Dec 8 2011 by Ian Proctor, Harrow Observer
Siblings who count everything from brooding rock to Caribbean bashment music as influences have united to make a leftfield slice of pop, writes chief reporter IAN PROCTOR
A MULTI-instrumentalist brother and a sister combo from Wembley are promoting their self-produced début CD of ambient audio.
Happy Hunting – otherwise known as Alex, 22, of Scarle Road, and Jana Tyrrell, 27, now of Colindale – have released a four-track EP called Pitchblack.
Alex, whose day job is as a session musician, and Jana, who sets up audio and lighting at various London clubs, and teaches dance, co-established a studio in Notting Hill where they undertake recording, mixing and producing for other artists as well as themselves.
Jana said: “Growing up we both made music. I have played the piano since the age of nine or 10 and Alex made hip-hop beats in his bedroom, and we did create a few tracks when we were younger.”
Alex graduated from Manchester University in the summer and returned to north-west London, providing the opportunity for the siblings to conjure up a sampler of their new-found sound.
Jana said: “This is the first time I have been able to dedicate myself to my music as previously I had a full-time job.
“I wanted to put something out and Alex was playing in his session band, and already had some production experience, so it made sense to work together.
“It was quite a natural process. We didn’t particularly sit down with a purpose.
“Both of us are into ambient and leftfield artists – artists that are not necessarily mainstream – and we just played out. We play everything ourselves.
“We have got loads of stuff and we chose the songs we liked the most for the EP, and chose the one we liked the best for the EP. It took about a month. The live versions are sounding great to us and when the songs are live, they become more lively and less ambient: the drums really have a kick and the bass is amazing.”
Alex was responsible for the keyboards, guitars, bass and synthesisers while Jana features piano, keyboard, synthesiser and guitar.
The pair’s eclectic roots have shaped not just their four tracks so far but the name of their project.
Jana said: “In our family house we had this very strange wooden plaque in the living room with an Eastern European saying on it and I asked my dad what it meant once and he said it meant ‘Happy Hunting’. It was in Czech.
“We grew up hearing a range of music – the usual reggae people from Jamaica, and Czech music that is a more typically folksy sound with really interesting melodies and accordians.
“The music I like is quite ‘dark’, such as grunge rock from the ’90s, while Alex wants to be Neil Young.
“We haven’t directly incorporated all of these styles into our music yet but we will.”
The pair performed their first acoustic gig as Happy Hunting on Saturday at a pop-up shop in Camden, north London, and are seeking quirky platforms to promote their music.
“We have played and toured individually in lots of venues, the same old places, so we want to do something different,” said Jana. “The reaction to our music has been surprisingly good. All the early reviews have been favourable and we have had interest from a few labels since one of the studios we used passed our stuff to an A and R man.
“Where our music will take us, I just don’t know – there’s lots of options. Commercial success would be good and we want to take it as far as we can without comprising the music.”
l To hear some tracks go to firstname.lastname@example.org.