Nathan Hunt is the lead vocalist for the rock band Shamans Harvest. The group hailing from Jefferson City, Missouri recently released their 5th studio album titled “Smokin’ Hearts & Broken Guns”. Media Mikes had the chance to speak with Nathan recently about the albums creation, health issues that occurred during the process and how those events shaped the material contained on the new album.
Adam Lawton: Can you give us an idea of where the band was at prior to starting work on the new record?
Nate Hunt: We had just finished up a tour run and everyone was pretty much dead. (Laughs) It took about 2 months for everyone to get back together and starting writing for the new record. We were sort of struggling through the process and before we knew it a few months had gone bye and we knew we had to get going. We jumped in the studio and just started writing as we were recording. Someone would bring in a riff here and there and then we would make a song out of it. Once things got going it was a pretty painless process.
AL: At what point in the creative process do you start working out lyrics/vocals?
NH: It tends to be different for every experience. Generally things happen as the song progresses. I look at the core of things to see where the lyrics need to go. A lot of times it’s the guitar riffs that inspire the lyrics but again it is different just about every time.
AL: You had some major health issues happen while you were recording. Can you tell us about that?
NH: That was a very intense process. I think me being diagnosed with throat cancer certainly it helped from an emotional aspect as I sort of followed the 7 stages of grief. I started pissed off and sort of freaked out before settling down and deciding I was going to beat it. A lot of the songs were written of the stages I went through during the time I was sick.
AL: Did you guys ever discuss putting the album on hold till you were feeling better?
NH: I think we all felt the sense of urgency even before I had gotten the diagnosis. We were coming off of a successful single and we knew we needed a follow up as soon as possible. When I got the diagnosis things took on a whole new meaning. There was a chance that this album was going to be our last so we wanted to make the process as enjoyable as we could. Thankfully everything worked out in the long run and we now get to enjoy the fruits of our enjoyment.
AL: Did you have to alter your signing style at all while you were going through treatment?
NH: Oh yeah. The radiation treatment I was receiving doesn’t allow you to create your own saliva. There were a lot of different techniques I had to do just to be able to sing a few lines. This happening has really made me a better singer in the long run as I never really paid much attention to technique before now. I started seeing a vocal coach who helped me through everything and she was really like my savior throughout this whole thing.
AL: The album features a bunch of different musical styles. Was this something that occurred naturally or was that a conscious decision you guys made as a group?
NH: Things happened pretty naturally. I think this was sort of a byproduct of us all not listening to the same type of music. Personally I don’t want to listen to or play the same thing every time. Things just get boring when you’re doing the same thing over and over. I like when you are able to listen to an album from front to back without its vibe every getting tiresome.
AL: What are the bands plans for a new single and video release?
NH: We just shot a video for the song “Dangerous” in St. Louis. There is another portion of the video being shot in Chicago but as far as I know our parts are done. That should be out very shortly. I think there are plans to do another video as well however I am not sure which song it will be for.
AL: What are the bands upcoming tour plans?
NH: We are working on putting together a tour as we speak. We are kind of late in the game with this release as tour season generally starts in the early spring. We will definitely be hitting as many markets as we can here in the states during this quarter. We hope to be out till about February and then go from there.