Are you sitting comfortably?
Yes?…then we’ll begin….
Hanterhir have sort of existed since 2007. Ben was playing in a band called Takk with Jason on drums and former Hanterhir members Martyn Whitford and John Filbrook. Ben slowly began to hate Jason as two thirds of the gigs the band were offered were turned down because of Jason’s other bands and various commitments in life so decided that he was going to write and record some songs that anybody could play along with if they wanted to join in. He then spent the next year or so writing the first songs for the as yet untitled band, and recording demos for them at Brendan McGreal’s Cornish Underground studio.
Now we’ve got to this point in the Hanterhir story it’s probably best to talk about where the name came from. Ben used to live in Northampton and the area of the town that was notorious for prostitution was called Semilong, when it came to naming the band, and having no band members to quarrel with about names, that was what the band was originally called, or more strictly speaking “Ben Harris’s Semilong”…when it actually came to playing the first gig on 11th July 2009 the name had morphed into a lazy Cornish language translation Hanter (meaning half) and Hir (meaning long).
The band secured their first gig on 11th July 2009 at Redruth’s infamous Gaslights (sung about so eloquently by Hedluv and Malibu Barny). Personnel rotated for a while with Barnaby Ray playing drums for the first few gigs before making way for Jason, Whitford played bass from the start with notable appearances from Martyn Trathen (currently playing in Twitch) playing guitar and djembe for a few gigs, Stephen Taylor playing a laptop, Dave Kent playing djembe, John Filbrook playing guitar, Brendan McGreal and Lukas Drinkwater playing bass and some random guy called Mike Hewitt playing sax.
By November the band had settled on core members Ben, Jase and Whitford, but on booking time in Black & White Studio to record, the band found a guitarist in producer Martin Pease who joined the band in later 2009.
The recordings eventually became the first untitled album and saw the four-piece Hanterhir release they first album in early 2010.
That year saw the band play gigs and festivals across Cornwall on the back of the first album. As Peasy had joined after the first album had been written it was only natural for the band to start writing as the gigs came and went and by the middle of the year the band had completed writing another full albums’ worth of material and this time, they’d decided it was going to be bigger and better.
The band headed back to Black and White Studio in Redruth and this time enlisted help from artist Chris Odger on guitar, Beckie Brown, Duncan Jewitt, Lucy Keast, Hayley Sanford and Jud Vandy on vocals, Frances Bennett on fiddle, Brendan McGreal helping write Plos Mis Du with Whitford and Stephen Taylor making random noises.