Interviews

Published on June 30th, 2019 | by Darren Paltrowitz

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Huntertones’ Jon Lampley On The Band’s July 18th Show, Playing With O.A.R. & Columbus, Ohio

Formed in Columbus, Ohio and based in Brooklyn, New York, Huntertones has a high-energy, horn-driven sound. Popular for its genre-bending compositions and unconventional covers, the group is known to bring people together around the world with its fun, imaginative and fearless music. Every show by the Huntertones is a social experience celebrating the joy of music.

Huntertones is comprised of Dan White (saxophones), Chris Ott (trombone/beatbox), Adam DeAscentis (bass), John Hubbell (drums), Josh Hill (guitar), Justin Stanton (keys, trumpet) and Jon Lampley (trumpet/ sousaphone), who is also a member of O.A.R and Stephen Colbert’s late-night house band on The Late Show. Those in the New York area can see the Huntertones play a special hometown show in Brooklyn at The Knitting Factory on Thursday, July 18th; Melissa McMillan is rumored to be joining the Huntertones on-stage to perform “You Gotta Be” at that gig.

I had the pleasure of doing Q&A with the Huntertones’ Jon Lampley, as printed below. More on the band can be found online by visiting its official website at www.huntertones.com.

How would you describe the Huntertones to someone who hasn’t heard the band before?

Jon Lampley: Huntertones is high-energy, feel-good music created and performed with the intent to uplift and bring people together. We make music to dance to, music to think to, music that is interactive and exciting. I’m always hesitant to put the band into a genre because our songs are inspired by so many different elements — various genres, cultures and music from all over the world, growing up in different social/musical backgrounds — but over the years we’ve developed a particular, unique sound that combines all of these pieces in a way that is exciting and joyful to all types of music listeners.

Is the music heard at a Huntertones live show particularly different from what is heard on a Huntertunes studio recording?

Jon Lampley: Absolutely! We do our best to capture the energy of the band in the studio, but the best way to experience the band is 100 percent live. We are always pushing ourselves to find ways to make the music different every night. Interaction is also one of most crucial parts of our sound, so every night we are reacting to each other and to the audience in different ways. Often times people who have heard the band via Spotify or YouTube will come to a concert and afterwards tell us how blown away they were because the live show is so much different than simply hearing the band. Our favorite artists are the ones putting on stellar live shows, so we strive to be one of those bands!

Your Knitting Factory show is being billed as a “hometown show.” When did you first start viewing Brooklyn as your hometown?

Jon Lampley: We moved to New York in 2014, and I think it took about two years for us to really feel like New York was home. By 2016 there was a buzz growing around the band based on shows we’d had at Rockwood Music Hall. We started to see some real support from new fans and also the incredible music community that exists here. Columbus, Ohio will always be the birthplace of of the band, but we have definitely settled into Brooklyn and are excited to come back and throw down after a busy first half of the year on the road.

Besides the Huntertones, you keep busy as a member of O.A.R and also Stephen Colbert’s late night house band. Was it always the plan to juggle a bunch of different projects?

Jon Lampley: My plan has always been to find people to make music with that approached it with the same mindset as I do, and that mindset revolves around brining joy to the other musicians on stage and to the audience. I feel EXTREMELY blessed to have found 3 musical families that share that mindset. The sound of each of these bands wildly different, but the spirit at the center is the same. It can be a lot to juggle at times, but I’m thankful for the opportunity to make music with such incredible musicians and humans during this point in career.

Given that you go between those projects I just mentioned, how much of an average day is actually spent playing music versus talking about or answering e-mails about music?

Jon Lampley: It really goes in waves. There are some days or weeks where I’m able to focus on playing/performing/writing whether it be in New York City or on the road. And there are other days/weeks where I’m having to focus on looking at my schedule 3 to 6 months in advance and finding the balance between all 3 bands as well as trying to sneak some time in to rest and reset. I think it’s important to make time for the creative side and the logistics side separately. When they overlap too much they can have negative effects on each other, but when given their own space each side of the coin benefits the other.

I recently had the pleasure of visiting your original hometown of Columbus. How have you noticed Columbus change in recent years?

Jon Lampley: The landscape of Columbus — specifically The Ohio State University — has changed IMMENSELY. Entire blocks have been renovated and replaced with nicer apartments, old bars and restaurants have been replaced with new ones, dorms where a lot of us lived have been torn down. BUT… The spirit of the city and the people who live there has remained the same. Kindness, tenacity, and a different approach to creativity paired with a fierce pride that many Ohio natives share makes Columbus a special place.

What are some of your favorite places to dine at in Columbus?

Jon Lampley: Wow, there are so many! Going to try to shorten the list for you:
– Northstar Cafe – We eat here multiple times every time we’re back in town. EVERY TIME.
– Natalie’s Coal Fired Pizza and Live Music – This is one of the venues that first booked us. Great spot and great staff!
– Brassica
Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams
– One Line Coffee
– Catfish Biff’s Pizza

To you personally, do Columbus and Brooklyn have anything in common?

Jon Lampley: I think a common thread would be the high level of support within the music community. There are many artists in both cities, and all of those artists are coming at their crafts from different backgrounds and different ideas. We were able to feel at home more quickly in Brooklyn because we had already existed in a similar music community that recognized we were taking music in a different direction and the community encouraged that. It’s a powerful thing when a community of artists can rise together instead of trying to climb over each other, and I think Columbus and Brooklyn share that kind of scene.

When not busy with music, where does your time usually go?

Jon Lampley: I’m into reading. Lately some favorite authors are Stephen King, Hanif Abdurraqib, Karen Russel, and that list goes on. Recently dove into The Moth storytelling podcast. I’m a big fan of honest/genuine storytelling in general. Very into trying to stay fit in a bunch of different ways. I mostly do boxing classes, running, circuit-training. Over the last year I’ve jumped into cooking. No master chef yet but getting there. I made gumbo a few months back that was killin’!

What was the last concert you attended for fun?

Jon Lampley: Anderson .Paak + the Free Nationals. One of the best shows I’ve seen in a LONG time. He is the whole package both as a writer, musician, and performer and the band CRUSHES. I definitely consider him one of the top artists of this generation.

Finally, Jon, any last words for the kids?

Jon Lampley: Find what you love and pursue that, whether it be professionally or not. Realize that it’s going to take WORK regardless of how much you love whatever it is, but embrace that work and know that it’s worth it in the end. Be present and lift someone else up every day. Life is such a miracle and it’s really easy to let it fly by without understanding what a blessing it is to live it and to share it with others.


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About the Author

Darren Paltrowitz is a New York resident (and Long Island native) with over 15 years of entertainment industry experience. He began working around the music business as a teenager, interning for the manager of his favorite band Superdrag. In the years following, he has worked with a wide array of artists including OK Go, They Might Be Giants, Mike Viola, Tracy Bonham, Loudness, Rachael Yamagata, and Amanda Palmer.Darren's writing has appeared in dozens of outlets including the New York Daily News, Inquisitr, The Daily Meal, The Hype Magazine, All Music Guide, Guitar World, TheStreet.com, Format Magazine, Businessweek, The Improper, the L.A. Times, and the Jewish Journal. He is a member of the SATW and the IFWTWA organizations as a food and travel writer.Darren is also the host the recently-launched "Paltrocast With Darren Paltrowitz" podcast, as co-produced with PureGrainAudio.


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