Kicking off the new year the way they finished 2018, alt rockers THE HAUNT are hitting the road with Palaye Royale, this time an 11-city European trek that will see them play Paris, Amsterdam, Milan, Zurich, Vienna, and Prague with five shows in Germany, including Cologne, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Nuremberg, and Stuttgart. This will mark more than 50 shows with Remington Leath and his brethren since last fall as the fashion-art rockers have taken the band under their wing.
Fronted by 16-year old, Anastasia Grace, who’s beguiling presence adds an air of mystery to the proceedings, she’s flanked by her 19-year old brother, Maxamillion, who shares vocal duties while shaping the sonic direction of their exposition. Musically interconnected their whole lives, the dynamic duo have been performing live for the past six years, with initial writing for their debut EP commencing in early 2015. Out of these sessions came the song that instantaneously cemented their status as a force to be reckoned with, the searing gothic mysticism of “All Went Black.” Maxamillion recalls, “Since Anastasia was bullied in middle school, one of our passions has always been standing up for people in situations who might not be the most popular or easily accepted. All Went Black stood with that passion.” The sentiment is echoed by Anastasia, “Originally, we began to make and share music for us to escape our own lives. But when we saw the effect it had on people, it became a channel to connect.”
Penned by Anastasia at age 12, its hypnotic refrain, “Where did you go, Are you coming back, Where did you go when it all went black,” is a stunning outcry against abandonment and the resulting darkness of being left behind by those we love. It doesn’t just leave a mark. It deposits a scar, but don’t be afraid of the dark because even in the depth of the night, there is light. A singular voice, brimming with soul, subconsciously encourages you to never let go, that strength built from moments of weakness will help console the hole in your soul. The corresponding visual, directed by Chris Hill, known for his groundbreaking video for Cut Copy’s “Free Your Mind,” which starred True Blood’s Alexander Skarsgard, crystalized their vision as a school bus overrun by a frenetic monster-mask masquerade epitomizes the cataclysm. Its cinematography singes as the anxiety unhinges.
In conjunction with the video release, which went viral, quickly amassing 100,000 views, the group partnered with the Stop Bullying Now Foundation to help contribute to putting an end to the epidemic of bullying among today’s youth, empowering them through counseling, life skills training, open communication, and creative outlets.
Understanding the depth of The Haunt is to dig beneath the surface. Drawing from an eclectic palette of influences such as Twenty One Pilots, Cage The Elephant, Lumineers, Jack White and Billie Holiday, their self-titled EP is a whirling dervish of the ups and downs of two young souls navigating convergent and divergent roles. Merging bits of Alternative, Indie, Rock and Roll, Garage, and Blues, the expedition is an evenly spilt half dozen. Broken into Side A and Side B, the adventure begins with “Brat,” an instantly infectious floor-shaker that recalls the best of Catfish & the Bottlemen and Bad Suns. From there, it’s a sibling tour-du-force as Ana and Max effortlessly trade vocal lines on the voyeuristic vamp of “Dirty.” The duo then flirt with an Addams-family style bassline on the gothic “Streets & Lies,” which brims with undertones of Bauhaus, My Chemical Romance and Siouxsie and the Banshees, and prowls the dark recesses on the subconscious on “Get Away,” which its hair-raising vocal bloodletting of “Get away pain, I will rise to the sky and wave goodbye to the people who let their whole lives pass by.” It’s this sentiment that resurfaces in the frayed majesty of “Bullet,” The Haunt’s emotional centerpiece. It’s a devastatingly beautiful ballad that builds slowly from sparse instrumentation to a sweeping conclusion, both, literally and figuratively, as her ethereal yearning eclipses a shattered rainbow, “Running, I keep running off. Help me, I can never slow.” Xune Magazine christened Anastasia’s powerful range as “a young Florence Welch with far more attitude” while Rock Sound Magazine christened the band as a ‘Breakout’ Artist for 2019.
Produced by Joshua Diaz and Maxamillion Haunt, the resultant excursion is an apt beginning to the textural journey ahead, one that explores all facets, and varied faces, of the human condition. Recorded in their home base of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, this portrait is the product of many late nights, early mornings, arguments, celebrations, and learning to love something that doesn’t always love you back.
In person, The Haunt want reciprocation. Stemming from their familial bond and their all-for-one, against-all-odds belief, they strive to build a meaningful rapport with their growing fanbase. In concert, they faithfully recreate their evocative songs, with note-for-note clarity, encouraging on openness to immerse your senses. Feel it with every cell in your being. Channeling the likes of Karen O, Cat Power, Shirley Manson, Amy Lee (of Evanescence), Lorde and the ghost of Nina Simone, Anastasia is an indisputable talent, her powerful voice able to command your undivided attention. With a telepathic counterbalance from Maxamillion, and the propulsive rhythm section of bassist Natalie Smallish and drummer Nick Lewert, the quartet embodies the essence of spontaneous combustion.
Hear that sound. It’s the sound of disintegration. Fascination street has a new resident.
Don’t be silent. Be vigilant. Live life to the max.
Tour w/ Palaye Royale, Flash Forward
06 Feb – Cologne, DE @ LUXOR
07 Feb – Hamburg, DE @ Logo
08 Feb – Amsterdam, NL @ Melkweg
10 Feb – Stuttgart, DE @ clubCANN
11 Feb – Frankfurt, DE @ Zoom
12 Feb – Paris, FR @ Point Éphémère
14 Feb – Nuremberg, DE @ Z-Bau
15 Feb – Zurich, CH @ Dynamo Werk 21
16 Feb – Vienna, AT @ Flex
17 Feb – Milan, IT @ Legend 54
19 Feb – Prague, CZ @ Futurum
Anastasia Grace: Vox/Lyrics
Max Haunt: Vox/Guitar
Nick Lewert: Drums/Piano/Vocals
Natalie Smallish: Bass