Nick Middleton is a man on the go. Leading up to the March 23rd release of his band The Funk Hunter’s debut album Typecast, the in-demand producer is enjoying a moment of respite on Vancouver Island. “I’m just here for a few days before I head over to Vancouver for our record release,” he says. Said record release is a huge milestone for the group. After being a band for the last decade, releasing countless singles, remixes and collaborations with an impressive roster of talent, The Funk Hunters are now finally putting out their debut full length. 

What was the impetus for you guys to put out an album now? You’ve been super successful, toured the world and worked with such an impressive array of talent already. What changed?

“We’ve been wanting to make a record for years now. As the industry has moved more into the streaming realm, music in general has started to feel a bit, I guess, disposable. There’s always been the risk of putting something out and it getting lost in the mix of so many things coming out. It felt over the last decade that it just serves artists better to put out singles but making an actual album was a definite goal and it felt like the right time. 

How was the process of recording this different from how you’ve done things in the past? Was there any difference? I would imagine the pressure is different knowing that this would be an actual record. 

“We went into it with the idea of working with some collaborators. My friend Peter, who I write with a lot, we had all these different songs that were sitting on the back burner but the thought behind it was what’s not in our arsenal at the moment. We started to do a bunch of new writing and the pressure was just what is this record going to be. We didn’t want to be in the position where three or four of the tracks on the album felt the same, we wanted it to be a really diverse collection of songs.”

The record definitely has a lot of different styles and influences on it but still feels like the product of the band itself. How much of that do you feel is the collaboration between yourself and Duncan (Smith, co-Hunter) and possibly being the product of your environment, growing up and living in this part of the world?

“Me and Duncs met at film school on Galiano Island about 13-14 years ago. I moved over there to take a documentary filmmaking course, because that was what I was doing and what I wanted to be. I ended up working at the school and learning a ton about business and marketing and me and Duncs, at the time, just started making music for kicks. I started out pretty late in life comparatively to most musicians. Thinking back on it, it’s definitely something that I wish I started doing when I was 15, but back then, you have to understand, when I was that age in school being in a band just wasn’t that cool,” he laughs.

You’ve spoken about how going to Shambhala (an annual electronic music festival held in the West Kootenay mountains near Nelson, British Columbia) for the first time really had an effect on you both as musicians...

“Oh, my first trip to Shambhala was so eye opening. It just blew my mind to see all these people and artists and to see what these musicians were doing with the art form and how they created their stage shows. It’s such a core part of our story. I took Duncs up the next year and he had the same reaction.”

You’ve been lucky enough to travel to all different parts of the world. Do you still feel that same sense of excitement or has it evolved into something else?

“Sometimes when you’ve been doing things for a long time, that allure can dissipate for sure and it becomes more of a job. We’ve been fortunate enough to play at Coachella and Red Rocks and those have been amazing experiences, but with Shambhala that awesome tingly feeling still happens. It’s still relatively underground and to be there and perform and to remember seeing the all encompassing stages and lights and think about when I first caught that bug, it’s cool that we really do have the same reaction to being back. I am finding as time goes on though my passion is starting to manifest more into being in the studio and working on music and collaborating with and producing other artists and belong them to achieve their visions.”

The Funk Hunters are you and Duncan, but you have collaborated with and brought live musicians on tour with you. Is this something that the fans can expect to see while you are touring this record or will it be the core of the two of you?

“We did the first leg of our healing tour in January. It was Duncs and I. It always can change depending on the situation. Having live musicians with us is great. It’s a harder situation to collaborate in then when it’s just me and Duncs but it’s super fun to have them out with us. That being said, when it’s just the two of us onstage and we are rocking an amazing crowd, it’s such a great feeling and something, to be honest with you, that I don’t want to ever lose sight of.”

With the release of Typecast, The Funk Hunters should be in a great position to never lose sight of the things that really matter to them. The Vancouver based group is at the top of their game both personally and professionally, and as long as they continue to make the quality and exciting music they have been, the chance of them being typecast into any other situation is an impossibility. 

The Funk Hunters' Typecast is available now worldwide via Westwood Recordings and wherever else you buy and stream music.

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