March 17, 2020
Tune-In Tuesdays #61: Pop-Group HAUNTER Makes Their Empowering Debut
Group photo of the Houston-based pop-group HAUNTERSource: Haunter
Rocking right into the pop scene with an unmatchable level of energy and heart, the Houston-based pop-group HAUNTER graced the industry with their electrifying debut single “Love You Better” last month.
Recently, we had an empowering discussion via telephone with guitarist Enoma Asowata, vocalist Lucy Lenoire, and bassist Mark Shroeder. We shared quite a few laughs and had the chance to learn more about this brand new band.
How would you summarize your sound in just three words?
Enoma: I would classify our sound as fierce, energetic, and fun. Those are the three I’d say best describe what we’re doing.
What were your experiences with music prior to forming Haunter?
Lucy: My experience has been in metal bands for eight years now. I’ve been in some cover bands, as well.
I wanted to do something different and delve into something fun, exciting, and colorful. I wanted to keep it interesting and do something I had never done before – I’d done basically most genres besides pop!
This is my first time doing pop and I love it.
Enoma: A lot of my experience was playing in bands growing up. I started out doing skate-punk bands and more post-hardcore.
My last experience before starting Haunter was a cross between active rock and pop. I’ve been playing rock music for pretty much my entire life.
Just like Lucy, I wanted to do something different, try to get as far away from what I’ve known as possible. I tried to think of the most over-correction I could do while still having fun with myself.
Pop music came into my head and I was like, “Okay, cool. I want to do this.” That kinda started the whole journey.
Mark: I’ve played in an indie band, I had fun with that. Then I moved on to working at a record label, after that I went on the road. I met a couple friends and learned of Haunter. I thought it sounded super different, super fun. It started something completely new for me, as well.
How would you describe the synergy within your group?
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Absolutely blown away by everyone streaming Love You Better. We are approaching 10,000 streams in just under a month! We can’t thank you enough for believing in us and sharing the song! Y’all are gang and we love you for it! Keep spreading the love and telling your friends. Remember to wash your hands and to not text your ex. LINK IN BIO babes ? ?: @zshtx Style: @asos @buffalojeans @printmoneygang @81twentythree @levis @fashionnova • • • • #inkedgirls #billieeilish #halsey #igofhouston #instagood #songwriter #alternativegirl #houston #tattoo #aovportraits #altgirl #agameoftones #electronicmusic #popmusic #creativeoptic #bossbabe #usaprimeshot #girlswithtattoos #exploretocreate #80smusic #gothgirl #heatercentral #fatalframes #visualsoflife #synthpop #ootd #retrowave #80s #style #spotify
Enoma: For us, everything feels almost effortless. We genuinely get along as friends and that makes everything that we do so much easier.
Even when it comes to having the tough conversations, stuff just seems to work out since we’re doing this because it’s fun. That’s what makes it feel very harmonious to me.
We get each other’s vibes, we know what everyone’s really good at. We stay in our lanes but we’re able to come together and it feels really good to be in this band.
What have you learned from working together so far?
Enoma: What I’ve learned has honestly been how to have fun and relax a lot more. I think with my other bands, I was doing a lot more of the operation stuff – I was the facilitator. I would organize the recordings, the travel, the booking.
I would basically run the business side of the band and it wasn’t fun for me. It felt like for another job that I wasn’t getting paid for, so I would feel very disconnected from what we were trying to do.
With this band, I’ve been able to learn more about letting go of things and relinquishing control to my peers so they can have an experience they’ve never had before. I can just sit back and be more present.
[I can] enjoy things and not think, “Okay well, that was cool, but I need to worry about the next thing.” I need to really be there and soak up the experience, which has been really rewarding for me.
Mark: I’ve learned that between all of us, if there’s something we have to get done, magically, no matter what, we can always get it done.
What are some of your core values, both musically and personally?
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“We ain’t on this grind for nothin’ so get ya hustle up.” – @liltunechi providing the inspiration today. We are always working to bring y’all some dope things! “Love You Better” comes out in 11 days. Are you excited? ?? ?: @enomahaunter • • • • #beardgang #billieeilish #halsey #sadboy #instagood #songwriter #beard #losangeles #tattoo #aovportraits #studio #agameoftones #electronicmusic #popmusic #creativeoptic #mkexplore #usaprimeshot #guitar #exploretocreate #80smusic #superbowl #heatercentral #fatalframes #visualsoflife #synthpop #hit #retrowave #outrun #80s
Enoma: For the band, our core value has always been if it’s not fun then it’s not worth doing.
