Their music fantastically combines rock with country and blues nuances, creating a distinct sound carried by the killer vocals of Nathan Hunt, whose voice varies from intense growls to clear, full-throated melodies within a matter of seconds.
Shaman’s Harvest’s hiatus began when Hunt was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease that caused malignant tumors to grow in his lymph tissue. He has since recovered after going through intensive therapy as well as vocal training. Through the vocal exercises, he has developed greater endurance, able to deliver top-notch performances night after night.
Despite his health issues, Hunt, along with the rest of the band, worked hard on Smokin’ Hearts throughout his time in treatment.
“As a vocalist,” says Hunt, “I think I wound up with better vocal performances on this record than I have on any other record.”
Despite its great success, the people who wrote it are not its number one fans.
“I think all of us can agree that it’s our least favorite song on the record,” says guitarist Josh Hamler, “[but] it’s definitely served its purpose and been a great avenue to reintroduce the band.”
They chose the song because of its more hard rock sound, which is a misrepresentation of Shaman’s’ overall bluesy rock.
Take a look at “Dirty Diana,” the second single from Smokin’ Hearts, and you’ll be struck by the difference. The slower paced, soulful tune really showcases Hunt’s vocals in their best form, gentle with a gutsy edge. The guitarists dig deep into their blues roots to pull from their instruments a tasteful array of chords and staccato strikes on the strings.
Hamler says he focused a lot on history, having always wanted to be an expert on something, perhaps sasquatches. And here is where the interview took a turn for the weird.
“The thing is,” Hunt explains to Hamler, “you can just say, ‘I’m an expert on the sasquatch,’ and they dub you an expert on the sasquatch.” The theory is that you don’t have to know anything about sasquatches to be an expert; all you have to do is say you’re an expert, and then you are one. It’s actually that simple.
As it turns out, using the term “squatch” versus “sasquatch” is a personal preference, and it is considered rude to stereotype all sasquatches under one name. Instead, Hamler suggests, we ask the sasquatch first before calling him/her anything.
“They’re a lot like people,” Hamler explains. “You have to ask the individual. They have their own opinions. Just because there’s a sasquatch here and a sasquatch there, they could have two separate beliefs.”
In fact, Hamler suggests that humans take a leaf out of the sasquatch book. The species has an awe-inspiring music genre.
“The way they bang their two sticks together, calling each other,” gushes Hamler, is absolutely amazing.
Hunt himself has perfected the sasquatch call, and considers it to be an important part of his musical influence.
“I think we could learn a lot from the squatch,” Hunt says. “They have to put up with a lot of our shit. Literally. We pump our shit into their living habitat. And then we confuse them with monkeys all the time. They get mad about that.”
Guitarist Derrick Shipp concurs, warning, “If you want to get a sasquatch upset, confuse him with an ape.”
Shaman’s Harvest has learned to deal with sasquatches very well, since they are suspicious that their drummer Joe “Baggins” Harrington is a hobbit-sasquatch hybrid.
Hunt himself is extremely closely related to the sasquatch species. The relationship is easily identifiable from his thick curly hair. “It’s from my mother twice removed,” Hunt explains.
Also, Hunt explains, “If our fans are going to stand out there in a mud pit up to their knees in the pouring rain to hear us, we’re going to stand in the rain, strapped to electrical equipment, and perform for them.”
And believe me, they did just that. In slanting rain, a muddy moshpit grew wild, feeding off the musical energy of the band. Check out this video to see what it was like:
Zoe Adler is a music journalist from Long Beach, California. Besides her website, which is her pride and joy, she works with the GRAMMY Foundation and the Long Beach Independent. Additionally, Ms. Adler is a musician, spending half of her time playing the flute, piccolo, trombone, and marching baritone. She has been with TeenView Music since the very start and hopes to make something of it in the future.