Hunter Brothers third studio album Been a Minute dropped with so much support that’s it’s making their dreams come true.
The Hunters Brother’s new album Been a Minute was released on June 30 to all digital platforms and already the accolades have been enormous. On release day, the brothers woke up seeing things like being the faces on Spotify’s All About Country, being added to the playlist New Boots, to the album hitting #1 on the Country Album Chart and #2 All Genres Album Chart on iTunes and they were on the New Music Friday Spotify billboard at the CF Toronto Eaton Centre.
With the brothers pitch perfect signature harmonies and the upbeat tempo of their tunes, this collection is sure to bring “hope, joy, and light to those listening, and that it allows people to look forward to the day when we can all safely gather again and enjoy the beauty of human connection.”
Now … onto my interview with the Fab Five.
I was ecstatic when Canadian Beats asked me to do this interview with the Hunter Brothers. Not only are these five brothers very talented, but they are also kind, humble, and grateful. What more could one ask for in country music artists!
First of all … it’s “been a minute” … hasn’t it. I miss seeing you all in concert. And, we’ll chat about that later. Congratulations on the release of your third album Been a Minute on June 30. I’m excited about this one.
These past 15 months have indeed been a challenge with the pandemic and all that that came with it. We realized just how important music is to our daily lives. We’ve come to know how hard it’s been for artists to get their music out to us and yet they struggled through to get us what we needed and wanted. Now, we are starting to come out of the dark and lonely time to brighter days and hearing (and appreciating) live music again … well … all music really!
I caught up with the Hunter Brothers, via email, to chat about the album, how it came together, what it took to make it, and more. So let’s get to it.
Let’s chat about Been a Minute …
It’s ten tracks that epitomize what you are all about. Your empathy for others, how you cope with the challenges of life, your positive outlook on life, the resilience you always seem to have, and how you all just love having fun.
Tell us a bit about your album and how it came to be? The lyrics seem to be real and from your heart, the kind that people can relate to. Where did your inspiration come from, to be able to put all of that into words and music? And, why you chose “Been a Minute” as the title track of the album.
Been A Minute has been in the works for a year and a half. It started with a couple songs that spoke to the sentiment of the circumstances we were facing in 2020 with “Hard Dirt” and “Just Wanted You To Know,” and evolved more as time went on to being a positive soundtrack for seeing the hope in the future. “Been A Minute” was selected as the title track primarily because it represented how we were all feeling at the time. It really has been a minute (or a year and a half) since life changed so radically. We wanted this song and album to be something that spoke to not only the hardship of the past but also the hope of the future.
You’ve released this album with the added weight of doing is at a time when artists and writers and producers couldn’t gather to work together on the music the way they usually would. How did you accomplish this knowing that everything had to been done remotely? What obstacles or challenges did you face?
Two of the unique components of this project are that almost every vocal was recorded in our home studio and we collaborated with more producers than ever before. After we got home from Nashville in February of 2020, and life started shifting, we finished making our home studio and it quickly became one of the most utilized rooms on the farm. Through different technological advancements and programs, we connected with all sorts of people to help bring the album to life. J.J. has always had an interest in the engineering process and so he quickly figured out how to put that dream into action and he helped facilitate the entirety of the record. It was a very different process, but interestingly enough, very collaborative.
Five-time GRAMMY© Award nominee Hunter Hayes produced and co-wrote three tracks off the album and was a key collaborator in the creative process of recording vocals for the record during a pandemic. What was it like to work with this industry icon? What kind of producer / co-writer was he and what kind of insights did he bring to the table?
Working with Hunter Hayes was a dream come true for us. We actually have a group chat now called “All The Hunters” and it was one of those circumstances that felt like our paths crossed for a very specific reason. Hunter is one of the most creative people we have ever encountered. He hears music in a way that few people do, and on top of that is insanely talented. He had a way of getting into some of the deepest spaces of our vocals and bringing out the authenticity that was beneath the surface. He’s a visionary, and we were so grateful and honoured for the opportunity to work alongside him on this album.
Can you tell us some of the background stories that brought some of your songs to life?