I know it might sound a little simplistic and derivative, but it is very much true. Everything that we’ve done, we’ve done because we cared about it enough, it’s interesting and it’s fun for us to try.
Being able to travel to Los Angeles to record every year is fun. Writing music with our producer is fun. Doing the photos that we’ve done and the creatives that we have [worked with] to put together this vision has overall been a blast.
I think if we hold true to that and hold true to ourselves, I want it to bleed out to where people talk to us, when they see us, they’re like, “Oh, cool! I see this band, I know what they’re about. I see their energy, I pick up on their vibe. That seems like what I want to be a part of.”
Basically, the core values for us are making everything as fun as possible and trying to create a very inclusive environment for everyone to be their best and enjoy the music that we’re creating.
We’re going to continually work to do really, really cool stuff.
For myself personally, I’m really big on development. I really care a lot about having my friends grow, however that takes shape, however I can facilitate it. My passion is finding a way to make that happen.
If there’s any person that I know or connection that I have, I’ll do whatever it takes to put you in the room with somebody who can make those things happen.
Lucy: Me, musically, I would say my core values are to make sure everything is fun all the time. I think when things stop being fun and interesting you just loose passion for it, and people can feel that through the music and performances.
So as long as I’m having fun and inspiring people. I have two little sisters, both under the age of ten, so I really focus on being I’m inspiring to them.
Going right along with that, personally and musically, just being myself. I’ve been approached in the past a couple of times to be in different bands and record labels, but they always wanted me to change my image: how I looked and how I put myself out there.
I absolutely refuse to do that, so I’ve passed up quite a few opportunities because I’m not going to change who I am.
At all times, I just want to be inspiring as my number one. I always like to say to people when I meet fans for the first time, I know what it’s like to have anxiety, depression. I’m a real person, just like everyone else.
I think it’s very, very important for everyone on the face of the planet to know they’re not alone in that. I like to prove even though I do struggle with that, me and everyone else can do absolutely anything they want if you just believe in yourself and try your best to make it happen.
You can always improve on any issue you’re dealing with at any point in your life. Music is kind of that way of saying, “Hey, you can be who you want with whatever issue you have. Whatever struggles you’re going through, you can still be the best possible person.”
There is a light at the end of the tunnel, you know what I mean? I wouldn’t be doing it any other way.
Could you tell us a little about your powerful debut single, “Love You Better.”
Lucy: I was in LA and they had the instrumental playing in the background. They were like, “What kind of vibe do you get from this?”
I was like, “Hmm… Well, I had somebody at the time tell me I had to choose between music or him.” He said if he wasn’t important enough to me, I’d have to choose between my friends and my band, and being with him.
I don’t know what it was about the core production, but it just hit me. It was giving me bittersweet, sassy, like, “Y’know what? If this is too much for you, if I’m too much for you, someone’s gonna love you better.”
Someone else is gonna love you better than I can, obviously, because it sure ain’t gonna be me, baby.
I’m just like so sassy about it and I’m so glad [“Love You Better”] is the first one we released because as soon as I heard it I was like, “Oh, this is DEFINITELY what this song is going to be about, for sure!” [Laughs].
It happened very naturally. It was going right along with what was happening at the time from a very real perspective and a real place in my personal life – and Enoma as well, at the time!
We all felt pretty strongly that’s what [“Love You Better”] needed to be about. That’s kind of how that song came along and I love the story behind it.
Enoma: Wow, uh… I don’t think anything I’m gonna say is going to top that [laughs].
Mark: Same here [laughs].
Lucy: [Laughs]. You can’t beat what’s real, man. You can’t beat what’s real.
Enoma: Lucy just crushed it. That energy that she’s talking about – if you had not even seen a photo of our band or anything, you would’ve immediately, just in her voice, heard she’s bad. She’s bad [laughs].
“If it’s now or never, someone’s going to love you better” really is such an impactful line. Even how you just said it really hit me.
Lucy: It’s true! I’ve had so many opportunities to quit doing what I’m doing to do something else, to have a normal job, a big house, a 401K. So this song is just kind of a big oool’ middle finder to that and I love it. It’s my favorite thing in the world [laughs].
What were your favorite parts of shooting the music video for “Love You Better?”
