‘Hunter’ is the latest EP release from Phoebe Hurst, a follow up to last year’s ‘Lessons’, but the first under her new stage moniker –– Hunter. Speaking from her parents’ home in Christchurch, just days before departing for the UK, Hurst tells Laura Dooney she has adopted the new name to differentiate between her two crafts – acting and music.
“I would still really like to act, and write, so Hunter needs to be a different entity to me. So I can do acting, and as Hunter do music.”
Adoption of the new stage name also signals a new direction for the Kaiapoi-raised songstress. Within the beautifully crafted electronic pop that Hurst, with the help of producer Micah Livesay, has created, are songs that allow her breathy voice the space it needs to shine. The end product is sparse, but somehow lush at the same time. To add to the contradiction the songs themselves reveal strength, while at times conveying a real sense of fragility.
“I did want it to be lyrically heavy, and have lots of melody and showcase my voice,” Hurst explains. “My last EP was a big belty thing, like a showcase kind of show-pony thing, which is fine – but on this EP it was more – ‘when are the moments?’ I want to let those pop and have them as tasty bits, and try to make everything else intimate and pointed, and articulate.”
The self-titled EP includes four songs. The first two she says are to do with an “existential crisis kind of thing”, the other two, relationships.
“They sit closer to who I am now, those songs. I’m a lot more emotionally invested in this project. It’s a lot more myself than the last one.”
Hurst wrote the songs on ‘Hunter’ herself, but turned to her friend Livesay for help in producing the sound she was after, sending her songs to him in Auckland with the two bouncing ideas back and forth.
“He was very much an intrinsic part of creating the sound of things. He was very good at being able to tap into what I was trying to do. He’s got a really good ear… and it would click into place. He gets what I want to do, and that’s really important, you want to work with someone who’s on your wavelength.”
In mid-September the 26-year-old left for the UK, off to do her (musical) OE thing. She’s hoping that exposure to Europe, and its audiences, will help her grow as a musician.
“Apparently the way people listen to music in Berlin is a lot more intense. I could be totally wrong, I’ve never been so I don’t know, but this is what people who’ve been there say, and I crave that criticism to get better, and test things out.”