This record really is a compilation of stories about small-town living, family, positivity and growing through hardship. The songs that were selected for the album all represent a part of the story either musically or lyrically in some way shape or form. Songs like “Captain” speak to the complexities and mysterious nature of life, while tracks like “Ask Her To Dance” speak to the importance of living in the moments we have right in front of us. “Just Wanted You To Know” is an anthem of empathy, while “Been A Minute” paints a message of hope for the possibility of new beginnings. We sincerely hope this record as a whole allows people to really enjoy the essence of life, and that it brings positivity to the world around us.
What was the very first tune and the very last tune that you wrote for Been a Minute and what were you feeling as you put pen to paper, so to speak, knowing that these songs would be a part of the compilation of your third album?
The first song we actually wrote for the project was “Just Wanted You To Know.” We didn’t necessarily anticipate this being released, but we wrote it right before Covid shut the world down, so it felt like it was one of those songs that needed to be written when it was. With all the struggle that started unfolding, we couldn’t help but make it a priority to get it recorded at our studio and put it out. The latest song added to the album was “Captain” and it really encapsulated the reality of walking a road of uncertainty, but having the humility to acknowledge that there are circumstances we can’t ultimately control and that it’s okay to say “I don’t know.” It was a song that helped really anchor the project for us, and we are hopeful it will speak to our listeners.
Do you have any fun stories to tell us about in the making of Been a Minute?
One of the most enjoyable things that happened during the making of Been A Minute was when Ty recorded the title track remotely with Hunter. It had truly “Been A Minute” since he had performed and Hunter had him jumping around the studio as if he was performing in a concert, right down to laying on a sofa and practically singing upside down to bring out different nuances of his voice. It was a moment that really stood out. As a whole, the project being created almost entirely from our home studio was an experience in and of itself, and something we won’t quickly forget.
NOTE: I had a chuckle reading this answer and I could envision Ty doing this.
Let’s chat about what else is happening in your lives …
What does it take to be a successful band, to keep everyone happy and especially to keep it all together during the pandemic?
To be completely transparent, the last year and a half has had a lot of ups and downs. Right when you would start getting excited for new changes, something would shift in the world, and you would have to quickly adapt. Not playing live music really challenged us in ways we haven’t been challenged before and it has put communication to the test. We didn’t by any means handle it perfectly, but certainly tried to keep positivity at the forefront of our minds. Also, having family as support and the community around us has been a big part to making it through the last year.
Live music is starting up and I see that you have some gigs already booked, the big one being at Nashville North during the Calgary Stampede. Tell us about all the feelings you had when you found out that you’ll be back on stage and still have knowing that you can get back to performing live for your fans.
Rehearsals are in full swing for the Stampede and the shows coming up. There has been a new energy in the room the last few weeks as the prospect and fulfillment of live music is coming back to our world. That first show back is going to be filled with emotion.
And, last but not least, tell us what you see happening for the Hunter Brothers as we are coming out of this pandemic and what will it mean for your fans?
Moving ahead, past the release of this album, we will be hitting the stage a lot more, and continuing to release new music. We are so grateful to every single one of our fans that have showed up this last year through listening to our music, engaging on social media, and buying merchandise. We can’t wait to see everyone on the road as soon as our paths connect. Thank you for your ongoing support.
Stream or download Been a Minute HERE.
We, at Canadianbeats.ca, thank you J.J., Dusty, Ty, Luke, and Brock so much for taking the time for this interview. We wish you all the best and more as we come out of these really hard times and see all the great stuff that is coming your way. I personally am very excited to see what the future holds for you! It’s been great to get to know you over the years!
And Luke, best of luck to the complete recovery of the injuries on your left arm that include “dislocated elbow, broken bones, severed tendons and ligaments in arm and wrist, fractured wrist, plates, pins, screws, 44 staples, and one hurt ego.”
Hi all. I’m Nanci Dagg. I am from Winnipeg, Manitoba, and have lived my entire life here. There is nothing I like better than supporting local artists followed by supporting Canadian artists. Although I was a classic rock gal, my go to genre is country. Something about this music that just makes me feel great. I can be found at most country music concerts and shows (from someone’s house to really large venues) taking lots of pictures. Music and photography are two of my passions. Add to this mix, writing about artists, well let’s say, life doesn’t get better than this.