“Love You Better” by HAUNTER music videoSource: HAUNTER – Love You Better (Official Music Video) | Print Money Gang
Lucy: So I’m just taking over this interview, I’m gonna tell my little story.
When I very first walked into Moffett Studios in Tomball[, Texas], this place I had never been to before, I go in and they’re already there setting up in the back.
So I walk through this door and I see a room filled with people. There’s like 15, 20 people in this room. And I’m like, “This has to be the wrong place. Where am I? I must’ve gone to the wrong room, there’s gotta be another video happening.”
But as soon as I walk in somebody goes, “The talent’s here!”
I was like, oh my God. Excuse my French, but holy shit. This is for me? And my band? I literally could not believe that was really for us.
The room was so nice, so huge. So much equipment, lights, all kinds of stuff going on. I had never been a part of something that big, ever.
It was so professional, there was so much going on. There was a huge crew of people. I was not expecting it.
I think it was that initial shock of just seeing immense production that was going on. I just could not believe it was for me.
I remember telling my family a long time ago that one day I’d be a rock star, and they were like, “Well you can do whatever you want as long as you keep trying.”
I just felt it. And not to be emotional, but it really made me tear up a little bit because I felt like I was really doing it. I’m not there yet, but that was the concreting moment in my mind that I was doing the right thing.
The initial surprise of the whole production was my favorite thing. I will never, ever forget that ever in my life.
Enoma: That’s awesome. For me, my favorite part of the video was making it literally what Lucy said, but from a different angle.
My whole thing, especially with this band, has been how can I create experiences for my bandmates that they’ve never had before.
Putting together the video took a lot between myself, Mark, and our music video director as well as our light designer. There were a lot of conversations that took place behind the scenes to make this happen and, going back to my core values, this was a picture-perfect scenario of what that can look like at a high level.
Knowing Lucy had that kind of reaction to it, that was my reward. It was badass. I wanted to be able to do things for her and for my other bandmates where they’ve never done things like this in their previous bands.
I want this to a band where they can experience their firsts where we’re always doing something cool. I get my emotional high from being able to make that happen and make a really great overall experience.
Mark: We haven’t actually played a show yet, so getting to do the music video was like a warmup for what a show is gonna feel like was a really real experience. Like, man, this is gonna be amazing.
A live show with all of us playing together, all of our energies on stage, I think the video is really gonna help the live show.
Lucy: Oooh, You’re so right.
Enoma: Big facts.
Were there any music videos in particular that inspired the cinematography for the “Love You Better” music video?
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Only a few more hours till our song is finally in your sweet hearts. We absolutely can’t wait to share the song with you, but stay tuned today… @substream has a surprise for y’all today. Keep an eye on our IG story ??? ?: @heatherannp88 • • • • #inkedgirls #billieeilish #halsey #igofhouston #instagood #songwriter #alternativegirl #houston #tattoo #aovportraits #altgirl #agameoftones #electronicmusic #popmusic #creativeoptic #bossbabe #usaprimeshot #girlswithtattoos #exploretocreate #80smusic #gothgirl #heathercentral #fatalframes #visualsoflife #synthpop #ootd #retrowave #outrun #80s
Lucy: That’s an Enoma question right there. I’m used to seeing black metal music videos where people are just… in the woods [laughs].
Enoma: Yeah, there were a couple other music videos that kind of inspired us. I don’t think it’s any secret that one of my biggest inspirations is a band called CHVRCHES.
Our amps were set up very reminiscent of how they had their keyboards and synthesizers set up in one of their older music videos. The band members were facing each other as opposed to everything facing out of the room. Everything is kind of siloed and I thought that was a really cool look.
There’s also a video from an EDM artist by the name of Garrix. He has a song called “Ocean,” and in the music video, it had little themes of light where they’re all building anticipation and different moments.
I wanted to take that and add a bit more color to it because that video is very black and white with a lot of dark colors, so it takes more of a somber mood.
For us, we needed to represent [“Love You Better’s”] vibe. It was a very ’80s, pop, synthwave aesthetic, so we used a lot of pinks, blues, greens, bright white.
The subdivide, the coloring, everything was done very deliberately to create those moments.
“Love You Better” is definitely a fantastic raise your middle fingers high in the sky anthem for you guys, but what do you hope the listeners take away from it as well?
Lucy: I’m hoping, for anyone, if they listen to those lyrics, “If it’s now or never, someone’s going to love you better,” and if they feel like they’re stuck in something, I hope they hear that and they have the balls to leave.
