Jana Hunter Interview

photo via flickr by Derek Webber

My go-to guitar song right now is “A Dog’s Dick” by Lower Dens.  The dueling guitar runs make the hairs stand up on the back of my neck every single time I listen to that lovely tune with the funny name.  Jana Hunter plays one of those lovely guitars.  She also provides the sultry voice with the slightly dead-pan delivery that makes Lower Dens album Twin-Hand Movement so incredibly appealing.  Before her work with Lower Dens, Hunter produced two full-length solo albums, two EPs, and a split album with Devendra Banhart.  She strikes me as a wonderfully brilliant weirdo.  (I mean that in a good way.)  And I was pleased to snag her for an email interview.

When did you begin playing and why?

I learned violin first and then guitar. I learned how to play and I sang at night on my bike, 13 or 14. I learned so I could do what I am doing right now, write music and not have a day job. So I could master pop music and attempt to explore my true ear and self, stay true to my ideals and gut. to relate feeling in a means other than talking or affecting. So I could have the best band in the world.

What was your first guitar, and how did you get it?

Acoustic, made of wood and metal. I bought it with my own money.

What equipment do you prefer now?  Which guitar?  (I’ve seen video of you playing a Mustang…) What amps or pedals?  Why?  Has this changed over time?

I like stuff that has a lot of sand in it and color. I have a Music Master (the Mustang), blue. Die kleinen blauen. Holiest Grail, Frequency Analyzer, Ibanez Super Tank Chorus, Line 6 DL$, Boss RC-20 , Polish Warbler, Gibson Firestarter, Singer, Peavey Bandit.

What is your songwriting process like?

My writing process is dark and sweaty. All night droning into a cut up plastic soda bottle tied to a mic in the smallest room of the house without air-conditioning. There are drugs, there are cigarettes and there are pedals. The cats sleep. There is a trip to the 7-11. Or in the attic with bald overhead lighting and unmoved-in look hunched over it all. Yellow note pad, orange crackers, orange soda (the band sounds like michael jackson Thriller right now.) blue tobacco pouch.

What are you working on right now?

I am writing music with the band for a new Lower Dens record. We added people and instruments to the line up. I am working on a thematic arch. The trajectory of Lower Dens records will express this theme in one way or another.

Which artist or artists do you find inspiring?  (It doesn’t have to be a musician.)  Why? 

Ray Johnson, Arthur Bates, Tim and Eric, Cass McCombs, Spencer Kingman, Matteah Baim, Mordack, Indian Jewelry, Penderecki, Mishima, Kurzweil. They do what they want.

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One Comment to “Jana Hunter Interview”

  1. Love this! Love that song too.

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