By: Lori Smerilson Carson – Stemming from a home where music was important, siblings Lead Singer Anastasia Haunt and Guitarist, Singer, Producer Maxamillion Haunt along with their band Bassist Nat Smallish and Drummer, Producer Nick Lewert have been a hit with rock, indie, bluesy fans since their debut EP The Haunt released in 2018. Now, these extraordinarily talented musicians are working on an upcoming album which they co-produced with Escape The Fate’s Kevin “Thrasher” Gruft and Grammy nominated Producer Brandon Friesen. Fans can look forward to experiencing their new and prior music as they tour across the country this Fall, starting in Indianapolis, IN at The Vogue Theatre on September 9th, then in Munhall, PA at the Carnegie of Homestead Music Hall on September 17th and Morgantown, WV at the Metropolitan Theatre on September 25th.
Catching up with Anastasia and Maxamillion just prior to the start of this tour with The Hu (‘The Hun Tour’), they revealed details of their newer music, their second EP Social Intercourse, a bit about the new LP, their past experiences and what fans can look forward to.
Ohio Music Experience: This is exciting. You have a big tour coming up. How did this all come together?
Maxamillion Haunt: So, when we go out to L.A. we work with Brandon Friesen and he is a manager and he is the lead producer for The Hu. We were working on some music with him and I guess they just had like an opening for the slot and they were like, I don’t know, Brandon kind of just asked us if we wanted it and we were like absolutely. So, we sent them over our stuff and they seemed to really like it and it all kind of came together like that.
Ohio Music Experience: What can fans look forward to with the show?
Max: Well, we’re going to be playing some stuff off of our upcoming first full-length album, and we’re really excited about that. We’re playing a few tracks that are completely brand new. We’ve never played on tour before. And then actually, we’re playing most of the most recent EP and some stuff from the first EP also. A little bit of everything.
Ohio Music Experience: Tell me about the album. What inspired it? Was there a theme or anything?
Max: So, for most of our albums, it’s kind of like whatever we’re going through at the time of writing it. It usually highlights kind of like a period of our lives, and this one, the full-length that’s coming up, is going to be really exciting because it’s not much bigger than one of the EP’s. It’s the same amount of time and experiences, but we’ve you know, we were just feeling really, really songwriting ee (he laughed). So, we were able to build out a full-length album and we’re super excited with how its gonna, well its done now actually. We’re super excited with how it turned out.
Ohio Music Experience: Is there a title yet?
Max: We don’t really have a set name for it yet. We haven’t announced the name or anything like that yet. Currently untitled.
Ohio Music Experience: Do you have a date for the release?
Max: We don’t. We are about to set a date for the first single. That should be expected over the next month.
Ohio Music Experience: (Just informed that the first single “Make Me King” is going to be released September 3rd). You recently released the song “Love You Better”?
Max: We released the full Social Intercourse EP about four months ago, and then “Love You Better” was off of that. It was the second to last single before we released it, and then we did a song for a Hulu movie (Plan B) we released called “Hollywood”.
Ohio Music Experience: The two lead actors (Kuhoo Verma and Victoria Moroles) wore your T-shirts (reading The Haunt)?
Anastasia Haunt: Yeah.
Max: Yeah, exactly. Yeah, it was really cool. Then after that, now we’ve been you know, just hard at work. The new full-length album has no singles released off of it yet, but the first one should be expected in early October.
Ohio Music Experience: Fans can look forward to that. How did the song for the movie come about? How did all that happen?
Max: So, we have a friend named Natalie Morales. She grew up with our bassist who’s also named Natalie, and they grew up together in Miami and Natalie is an actress, writer and director in Hollywood. She wrote and directed this movie, and she basically, she hit us up. She was like, “can you guys write like a girl punk party song for the movie?” And we were like, yeah, we can. And so, we wrote it at like 5 am in our Airbnb in L.A. and recorded it the same night, and then went to sleep at like while the sun was coming up. It was basically, almost everything from that night is what ended up in the final version. We went back home and re-recorded it a professional way and they were like, “we like the other one better.”
Ohio Music Experience: You said you write off of what you’re going through at the time. Who would you say inspires you?
Ana: Oh my gosh.
Max: I mean, right now ‘cause we’ve gone through so many different phases as a band, and we constantly like gather people that we look up to and people that we admire to help us with our creativity. Everyone’s inspired. In the beginning, we were very, very tied to like Jack White and The Black Keys, and Ana has always been really fond of old classic blues singers. Nina Simone.
Ana: Billie Holiday, but I feel like recently we’ve…
Max: Recently we’ve been going into the world of like trying to make sense of some more, I don’t know what the right word is called. Industrial, electronic vibes into our music.
Ana: There’s definitely a blend bluesy vocals.
Max: And then very bluesy rock guitar is in there too. So, we’ve been trying to work with like creating our own lane, and we’ve been really excited with how that’s coming out, but I think some of our modern influences are Royal Blood, K. Flay, Grand Sun. A lot of that kind of stuff.
Ohio Music Experience: Did you two come from a musical family? What intrigued you to go into music?