Realize that you’re awesome and then have the balls to do whatever it is you need to do. Don’t ever feel stuck in a situation, don’t ever let yourself be controlled or have someone tell you that you need to choose.
Just with those two little lines there, “If t’s now or never, someone’s gonna love you better,” I hope someone takes that from it.
Like if you’re pressuring me to do anything or asking me to do anything that I don’t feel is right for my growth, BYYYEEE! Step off!
That’s what I hope someone gets at – all caps, BYYEE.
Enoma: Wow, again, I’ve got nothing that can beat that.
Enoma, Lucy, Mark: [Laughs].
Lucy: It’s not hard to answer because it’s true! That’s just what it is, the whole reason behind writing the song, being sassy. And the music video with all the snappin’ [snaps], and the head movements. It’s all because, uh, no, baby! You can’t tell me what to do, ba-by!
Lucy: That’s what that whole video is about, don’t try to control it. If you’re a wild running horse, it’s kind of hard to control that.
I’m just hoping that some other girl – or whoever, anybody – who feels someone is trying to contain you, oh no, baby. You can do better than that and apparently you think you can too, so you’ve got to go ahead and try.
Enoma: I love everything about that.
Lucy: In this moment, y’all can’t see it, but I’m neck-rollin’ and finger snapping.
Enoma: If you listen really closely, you can hear her do a hair flip.
Lucy: You can’t kill the sass, baby!
Overall, what impact do you hope your music has in the long run?
Lucy: Passion. That’s it. Passion for life, passion for art, passion for music, passion for love, passion for yourself. Just wanting to keep pushing and being better.
Realizing no matter who you are and what you do, if you try your hardest then you’re the shit. That’s all there is to that.
Enoma: For me, I think about all the songs we’ve written and there has very much been that sense of empowerment; being able to comfortable in your own skin, being able to leave situations, understanding that you play such a big part in the picture of your own story.
This sounds super new age-y, but stepping into your truth and really owning who you are as a person: the good, bad, the ugly, all the amazing moments and all the dark moments. Just being very self-realized.
I would like our listeners to understand you can be an imperfect person. And in that, knowing that you’ll always be a work in progress.
If you at least understand that you have an opportunity every day to do better, to be better, and to understand that you can learn or grow from a situation you may have messed up.
Or on the other side of it, to realize it’s a bad situation and to strengthen yourself to walk away from it.
Mark: That’s another one. I can not top that.
Lucy and Enoma: [Laughs].
Being a “work in progress” is very important to keep in mind for everyone
Lucy: Oh yeah, definitely. If you ever think that you’re at your best, you’re probably being very stagnant.
We’re all very hard on ourselves, but it’s so we can grow. At the same time, we also appreciate where we are in the moment. It’s both parts.
You’ve gotta want better but also appreciate how far you’ve come at the same time.
The press release for your single also touches upon your goal to play very detail-oriented, experience-driven shows. What do you feel is the most important to the crowd during a performance?
Mark: The visuals. I think the visual aspect of having good lights, I guess good sound doesn’t go with the visuals, but that’s one of the first two that I think of when putting on a big show.
Enoma: Mark and I talk about this all the time. I think it’s the overall production. If you think about it, when people are coming to see you they’re giving you their most valued resource: their time. You want to make it worth their while.
You don’t want them to feel like, “Oh it’s a Friday night, I have nothing better to do so I’m going to go see my friend play at some bar,” no. You want them to be like, “Oh shit, I’m gonna go see HAUNTER tonight. This is wild.”
Like, the visuals are great, the sound is great, reaching out to the crowd, dancing, singing. It should be a true experience.
I want to create that sense of community and belonging.
One of my favorite bands of all time is not because they’re the most amazing bands to write music – they write great music and I love it, but the community around their band and their brand is sooo strong.
Their fans are diehard fans, from getting tattoos of them to organizing non-profit fundraising events to coming to the shows and dancing and singing along. People are making their best friends at these shows, people are meeting their partners at these shows.
There’s this huge sense of communal experience that happens at these shows, and I would love for us to have even a fraction of that going on to where people are like, “Y’know what? I met my best friend at that HAUNTER show. I went there not knowing anybody and had such a good time. I saw someone wearing a t-shirt, we danced, we chatted it up, and made a connection at this show because of this band.”
I can for sure picture that, especially with someone like Lucy who is just a magnetic presence. I can easily see that being at the forefront where people are really connecting with what we’re saying and what we’re doing.
