Who is Hunter Hooligan?
Tell me a little bit about yourself.
I’m Hunter Hooligan and I am a singer and songwriter in Baltimore. I am a passionate storyteller and my goal is to tell the story of our times within music. I make what I like to call Post-Genre Pop— meaning that I pull from a lot of different influences to make my music. I love jazz and blues, Dinah Washington and Bessie Smith, but also alternative electronica and top 40 pop, M.I.A. and Kesha. When I’m working on my own music, I try to let each song tell me what it needs.
How did you know you wanted to be a musician?
I could sing before I could talk. So, from the very beginning of my life, music was very important to me. It’s a huge part of my identity.
What do you remember about your first live performance?
I would sing at all of our family get togethers on holidays from a very early age. Music was a centerpiece of who I have always been.
What musical artists are you inspired by?
The list is really too long to be comprehensive: Bessie Smith, Billie Holiday, Edith Piaf, Dinah Washington, Etta James, Aretha Franklin, the Shangri-Las, Janis Joplin, Fleetwood Mac, The Velvet Underground, Yoko Ono, John Lennon, Elton John, Whitney Houston, Bruce Springsteen, Divine, Queen, The Eagles, Bob Dylan, Cher, Madonna, David Bowie, B.I.G., Gil Scott Heron. Just to name a few. And any list of artists I am inspired by would be remiss without some contemporary people who inspire me: Amy Winehouse, Lady Gaga, Lana Del Rey, Kesha, Erykah Badu, M.I.A., Florence + the Machine, Junglepussy. I really like people who are very self-created and yet so true to themselves. I love artifice that expresses an inner truth that can’t quite be captured otherwise. I also tend to just love female artists. I think there is so much misogyny in the music industry and women in music are constantly discredited and undervalued, but I think women’s perspectives are so important. I think women have always been doing incredibly interesting things with music.
If you had to describe your personal style in five words or less, what words would you pick?
Childish, expressive, improvised, adaptable, ever-changing.
Who are some of your favorite Baltimore musicians? What do you love about the Baltimore fashion scene?
I love DDm/Bond St. District, TT the Artist, Mighty Mark, Schwarz, Abdu Ali, Rye Rye, Beach House and Future Islands. I love the diversity of the Baltimore fashion scene. You have someone like DDm who might show out in some gem-studded Nikes and TT who’s hair might be blue one day and then blonde the next, or Abdu Ali who might be in a dress or an amazing head piece, or Beach House who has a very ethereal style. There’s SO much happening here and people don’t even realize. The fashion here is crazy and artists’ personal style here is so well developed, brave and individual.
Does your stage style differ from your personal style? Why or why not?
Not really. My stage clothes are interchangeable with my personal clothing. But my personal clothing is quite performative sometimes as well. It really just depends. Style, clothing, fashion are all tools for me. They help me express what I’m feeling in the moment. I’ve performed in a very witchy, all-white, flowing kind of ensemble, I’ve performed in very structured suit jackets with epaulettes, I’ve performed in a white t-shirt and denim cut offs. My personal presentation has very much to do with how I feel in the moment and not any steadfast allegiance to a personal style preference.
What do you love about playing live?
It’s a chance to meet new people and it’s a chance to bring the music to life. I love working in the studio and I love the writing process, but when you are playing live, those songs take on a new life. It’s very special.
What do you look for when picking out a stage outfit?
Something that reflects how I feel, but also the sound of the music. Right now I’ve been performing material from my acoustic EP, Proof of My Youth. The sound of that music is very free and on-the-run. It reminds me of the desert and the highway. It has momentum to it, it has an urgency to it. When I play, I wear things that help me get in that mindset— leather jackets that remind me of the highway, little tshirts I’ve gotten at gas stations, denim cut offs I like to wear in the summer because I would rather be naked, honestly. I love jewelry. Lots of fake gold. But also silver and gemstones— lots of rings of turquoise or amethyst. A friend gave me a silver Louis Vuitton lock pendant and I hung it on this cheap silver chain from a thrift store and I love that mashup. I love taking expensive pieces and mixing it with cheap, tasteless pieces. Why do we value some objects so highly over others?
What are your top three favorite stage outfits? Why?
There’s a suit jacket I love. It’s a sleeveless, black velvet piece with matching silver epaulettes. That’s a go to for me. I love performing in that— it’s somewhat of a signature piece for me. I have this chainmail scarf/headpiece that I love to wear when it feels right. There is a leather jacket that my grandmother’s boyfriend gave to me, which he wore as a young motorcyclist in the 1980s, going across America. It has pins and things all over it, emblems of the open road. It has a lot of sentimental value and so I love wearing that.
What are your plans for the summer 2015, well music wise?
I recently just spent a week in the studio working on some new material to complete the EP I released digitally in November. This summer I will be re-releasing it as a physical disc with five new songs. I worked on those in the studio and finished them up, now this EP feels truly complete. I naturally tend to favor longer collections (twenty track albums and that kind of thing) so a five track EP didn’t feel finished to me. There are 10 songs now on the release, but I still consider it an EP and not an album. That’s important to me. This is not my debut album, but it is still an excellent introduction to who I am as a singer and songwriter. These 10 songs say a lot about me as a person.
Anything else you want to share? It can be random.
I’m working with quite a few new producers and I’m very excited about the direction my music is taking. Things are really coming together and I urge everyone to stay tuned….
Check out Hunter Hooligan here: