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Miles Hunt Interview

30 April 06 words: Jared Wilson

So what have you guys been up to recently..?
Myself I've been producing an album by one of my all time singers, Ange Dolittle, his band, Dolittle, have just recently toured with us in the UK. He used to be in EAT, Weknowwhereyoulive (a band he formed with Malc Treece, The Wonder Stuff's guitarist, in the mid 90's) and Big Yoga Muffin. Ange has one of Britains greatest alt' rock voices and is sadly not known as in media circles as much as he should be. I've taken a break from that to rehearse and tour The Wonder Stuff during the last month and now return to the Dolittle project as well as getting some song writing done for Underground Ernie, a children's cartoon that I've been involved with since mid 2000. That show finally airs in June on BBC2 and CBeebies. If you are a parent of a child between the ages of 4 and 8 years you will not able to avoid it and will doubtlessly hate my guts by the end of this year as the songs are outrageously catchy, even if I do say it myself! 

Tell us about the new Wonder Stuff album Suspended By Stars
We started writing and recording the album this time last year as we finished a five week tour of North America. Our drummer, Andres Karu, lives in New York and owns and runs a recording studio there. The day after our final show of the tour we started work on the record there in Queens. I think by the end of June last year the whole thing was in the bag, after we relocated to Stratford Upon Avon in the UK to finish the job. The touring in the US really set the band on edge and the reason we jumped at the opportunity of writing and recording the album immediately after the tour was done was to capture the atmosphere and energy we had created on the road. I really believe it is The Wonder Stuff's finest hour...
Was it a big decision to release new material under the name of the Wonder Stuff? 
Not really... I should know the pattern of things in our world by now, because essentially members that leave always seem to cause a shit pile of problems for around six months to a year before they go. Once they're gone Malc and I, as the two original members now left, regroup and get on with it, which is exactly what we have done. There's the usual confusion to wade through, but we always get there in the end. And as Malc famously said in our Rockumentary Welcome To The Cheap Seats, we'd actually like a thirty-year term under The Wonder Stuff banner and it would seem we're well on track. We still have a love for so many of the songs we wrote between '86 and '94 and enjoy playing them we thought what would be the sense in creating a new name to work under. Malc and I are the original spirit if the band and having recently toured the UK again it would seem that the audience we were blessed with back in the 80's and 90's are still up for the noise we make, old and new. 
How is Malc? What’s he been up to? 
He's absolutely brilliant, having just come off the road we've been together 24 hours a day for three weeks now. The man is a beauty, he really is. His writing is at the top of his game right now and I'm so glad to see that he has found a true happiness in his personal life too. 
What are your personal favourite Wonder Stuff songs? 
That's a tricky one.... I have favourites that I like to listen to and I have others that I enjoy playing. Then again, it's hard to refuse the joy that I get from seeing how our audience responds to their favourites. Having just come off the road I would plumb for
Unbearable from our debut album The Eight Legged Groove Machine, Here Comes Everyone from Never Loved Elvis and Tricks of the Trade from Suspended by Stars, I particularly like the way that last one suggests where we go in our future writing. 
When was the last time you spoke to PWEI and Neds Atomic Dustbin? 
I speak to Clint every month, I wish we saw more of each other but he's lived in the US now for ten years. Adam still lives in Stourbridge and we see each other as often as possible, Fuzz has just moved to near where I live in Shropshire and we're looking forward to plenty of flat-cap-type evenings in local country boozers! Again I don't see Rich' and Graham as often as I would like, but our friendships are solid and whenever we do see each other it's a wonderful experience, we went through a lot of milestone moments in our lives together. The Neds, in comparison, are acquaintances. 
What are this Amsterdam band who have been supporting you like? Where did you find them? 
I love their relentless energy and shameless approach to what a guitar pop/rock combo should be, they hit it firmly on the head as far as I'm concerned. I've gotten very close to Ian Prowse and JB, their singer and guitarist, Brothers from other Mothers as it were. We were looking for a band for our Spring tour of the UK in 2004 that fitted their description to open for us and through our management came Amsterdam. 
What’s the most exciting new music you’ve heard recently? 
Aside from the mighty Damien Dempsey and Amsterdam I'm really into a few unsigned midlands bands. Dhama Drive and The Great Blind Degree from Warwickshire and 35 Seconds from Birmingham are really doing it for me at the monent. Three very different bands in themselves but all working 'the song' and with a shit pile of personality that is nothing like the sheep like mentalility of the shite I see and hear via most of the UK's media. 
What are your favourite haunts in Nottingham? 
There's a great Japanese retaraunt in Sherwood that 'does it' for Milo. And recently I saw a great band at The Social called The Fields, that venue is perfect for it's size, great sound and the potential for a sweaty night of r'nr behaviour is most definitely there. And of course having the downstairs bar to retreat to, as I did when The Spinto Band took the stage, is greatly welcomed when the band on stage sucks. 
Are you playing at any festivals this year? 
Indeed we are. So far we have confirmed The Guilfest, Solfest and the Mathew Street Festival in Liverpool. And we're definitely up for more! 
What was the last thing that made you laugh? 
Les Johnson, the Wonder Stuff's constant companion. Les managed us from '86 through to '94 and is currently our tour manager. A beauty of a man with a relentless sense of humour. 
What was the last thing that made you cry? 
My daughter, Orien. There's nothing like the beauty and honesty of a child. 
Anything else you want to say to LeftLion readers? 
I have no problem in shamelessly encouraging people to take a listen to our new album Suspended By Stars, it's out now on IRL. Look out for the Underground Ernie children's TV show that we provide the music for. Also I should mention that Martin Roach's  biography of The Stourbridge Scene The Eight Legged Atomic Dustbin Will Eat Itself has been reprinted with lots of updates, as well as a DVD release of The Wonder Stuff's Rockumentary Welcome To The Cheap Seats. Later in the years Universal are releasing another Best of.... and Rarities of the band and we are working on a follow up to the Welcome to the Cheap Seats movie as well as a full album of Underground Ernie songs. Is that it...?  Ooops, no, I forgot that we will also be releasing a live album recorded during this latest UK tour later in the Summer. And of course the Dolittle album that I've been producing should be out in around two months time too. 

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