We’ll embody that once they start seeing us play live.
Lucy: It’s funny that you said that because I am really big on connecting with people. Most people, at some point in our lives, feel alone or like nobody cares or they’re just stressed out.
I feel like music, in general, is the way to escape that. That’s the way you make yourself feel better. If you’re thinking about something, you put on something more emotional. You kind of control your mood with the music that you’re listening to.
I just hope when people come to shows in the future that they have a moment, like you were saying, where they feel like they belong. Making people feel alive, making you feel like you belong somewhere, like you’re accepted, like you’re a part of a family, making friends, etc…
My main goal is to make people feel like someone cares, where it’s front of 10 people or 10,000 people, I want someone out there to know they’re appreciated, someone cares about them, someone is listening to them, and I want the lyrics to represent that, as well.
I want them to have a moment of peace. I want them to feel that kind of ecstasy moment where they close their eyes and they’re comfortable, they know nobody’s going to hurt them.
I want them to feel pure joy. Happiness, comfort, belonging. I want them to feel ecstasy when we’re on stage, to feel peace for that one moment – that 30 minutes to an hour of your life where you get to remember that.
When they get stressed out, I want them to recollect those feelings and remember it’s not that bad and there’s always music to back that up and make you feel better. It helps life to give you that relief for just that little amount of time.
What’s next for you guys? Now that your debut single is out, do you have other songs and music videos in the works?
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Enoma: Absolutely! We have a lot of music in the pipeline that we’ll release. We’ll have one more song come out sometime right before we get started with summer.
There’s definitely going to be another music video. We’ll figure out which song it’ll be for, but there are definitely two or three of them we’re for sure doing music videos for.
The platforms we have right now are a lot of fun. There’s definitely one that’s very dark, very sexy.
It’s going to be very different from what you know us for, and I’m super excited to see what people think of that one because that one… Whew! That one’s going to be a kick in the knees in the best way possible and I can’t wait for that.
We also have another song that we call ‘the bop of bops.’
Lucy: It is!
Enoma: It is legitimately the bop of bops. Oh my God, that one I just started putting together our vision board for… God, I sound like I sell crystals.
Enoma: But that one, I think it’s going to be a lot of fun. We’re going to do this weird thing where we’re going to combine new culture, anime culture, club culture, it’s gonna be wild. Wild and really weird and I can not wait to pull it together.
Lucy: You know they’re good when you don’t even have to say the song name and I already know which ones you’re talking about just from us briefly talking about ideas and I’m like, “Oooh-ohh yeaahhh!”
It is so good, I can not wait to do these.
Enoma: Whew, yeah just thinking about it now I’m getting so gassed up.
So, we’ll have more music videos, shows we’ll be doing, but for right now I think we’ll focus on getting as much music together and plan it out for releasing as we can.
For me, and I think for all of us, the music is what matters the most. Nothing else that we do is going to make sense or connect with people as deeply as having really great songs and that’s definitely our priority.
Do you have any additional comments or final thoughts to share?
Mark: I can’t wait. I’m excited for this year, all the things we have planned, and everything we’re getting together. We’re actually going back to LA to record some more music and I think it’s gonna be a great year.
Lucy: To anyone who has doubted us or me, you better be ready to proven wrong in the next few years ’cause we aren’t stopping. This is a gravy train and you can either get on the gravy train or you can get ran over by it. And that’s all I’ve got to say about that.
Mark: Get ran over or get smothered.
Lucy: You’re gon’ get smothered by the gravy, or you’re gonna get ran over. That’s about it.
…That’s the most southern thing I’ve ever said in my life [laughs].
Enoma: I would encourage anyone who wants to reach out to us to hit us up on our social. One of us is always looking at the accounts, so shoot us a DM. We love to connect with anyone who wants to talk to us.
Lastly, look out for our clothing brand, Print Money Gang! We’ve opened up our online store very recently with a bunch of merch. So if you want to support us and support what we’re doing at a higher level.
You’d help us out so much, and honestly, you’re gonna look dope in those shirts. We’re proud of them, they’re great.
I’m excited for this year. I think we’ve got a lot of things in the pipeline and this is the best I’ve ever felt about being in a band and making music at any point in my life. I think it shows.
Give “Love You Better” a listen on Spotify and watch the music video on YouTube.
Be sure to follow Haunter on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to keep up with their latest song releases, merch store updates, and more!
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