Q&A: Adam Hattaway on singing about crying

Kiwi band Adam Hattaway and the Haunters – comprised of Adam Hattaway, Elmore Jones, Liam Quinn and Ryan Fisherman – are travelling the country on their Wasting Our Time tour.

We’re looking forward to seeing you kick the tour off at Blue Smoke in Christchurch. What are you most looking forward to? I’m looking forward to being on the road in general. Even at our level, it feels like I have some sort of purpose in my life and I live for it!

What are the best and worst things about touring? The overall feeling of being on tour is great. Obviously playing, and some shows go better than others. Also, feeling like a couple of mates who are in it together is really important. I enjoy driving and listening to music. But I don’t like getting up early and as every touring musician knows, you’re probably staying up ‘til 3am every night having fun, and you gotta get up at 8 or 9 often to get out of the hostel, get to sound check at the next place and try not to fall asleep at the wheel.

Tell us about your new single, ‘Wasting Our Time’: It’s the first single off our third album which is coming out in March. It’s got a straightforward, fun rock ‘n’ roll music video that goes with it. Mine and Elmore’s dads like the song.

You’re working on a new album. How’s that coming along? We’ve had our new album in the can since lockdown. It’s only just been mastered though and we’re very happy with it. It’s more concise and also more upbeat than the last one. It’s part of a totally new sound called ‘alternative rock ‘n’ roll’ and it’s sexy music for sexy people.

Crying Lessons was a real education in heartbreak and relationship woes. Will the new album expand on that theme or take a new direction? The themes of this album are similar but also different. It’s often about nostalgia, looking back on the tragedy of lost youth and also trying to look forward, but just finding yourself lost in the darkness. There’s more than one way out.

Your bandmates are collectively known as The Haunters – where did that name come from? My friend and collaborator Luke Towart, frontman and songwriter of the band Wurld Series, came up with it for me. He’s great at that. Don’t know where it came from. Apart from the fact that, I couldn’t decide between just going by my own name, which sounded a bit too ‘singer-songwriter’, and a band name like ‘The Killer Whales’ or whatever. I like the AH and the Haunters name as it’s a compromise between both options and it’s in keeping with the rock ‘n’ roll tradition of those kinda names – Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, Mick Jagger and the Rolling Stones.

You’ve been kicking around the New Zealand music scene for a while, including with classic Christchurch country band The Eastern and Wurld Series. What did those experiences teach you? I think if you wanna get really good, you should try dipping into as many different styles and performance settings as possible. I’ve always tried to keep an open mind in terms of writing, performing, and slotting in with other people, and I enjoy changing my role in different bands. I know some people who’ve only ever done one thing, and it’s stunted their growth as a musician. Adam McGrath from the Eastern taught me how to tour. Also kinda taught me how to live.

What is one thing you hope audiences take away from your performances? Hopefully ALL THE MERCH.

What do you do when you’re not making music? I just walk.

What’s your favourite part of Aotearoa to visit and why? Everything but Lyttelton.

Can we expect to see you performing at any festivals this summer? We’re playing at a festival called Nest Fest. Looking forward to that very much! We applied for about 150 other festivals and are hoping to hear back from at least one.

What’s on the cards for you and the band next year? We’ll have one or two albums worth of material ready to go by then. I dunno when they can be released as everything in this industry takes forever to get done. Personally I just want to keep touring and writing but we’ll see what happens with the apocalypse and all.

Who’s your personal hero? Apart from Jesus Christ our lord and saviour of course, I’d have to say Elmore Jones. You know what he told me? He said “There’s nothing wrong with singing about crying.”

Adam Hattaway and the Haunters

Saturday October 31, Blue Smoke, Christchurch

Friday November 6, Barrytown Hall, Barrytown

Saturday November 7, The Woodstock, Hokitika

Friday November 13, The Third Eye, Wellington

Saturday November 14, Whanganui Musicians Club, Whanganui

Friday November 20, The Paisley Stage, Napier

Saturday November 21, The Jam Factory, Tauranga

Friday November 27, Wine Cellar, Auckland

Saturday November 28, Leigh Sawmill, Leigh
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