When you hear Hertfordshire rock band The Hunna’s chart-bothering hit Bonfire, you might make the mistake of suspecting the shadow-y employment of major label ghost-writers. However, their climb up the greasy ladder of commercial rock has been a slow process.
“We spent a long time writing music,” explains guitarist Dan Dorney. “It didn’t just happen over a couple of months, it took a really long time. I think everyone thinks we’re manufactured and we were given the songs and that’s not the case at all. I had no money, all I could do was write music for two years.”
The Hunna was born when Dan met frontman Ryan Potter at music college. They bonded over an un-snobbish love of mainstream music, from classic rock to rap - eventually deriving the name ‘The Hunna’ (as in the hundred) in tribute to Potter’s passion for hip-hop.
“AC/DC, Led Zeppelin, Thin Lizzy, that was pushed on by my Dad,” explains Dan. “I used to go see tribute bands like Limehouse Lizzy. Those old-school rock songs just used to excite me. Also, Total Guitar, I used to buy all the time and learn loads of riffs! Then I just kept learning as much as I could.”
Turning up to 300
In contrast to the usual high-end gloss of a chart act backline, Dan’s Fender Jazzmaster is paired with a rig that’s pretty rough and ready.
“My set-up hasn’t changed since I got it,” says Dan. “I’ve got an old Marshall AVT50H head and a 2x12 Hayden cab. I’m not made of money and never have been, so I just got my hands on what I could get and, luckily, it sounds great. People I work with keep telling me to keep what I’m using.”
Now signed in the US to ex-Warner/Def Jam execs Lyor Cohen and Kevin Liles’ 300 Entertainment, we suspect the big connections will keep on coming. “In New York, Lyor invited us around for a Hunna party at his five-storey house,” says Dan. “There was mad stuff: he had original Andy Warhol polaroids - just in his toilet! That whole night was unreal.”
With debut album, 100, out now and a rabid fan following developing, what’s Dan’s advice for other artists hoping to see Lyor’s WC?
“You need good music,” insists Dan. “Just be grateful for what you have and write, write, write, write!”
For fans of: Catfish And The Bottlemen, The 1975