INTERVIEW // Johnny Hunter: A Chat with Nick Hutt on ‘Early Trauma’, Influences and Isolation

WORDS AND INTERVIEW BY TARA CAMPBELL

In an uncertain time, Nick Hutt, frontman of Sydney Rock band- Johnny Hunter prepares to release their Debut EP- ‘Early Trauma’. A phone call later and I got a sense of what to expect from the upcoming release, the journey up until now, whilst getting to know Nick.

Instantly, I’m taken aback by how well-spoken Nick is, and the insight he has on the world around him as well as his music.

So a lot of people always ‘Who is Johnny Hunter?’, there’s no one in the band called Johnny- so where did the name come from?

Keeping the persona vague, Nick begins to speak about who Johnny Hunter is. It’s a question he’s been asked multiple times- and I can assure you, it’s not what the answer you’d expect.

“Johnny Hunter was just a name I thought was pretty cool. Nobody in the band is called Johnny and honestly I think that’s pretty funny. It’s good to give people round-about answers when they ask about where it came from”

Nick Hutt

We got to speaking about how Johnny Hunter is a persona of all the band members; a combination of all the members’ (Nick Hutt, Ben Wilson, Xander Burgess, Nick Cerone and Gerry Thompson) personalities and moralities. Nick spoke about how the band has similar music tastes, in a way I could almost say that the band is a modernised form of the classic punk rockers. The Clash, The Cure, Nick Cave, Joy Division- Johnny Hunter a return to the 80s, with a modernised twist.

What’s the journey been for Early Trauma? It’s a release that has been a long time coming.

“Honestly, this record came quite naturally. We’re always just working on new stuff and last year- or maybe a year and a half ago, we started writing the songs and decided that this would be it.”

Nick Hutt

How would you describe the EP to someone who hasn’t ever heard of Johnny Hunter?

It’s a combination of new and old. Wasted youth and the reflection of poor decisions and missed opportunities when you’re younger. And how that’s shaped you as a person.”

Nick Hutt

Nick and I discuss the influence of parents records and their music taste on our youth, and how Early Trauma is almost a tribute to the songs you’d hear growing up. Familiar nostalgia, with a twist.

Everyone in isolation has picked up some random hobbies or projects, what’s been your go-to?

We chat about his new life as a plant-addict, thanks to his girlfriend and how he’s glad he’s caught onto the plant-wave, something a lot of us can relate to.

“It looks so much better now, I spend far too much time meticulously looking after them. My whole bathroom looks like a rainforest now. It looks sick. I’m never going back to life pre-plants”

Nick Hutt

Our signature question- If ‘Early Trauma’ was a colour, what would it be and why ?

My questions hadn’t stumped Nick until this one came up, a pause in the phone call displayed his thought process, before he spoke up again to reflect on the EP.

“We’ve gone with the grey theme for it, and I think you can atone grey to looking back at something that’s happened that you’re not too happy with. It’s a grim colour. The EP is grim, but there’s hope to it”

Nick Hutt

He concludes that it would be a light grey.

We take a moment to reflect upon Johnny Hunter’s career so far as a band.

Nick speaks gratefully of the opportunities the band. Meeting in Wollongong, the band always hoped to play Yours and Owls festival, which they ticked off within the first year of the band. He begins to talk about the experience of supporting Jack White (a famous international musician, prominently known for his work in The White Stripes).

“That was crazy, he was a really lovely dude. He did a funny thing… we had just come off stage and spotted him in his band in a pre-show ritual. They were dancing around in a huddle and there was just Jack White and his band jumping around to The Who and screaming the lyrics. It was like watching a bunch of school kids, it was so funny. Definitely an experience I’ll never forget”

Nick Hutt

We speak about his favourite moment from a live show- playing at the same time as the Jungle Giants at Bad Friday. A packed out side-stage and an experience Nick says he will always treasure.

Wrapping up the interview we discuss fans, his music taste, and the future for Johnny Hunter.

“My biggest piece of advice is to listen to as much music as possible and don’t be afraid to do something different.”

Nick Hutt

Nick Hutt’s Music Recommendations

  1. Kate Bush – ‘The Hounds of Love’
  2. Echo and the Bunnymen
  3. Swans
  4. The 100
  5. Shady Nasty
  6. DIVE BELL

We discuss local talent, and he recommends The 100, Shady Nasty and DIVE BELL- local up-and-coming acts. He praises younger artists for getting out there, and you can tell Nick just wants to get back on the stage. He wraps up the interview, discussing the possibility of an album after the EP. Telling us to sit tight and keep an eye out for future announcements.

I’m humbled to have had the chance to chat to Nick, his musical insight is brilliant and I have nothing but praise for himself and the band. If you’re a fan of anything New Wave, old school punk, or you just like music- you’re going to love ‘Early Trauma’ set to release on August 14th across all platforms.

Keep an eye out for our review of the EP too!

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