Ghost Nation Press Kit: Biography
A biography written by Atlantic Records to try to sell the Hunna’s “Ghost Nation” in America.
Author: Atlantic Records.
Date: April 1990.
“Our name suggests the two sides of human nature: the active and the passive, the strong and the vulnerable. And it’s two sides of nature that we try to put across in our music” –Mark Seymour
From their beginnings back in 1981, Australia’s Hunters & Collectors have proven themselves to be as tenacious as they are musically adventurous. An anomaly in a field where pigeon-holing is a favourite pastime, they have gathered legions of supporters in their homeland while continuing to push their music into new territory. In its earliest forms the band was a loose ambitious musical collective which quickly achieved cult status. In the words of Australian Rolling Stone: ” They were a phenomenon, but a lot of people didn’t quite know what to make of them.” In the following years, they proceeded with each album to change, refine, and redefine their musical boundaries, searching for a “form of expression that no one else was doing.”
By 1986, Hunters & Collectors had released half a dozen albums and EP’s. But most importantly, they had worked their native country relentlessly and toured overseas several times, earning acclaim for commanding powerful live performances. That same year, they finally came to the attention of the Australian public at large with “HUMAN FRAILTY”, their first gold album in their own country. Included was “Throw Your Arms Around Me”, later covered by H&C fans, Crowded House.
The next album, “FATE”, released in 1988, consolidated the success of “HUMAN FRAILTY”. It continued to enforce Mark Seymour’s reputation as a songwriter whose lyrical perception of human relationships and the urban landscape was razor sharp. Their biggest seller to date down under, “FATE” yielded the hit “Do You See What I See?”. It also saw the group’s devoted Stateside following increase substantially.
Hunters & Collectors now make their Atlantic Records debut with “GHOST NATION”, a gripping collection which finds the band continuing to resist categorization with a rich merger of power, sensitivity, sexuality and social consciousness. Lyrically, the album is a progression from the themes of “FATE”, moving from human and social relations towards the big picture – the modern lifestyle. Musically, “GHOST NATION” has been very much a collective band endeavor from the beginning. “We’re an urban tribe; we share everything”, notes Mark Seymour. “What the band symbolizes is a society, so we try to present a musical statement that reflects that attitude.”
Over an 18 month period, Hunters & Collectors wrote, road-tested, and recorded the ten tracks which make up “GHOST NATION”. The band wanted to produce an album which captured the excitement of a stripped-bare presentation. Paradoxically, in going back to basics, they have achieved their most powerful and sophisticated album yet. Putting their trust in their unwavering live instincts, Hunters & Collectors arrived at a new-found studio polish that captures and enhances the power of their concert performances.
Produced by the band and Clive Martin, “GHOST NATION” was recorded in Melbourne and mixed in New York City by E.T. Thorngren (Talking Heads, Robert Palmer, Eurythmics). All the songs but one were penned by Hunters & Collectors, with lyrics by Mark Seymour. “Crime of Passion”, the one cover on the album, has been so successfully taken over that it is hard to believe it’s not a Hunters original. The band moves from the full force delivery of “When the River Runs Dry”, with its urgent vocals and driving bass, through to the delicately mournful “You Stole My Thunder”, from the themes of love through to urban commentaries. “Blind Eye” and “The Way You Live” feature Neil Finn of Crowded House on background vocals.
Released in Australia in November 1989, “GHOST NATION” quickly shot into the top ten and was certified platinum. Recently named Band of the Year by Australian Rolling Stone, Hunters & Collectors were nominated for seven 1990 ARIAS, the prestigious Australian Record Industry Association awards. The nominations include Best Australian Group, Best Australian Album [for “GHOST NATION”], and Australian Song of the Year [for “When the River Runs Dry”].
The band will be spending much of 1990 on a world tour with fellow Australians, Midnight Oil. “You can’t ignore the physical side of what rock ‘n’ roll is all about”, enthuses Seymour. “I like the adrenaline and aerobic aspect where you pulse up and sweat it out for an hour and a half. There’s a sense that every individual in the band lives the music out on their own level”.
With “GHOST NATION”, Hunters & Collectors have delivered an exceptional album. Interwoven with strident horns, brutal rhythms, and some of their strongest melodies ever, the music doesn’t shy away from showing a certain gentleness and vulnerability- both lyrically and musically. It’s that combination of force and persuasion , which sets the band apart, taking them beyond the confines of the “Oz-Rock” genre. With “GHOST NATION”, Hunters & Collectors have made an album of muscular rock for the thinking person.
HUNTERS & COLLECTORS:
JOHN ARCHER – BASS
DOUG FALCONER – DRUMS
JACK HOWARD – TRUMPET, KEYBOARDS
ROBERT MILES – SOUND, DESIGN
BARRY PALMER – GUITARS
MARK SEYMOUR – LEAD VOCALS, GUITAR
JEREMY SMITH – FRENCH HORN, KEYBOARDS, GUITAR
MICHAEL WATERS – TROMBONE, KEYBOARDS
~ typed up by Caelie.