Max: Well, if you’re talking about musical talent, no (he laughed). Our parents don’t play any music, but it was a really musical household. Like we always grew up with them showing us all different types. Music has been a huge part of our life since we were like born. They were really insistence that we took piano lessons as kids and like really learned how to play music, and they wanted to make music a part of our lives, but they didn’t think that we’d actually like take to it or be good at it (he laughed).
Ana: They showed us like all the music that we love.
Max: Yeah, everything that we’re mostly inspired by was through them. They shaped us into musical kids at a young age.
Ohio Music Experience: So, you both had professional lessons and training?
Max: Yeah, well when we were younger. I’m talking like five years old. We both took piano lessons and stuff like that, and then I took some guitar lessons early on, but then I decided that I kind of wanted to teach myself, and from there I did.
Ana: I still have my vocal coach and I work with her. Candie. Her name’s Candie Tandy.
Ohio Music Experience: Candie Tandy?
Max: Her name is Candie Tandy. Shout out Candie Tandy.
Ana: Shout out. Yes. She’s been my vocal coach for like, ever.
Ohio Music Experience: Oh. That’s awesome! What would you recommend to a new artist or up and coming musicians?
Max: I think the biggest thing that a lot of people take for granted is that you have to stick with an idea even if it gets hard. Like you go through phases, right? Like now ok, rocks making a big comeback, but we’ve been doing this for nine years. It’s like you have to stick with it. Stick with what’s true to you even if everyone around you is not seeing the image. They want to make you this or make you that, and we’re not one of those bands that’s against like rolling with what’s popular in our own way, but you got to do that. You can’t just become the next thing every time something new comes along. And I think longevity is, really the key is like to have to really just be in it to win it. There’s a lot of times where you’re like, am I doing something wrong? And it’s really not that. It’s just that everything comes in waves.
Ohio Music Experience: That’s great advice. What would you say about being from South Florida? Do you think that plays into the band at all? Any influence?
Ana: Plays into how God damn hot I am right now (she laughed – we all laughed)! It’s a hundred degrees out. So yeah, we might write like angrier songs because of that.
Max: Well, we practice in a warehouse with no AC on concrete. So, it definitely keeps us in shape (he laughed). No, but all seriousness. We came up in the south Miami scene playing in like Little Haiti at Churchill’s (Pub) which is our local CBGB’s. Our whole like grounding when we first became a band was the Miami scene which they really took to us, and we started gathering our first fans down there and they were super supportive, but the scene was pretty harsh. So, we were a three-piece band at the time. It was just me, Ana and we had a drummer named Robbie at the time, and we were just like, we were like ok, we got to grunge up our vibe a little bit if we’re going to play these shows. So, we took our same set and we just started making it heavier and heavier with all of our same songs until we were competing with bands in the scene. And we were young at the time. Ana was eleven. I was fourteen. So, we were just trying to adapt and adjust, and I think that that made us. I think that’s part of what made us comfortable with like molding to any situation. Which is something that we pride ourselves on. Like we can tour with The Hu or Palaye (Royale) or some pop act. That’s something that we definitely pride ourselves on is our diversity of sound.
Ohio Music Experience: I read how you’re able to relate to people and help with anti-bullying? Is that something that you consciously try to reach out?
Max: So, when Anastasia was in middle school, she was bullied like really bad ‘cause she was weird (he laughed). That was around the time that she started writing the first single from the first EP which is “All Went Black” , and it was about you know, we really wanted to portray a message in the song and the music video that we were actively going to stand against that kind of behavior. We wanted to be a band that was actively anti-bullying and we wanted to be a band that was about being nice to everybody regardless of if you agree with them. Regardless of If you think they’re a complete moron. There’s no reason to not listen to another person. Everyone deserves a chance to speak. Everybody deserves to be heard. I mean, that’s really what we played on since that point. That’s been a main message for the band since the first single, and the most recent EP that we just released was called Social Intercourse because that was something that we were really trying to focus on. Well, you know, we started releasing it in the heat of the pandemic while people were rioting and we were like, we really just feel like everybody needs to listen to one another and that’s kind of been the message of the band. You know, inclusivity and listening to each other, even if you don’t agree with one another. Most people have valid points whether you agree with them or not.
Ohio Music Experience: Very true. Are there any new videos or anything coming out after the full-length album comes out?
Max: Yeah. So, we’re going to start with this first single. It’s not announced yet, but it will be in early October and a music video will be released with it at the same time.
Ohio Music Experience: Something else for fans to look forward to. Was there anything else you want people to know?
Max: Come see us on tour! That’s the biggest thing right now. We’re so, so, so hyped that we’re able to get on the road again. It’s been so long, and this new set we’ve been working really, really hard to make it as incredible as we can. Definitely come see us with The Hu on ‘The Hun Tour’ in September and October.
Ohio Music Experience: Starting in Indiana and ending in L.A. That’s awesome!
Max: The L.A show on Halloween too, which is going to be so much fun.
Ohio Music Experience: I noticed you’re also playing (iconic) Toads Place in Connecticut (New Haven, CT on September 22nd).
Max: Yeah, yeah. They hit us up. They were like the only venue that hit us up individually and they were like, “so excited to have you guys coming through” and blah blah blah. It’s really cool. We’re super excited about that.
Ohio Music Experience readers do yourself a favor and go check out The Haunt’s website and listen to their music then go grab some tickets to their next show! You will thank us! www.TheHauntBand.com