Tim Shearwood – or ‘Hunting Hall’ in his current incarnation – is a long-time regular on the Irish indie scene, as part of both The Curtain Thieves and Third Smoke. His new project, though, is a different kind of offering.
Sitting firmly between indie-pop and a mellow 80s synth vibe, Hunting Hall is very much a personal offering, an exploration of introvert songwriting and aspirations, slowly emerging from its own knowing shade.
He was heading out into the scene to make a splash this year, but it’s all on hold. For now. Here’s what Tim had to say about it all…
Congratulations on the new single. You took a big break after ‘Helium’, in terms of releases. Is 2020 going to be a bigger year for new stuff?
Thank you! Hopefully. I recorded 7 tracks in 2018. I had intended to put out more last year but ended up focusing on making music videos for other acts. In 2020 I aim to find a better work/ music balance.
Where are you at in terms of the music you could be putting out? Is the current shutdown a chance to develop your back catalogue?
Of the 7 tracks recorded in 2018, I’ve put out two. The remainder will be released as singles over the next couple of years. In the meantime, I’ll start writing the album.
You’ve been big in terms of producing videos for other musicians in recent years. Did it feel different doing your own?
Yes. When I work for other artists I act as a facilitator of their creative vision and although I offer my thoughts and opinions, I respect the final decision isn’t up to me. I am far more emotionally invested in my own projects, which can be more draining but also more rewarding. I’m very lucky to get to do both.
‘Helium’ has a bit of an isolation buzz to it. Accepting it’s been out about over a year, have you found that hits home more now?
It’s funny, almost all my songs feel applicable to our current situation. It makes sense as I am a pretty introverted person. The subject matter of my songs frequently revolves around trying to find my place in the world.
On Dublin London Portland, you seem to up the pace and go in a little less of a chillout direction. What’s closer to your live energy?
I have some songs that are more chill than “Helium” and others that pack more of a punch than “Dublin London Portland” – I’ve not limited myself in that regard and have found that it’s left me dangling in-between the world of “dance” and “indie” music. It’s a nice place to be. Just before COVID19 or “BC” as my girlfriend puts it, I had been rehearsing with a drummer. I have big plans for when I’m able to gig again.
Presumably there’s an association for you in London and Portland. How are the cities tied together in the song?
When I wrote that song I was living in Dundalk, wanting to leave and considering the places I could go. Dublin, London and Portland were places that appealed to me because of their vibrant art culture. However, in the song, they are symbolic of aspirations generally. I live in Dublin and I am very content. When I sing the song now, I think about other things I’m struggling to achieve.
Does Hunting Hall feel different to your involvement with The Curtain Thieves and Third Smoke to you?
Absolutely. There are a lot of elements that make being in a band difficult: creative differences, time scheduling, lifting piles of equipment. However, some of the most memorable moments of my life occurred while I was those bands. Something profound happens when you create music with other people. I’m itching to do more of it.
What kind of reaction would you like people to have to your music, in an ideal world?
Music has played such a vital role in maintaining my sanity. I feel stupidly privileged to have found an outlet to do that. The fact that what I produce can subsequently cause other people joy seems so bizarre to me. Any positive reaction to anything I make is an enormous bonus.
Do you see yourself more as a club-style artist – something to be played out by DJs, or performed at 2am to sweaty rooms – or something a little more conventionally indie?
I came from an indie-rock background but I am enjoying floating on the periphery of the electro-dance scene. However, increasingly those barriers are coming down, people subscribe less to genres and more to individual artists. I want to play in-between the DJ sets at 2am in a sweaty club.
What are your hopes for Hunting Hall in the future?
Release the rest of these singles, record an album, make some t-shirts, play festivals and get on the cover of Rolling Stone.