that you guys can bring across and let the fans grab and run with?

Nathan: There’s a lot of anthemic, everything feels like, there’s a lot of anthems on this record. And I think all of those will translate live. Anytime the crowd can get behind it and sing along, I feel like we’ll be at the success. So I mean, “Voices” is one, it’s been out long enough that hopefully people have added that to their playlist throughout their day and know the words. And I think “Pretty People” will be out for a couple months. That’s a good sing along vibe. And some of them, what’s really great about “Voices” is there’s like two minute long guitar solo. So it gives me a break from singing, and I can just go to the side of the stage and have a beer.

Photo credit: Adrienne Beacco

Toddstar: There you go. In that same breath, Nate, what are the couple of songs from your catalog that no matter how much music you guys keep putting out, no matter how much the tides turn and the scene changes, that you know will just always be part of Shaman’s Harvest’s live set?

Nathan: Well, “In Chains” will always be there, I’m imagining. “Dragonfly.” We’ve ended the set with “Dragonfly” for 10 years now. I can’t imagine, I don’t think we could get away without playing that song. I think if we left the stage without playing that song, we’d get strung up behind the club. We’ve brought back “Blood in the Water,” which is from the Smokin’ Hearts & Broken Guns record, just because it’s just, it’s such, I like it on the record fine. But it’s such a live song that it just needs to, it needs to be played. Yeah. Some of those songs… there’s quite a few of those stuff off of Smokin’ Hearts & Broken Guns that I hope we always can play. And I think they’re expected.

Toddstar: That’s the album for me that always stands out. When I’m going to go through your catalog, that’s going to be the first one I play, and it’s going to be the last one I play. There’s something on there that I just actually love. I don’t care how cool the original is, your cover of Dirty Diana just nailed it for me. It has all of the swagger and balls of anything I’ve ever heard.

Nathan: That’s another example, that’s an example of being in studio, paying for studio time, and not having any more material to record. And someone just goes, “Hey, how about this? And it just kind of took off from there. What I like about that song is that it is so different from the original. It’s a little more blues-y, I guess. A little more soulful from a blues standpoint. So that’s kind of one of the things, it’s just one of those happy accidents, that happened in the studio that just kind of become, it kind of starts, it becomes part of your identity as a band.

Toddstar: Nate, you guys have done tours, you’ve done albums, and you’ve recorded some stuff that maybe you regret, maybe you don’t. Looking back, are there any missteps you wish you had another crack at, even if it didn’t change the end result?

Nathan: Probably. I don’t know. I mean, you hate to say that you’d do anything different. And most of the things, most of the things we were going to, that have benefited us in the past was, we just took a left instead of a right by accident. And it just kind of, we were going to call it quits a long, long time ago. And we recorded a demo basically. And ‘Dragonfly’ took off. And it kept us going. And it’s always these moments, these just chance moments. So, it’s kind of hard to say if we would’ve made any changes, because of everything, when the things that really take off for a band are usually, usually it’s shit you didn’t plan on. So, I’d hate to, maybe earlier on, taking it more serious, not trying to be a rock star or a party animal, maybe. Maybe trying to do that. But again, that’s, it’s kind of who we are. It’s kind of part of our identity.

Toddstar: Well, that said, you mentioned earlier how music has changed and evolved and matured over 20 or 30 years. You guys are approaching, you’re in year 26 of doing this.

Nathan: Whoa.

Photo credit: Todd Jolicoeur – Toddstar Photo

Toddstar: If you could go back, talk to young Nate Hunt back in 1996, when you were putting this together, knowing what you know now. What piece of advice would you give yourself back then?

Nathan: Oh, just don’t get caught up on the small shit. Don’t try to be anyone’s sound. Don’t try to copy anything that you’ve heard out there that’s doing well. Because you can never, you can’t really ever duplicate it. I would just reaffirm that that’s the way to go. Reaffirm that, just let me know that that’s okay to walk your own path musically. And it’s going to work out.

Toddstar: Awesome. I liked your little hesitation and reaction when I mentioned that it’s been 26 years. Does it feel like it?

Nathan: No, no, man. I mean, it’s wild. Really, each record cycle seems like it’s a different lifetime ago. Even if, whether it’s been five years since the last record, or two. It just, you evolve so much that you’re almost a completely different person. You’re a different musician. You write to your strengths as your strengths change. So, in one sense, yeah, it seems like it’s been a million lifetimes ago when we started. But I can still remember sitting in our parents’ basement writing some of our first material like it was yesterday.

Toddstar: It’s like they say, if you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life.

Nathan: That’s right.

Toddstar: Well listen, I appreciate the time. I’m hoping when summer swings around, you guys will be out on that tour circuit. And we’ll get to do this all again, up at one of our favorite joints, The Machine Shop.

Nathan: Guarantee it. Sounds good to me, man.






Category: Interviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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