Noble Hunter’s lead singer and sole songwriter, Kevin Garrett, has a refreshing attitude about the band. He’s in it for the ride and doesn’t want to set any specific goals since that would imply that if the goals were attained that that would be the end of the ride. He just wants to keep on riding. Noble Hunter’s self-titled record was the best-selling folk record on Bandcamp when it was released last summer. Since then all the members of the band have graduated and they’re planning on recording new music and touring some more. In the meantime they’ve been chosen as Emerging Artists at Falcon Ridge Folk Festival and will be on the main stage on Friday, August 2.
Falcon Ridge is celebrating its 25th anniversary the first weekend in August and the Emerging Artist showcase is always one of the highlights of the festival. The musicians are chosen by a three-member jury and are given the opportunity to perform two songs (not to exceed ten minutes).* The audience votes for their favorites and three or four acts are asked to return to the main stage the following year.
For a bit more information about Noble Hunter, check out their website.
Noble Hunter’s song “In Between” gives you a good idea about their sound.
Tell us a little something about everyone in the group!
We all met at NYU in the various music programs. John and Alex were both Jazz students and I was in Music Technology. Aled has been playing with us recently as our fourth guy, and he was in Music Composition. We’ve all recently graduated, so that’s fun. We also enjoy food.
Noble Hunter has only been together for about a year. How did you come to realize that you all had the same musical mindset?
I think something that’s kept the band fresh and new to us is that we don’t always have the same musical mindset. We all come from different musical backgrounds, and we’re constantly pushing our influences into the music. Sometimes it’s a clash, but the song always ends up becoming something that I feel is very unique to Noble Hunter as a band. I’ve become more and more comfortable playing “team captain” when things get a little too interesting, but it’s been awesome to see us grow as a band since we first decided to become one. Apart from that, I think we all knew we wanted to play music long before we all met, otherwise we wouldn’t have all gone to music school and what have you.
Kevin, are you the sole songwriter in the band or do the other members pitch in as well?
I am the songwriter in the band, yeah. I bring the songs to the other guys and we sort of build them into what everyone eventually will hear. Recently there’s been more of a sort of involuntary group input with regards to structure and production, though, and it’s been nice in rehearsals to talk less and play more and just let the songs speak for themselves. I juggle a lot of hats in songwriting, whether it’s for the band or for another project or for someone else. When everyone in the band sees what you’re seeing in the music, it makes things rather effortless, and it’s inspiring to be on the same page with the guys and for everyone to just sort of know which direction a particular song is headed.
Where did the name Noble Hunter come from?
My father actually came up with the idea. I knew I wanted the band name to have some affiliation with myself, or at least mean something to me. In other words, I didn’t want to go to a random name generator or pull a name out of a hat. Eventually, my dad (we have the same name) mentioned a Gaelic or Welsh translation of part of my name, and we ended up simplifying it to Noble Hunter. That was the first suggestion for a band name that I didn’t immediately cast off for whatever reason. It went to the top of the list and grew on the guys once I mentioned it to them. That was a relief.
You’ve got a couple of interesting cover songs on YouTube. What makes a good cover song for this band?
I’m a big fan of covers when they are done in either very unique ways or very respectful ways. Some of us don’t always like cover songs, but I think if we are going to cover a song it has to be one in which each of us is willing to invest ourselves and not just phone it in. We’ll cover a song if we’re passionate about it when we play it together. For me, it’s not about YouTube views, even though I want them and that’s really cool. It’s more about how I wish I had written whatever song I’m covering. We’re working on another one that I’m pretty excited about. It should be up as soon as we can sit down to film it.
What goals do you have for the band? Where do you want to be in a year or two?
This band, in terms of my songwriting and what I want to do, is my priority. I think over time, it’s become everyone’s priority in the band. We all believe in each other and the music we are making, and for now that’s what we are going to keep doing. Personally, I have a lot of faith in this group and the music I’ve been writing for it. In a year or two, I’d like for us to be touring more regularly. Hopefully we’ll have an EP or two and the second record out by then (there’s more than enough music ready). As we continue to grow, I feel more and more confident with what we’re doing and what we’re becoming and that more people are going to catch on soon enough. I’m not sure about goals for the band or what goals are in our sights. If you set a finish line for yourself, what happens when you get there? I just want to keep running with these guys.
*The Falcon Ridge judging panel changes year to year. Many thanks to this year’s panel, Carter Smith, producer of Common Ground Community Concerts in Hastings-on-Hudson NY, Dennis O’Brien, talent buyer for the Newtown Theater in Newtown PA and Kathy Sands-Boehmer, booker for the Me & Thee Coffeehouse in Marblehead MA now in its 43rd year of presenting great acoustic music.