By Patrick Michalishyn
Unless you’re living under floorboards or have your privacy setting ramped up on Facebook so you’re not bombarded with event invites, you probably know about Haunter. And if you don’t you should. I think they’re the best band in Winnipeg since Duotang, so let me tell you!
Haunter is Matt Williams and Jory Hasselmann on guitars, Marie-France Hollier on bass and Ryan Coates on drums. They play with the sound and fury of those old (and I use the term loosely) bands like Pavement, Dinosaur Jr. and Sonic Youth: mulchy, naive experimentation comes together with a hooky pop sense to make something refreshing and highly addictive. Taking these risks has its rewards. The band is packing venues around Winnipeg, has played alongside Women, Land of Talk and Handsome Furs and has a new, fast-selling 7” out and a Western-Canadian tour with Mount Royal that’ll end with a showcase at NXNE.
Haunter blessed me with a meeting over beer and tequila at Carlos & Murphy’s just days before Hasselmann’s Italian sabbatical.
Stylus: You guys have been playing a lot around Winnipeg. Like every weekend there’s been a Haunter show, and you’re always on with a different set of bands, different styles. Is it a matter of exposure, or…
Matt Williams: We just get asked to play a lot of shows
Stylus: Do you think you’re saturating the Winnipeg scene with Haunter?
MW: Well, sometimes I worry if we play too much that people would get sick of us, but it doesn’t seem like they’re sick enough of us, so we’ll keep playing around.
Jory Hasselmann: Well, there’s gonna be a good few weeks, or a month, that we won’t be playing. It’s gonna be a good break
Stylus: You guys just put out a 7”. How’d that go? [Matt makes wanking motion.] I think Matt’s calling me a wanker.
JH: We had a big 7” release a month ago…
MW: We released it all over Winnipeg…
JH: And a lot of people were there to witness it…
MW: It was released right into their faces!
Stylus: I missed the record release show, but I heard it was crazy! Gimme a crazy Haunter show story?
MW: We saw this dude beating on his girlfriend outside a club and thought it was pretty lame. We saw her later on in the venue and I asked her if she was OK and if that guy was still around. She said she was all right and I went off telling her what I think should happen to guys who hit women. Two of his friends overheard and didn’t like what I said and started freaking out on us. Jory said something like, “All’s fair in love and war,” to them and one of them gave me five seconds to leave. And I said, “Leave from where?” and Jory and I started laughing because the situation was so retarded. And then the guy punched me in the face! And he kept punching me!
Stylus: Jeekies! Um, so Haunter just got accepted into North by Northeast. That’s awesome! What’s the plan?
JH: First we’re going out west to play Victoria, touring with Mount Royal. We’re playing at Music Waste in Vancouver, which is like this underground music festival at a place called Funky Winkerbean’s. I hope it’s not as stupid as the name is. Then we’re heading back east to play NXNE in Toronto. We’re just gonna be hype machines. I dunno, I’m kinda scared about it, really. A little bit.
Stylus: Hey Mef [Marie-France], you’re not talking. Finish us off! What do your parents want you to get out of Haunter?
MFH: I don’t know what they want… I just want to make good music.
Ryan Coates: Straight to the bottom!