The ED Pub, courtesy of StripJointsMusic.com, spoke with Nathan Hunt, lead singer for the Missouri-based rock band Shaman’s Harvest, to get some insight on the band’s sixth studio album, Red Hands Black Deeds. StripJointsMusic has featured a number of Shaman’s Harvest tracks, including “The Devil In Our Wake.” Hunt deems it the “album we always wanted to make” and also talks about grappling today’s social media culture.
ED PUB: Red Hands Black Deeds is your sixth studio album. Where does this album rank within your work, as far as the how it relates to your last album (Smokin’ Hearts and Broken Guns) and the rest of your catalog?
HUNT: It’s difficult to rank it, it stands apart from a lot of it because we did everything organically as opposed to within the box, within pro-tools. We didn’t really work with a lot of the computer programs that we normally do. And it’s more expensive to do it that way, but it’s the album we always wanted to make, trying to fully realize some of our creativity a little bit on this one. We weren’t focused on radio hits, we weren’t focused on really anything but just creating. So I’m not really sure where it ranks, but I can tell you that it’s probably our personal favorite.
ED PUB: Can you talk about the specific track “The Devil in Our Wake”; reading the lyrics, it seems like the song is anti-war (not anti-soldier, but anti-war, which are different things; there are some who don’t seem to know the difference). Who are the song’s writers, and what is it about from your perspective?
HUNT: We all do a bit of writing on each track. You know, I’m the lyric guy. Everybody writes their own parts so we’re all kinda involved in that. But yeah, I was just watching a shit ton of news at the time I was writing those lyrics. And I think it was Syria maybe, I think was the hot topic at the moment. It’s just historically speaking, every time we run into one of these countries and try to save everybody and do all the things we’ve gotta do, we seem to leave a lot more loss and devastation behind us. And it’s absolutely anti-war. It has nothing to do with our soldiers whatsoever, other than the trauma they have to deal with, too. We work hand-in-hand a lot with Wounded Warrior Project or soldiers in general that come up to us that have struggled with PTSD for years. I mean if they’re walking around saying that they’re not affected in anyway whatsoever then, you know, they’re usually affected quietly and they deal with it internally, better than some others.
ED PUB: Your band formed way back in 1996. What motivates you now as opposed to what may have served as motivation when you were all starting out?
HUNT: When we first started it was girls [laughs]. Trying to get laid, man. Now it’s just trying to pay for our AARP membership.
ED PUB: Also, it is obvious that the “music industry” has changed dramatically from the time when you formed to today, over 20 years later. As a band who has seen all the ebbs and flows of the internet and how it has affected the music industry, what role do you think the internet (social media, streaming, etc) plays in your careers today? Is it more of a positive role today than, let’s say, a decade ago?
HUNT: It’s the only role today. I’m not sure that it’s the best thing for music, but I mean it’s fitting because it’s instant gratification. People can just, they don’t have to go out to purchase anything or wait for anything to download, they can just throw on whatever their choice of streaming is and hit the artist and boom, it’s there. And they have millions of songs at their fingertips, you know? So it’s convenient for the consumer but yeah, if you’re a touring artist like we are, you gotta have two or three side hustles, too, to make ends meet, to pay for the bus and pay for crew and all that stuff. But as far as access to artists, we’ve never had this much access. Personally I’m not a fan of the social media, but it is an animal that you gotta tango with every once and a while.
ED PUB: What is your touring schedule for the rest of the year, at least through the summer? Does it include headlining dates and festivals?
HUNT: It’s nice, man. It’s not very… a lot of times it turns into a Groundhog Day, it’s the same thing every day. But we’re mixing it up quite a bit with obviously the festivals—currently we’re in the middle of a run with Black Stone Cherry. We do quite a few headlining shows on this run with a band called Otherwise from Vegas, great band. And then we’re gonna take about two weeks off and go back out for another leg of headlining runs with a band called Royal Bliss and Blacktop Mojo.
ED PUB: StripJointsMusic services music to over 2,500 gentlemen’s clubs in the U.S., so do you guys have any good gentlemen’s club stories?
HUNT: We’re fans of the strip clubs you know, we are a rock band so… Let’s see, we usually try to treat our guys on their birthdays; we try to treat them to a few dances, maybe a couple beatings [laughs]. I don’t remember where we were but we used to have this guy named Night Train—which is like the perfect roady name—we tied him up man, he was bleeding from his nipples down to his toes. She did good, we gave her $400 that night.
ED PUB: What was it like the first time you walked into a strip club and heard them playing one of your songs and there was a dancer up there on the poll dancing to it?
HUNT: I mean, it’s pretty much the biggest ego trip you can possibly get. Screw the radio, man. Like I said, we got into it for the girls. So that’s pretty awesome, I’m a fan.
- story by Eugenio Torrens