The Haunt By Lori Smerilson Carson October 1, 2023 Several siblings have taken the music industry by storm. The Haunt’s Lead Vocalist Anastasia Haunt and her brother Guitarist/Vocalist/Producer Maxamillion Haunt, along with their bandmates Drummer Nick Lewert and Bassist Nat Smallish are flooding the scene, intensifying the storm with their unique, amazing alternative rock music. Fans first were introduced to this extraordinarily talented, South Florida band when they released their debut self-titled EP in 2018. Then in 2021, they released their second EP Social Intercourse and on September 8, 2023, they just released their third EP Dead on Arrival with six outstanding new tunes. Catching up with The Haunt siblings Anastasia and Maxamillion, just prior to their tour and their latest EP release, they revealed some details about their new music, the new videos, their upcoming tour and what fans can look forward to. SFL Music: The New EP DEAD ON ARRIVAL, it’s amazing! A few of the songs start off a cappella with your incredible voice Anastasia. I saw the video for the song “OK”. I read it’s about relationships, but a lot about having faith in yourself and love for yourself. What inspired that song? Anastasia Haunt: I feel like I say it pretty well in the song, which is that overall feeling of like when you’re in a relationship, you feel super secure and confident in yourself and then when there’s a break up or that’s taken away, you kind of can lose that love for yourself. It’s kind of like the feeling of not being able to love yourself, by yourself. Like needing validation from other people. SFL Music: What would you say inspired these songs on the whole? Is it life experiences? It sounds like many of them are relationship driven like “This Won’t Go Over Well”. Anastasia: Right. Yeah. I wrote it right after a breakup, and less about the actual breakup, and more about myself and trying to find self-worth without someone else. Maxamillion Haunt: I think that a lot of songs on the EP are kind of under that same idea where that’s kind of what the driving factor of the EP was. Just personal experiences and our kind of growth from the last time we were putting out music, and it’s been a little bit of a gap since then. So, it’s been really great to come out and be able to put a piece of work together like this. We’re super excited about it. SFL Music: Would you say there’s a theme of being inspirational to others? What would you say? Maxamillion: Yeah, kind of. I guess it would be more like a theme of personal growth over the last few years, especially like through the pandemic and how weird the world got. I think it was a time for self-reflection and that’s what a lot of this music is about. SFL Music: What inspired the song “Shake”? Maxamillion: “Shake” was a really fun one because we co-wrote it with Seth Reger from The Stereotypes and then it was produced by Jason Matter also in The Stereotype, and that was really one of the last songs we did for the EP, I think. Maybe the last song that we did for the EP. It kind of just came together in like a day or two. Anastasia: Yeah. Maxamillion: We just made this really fun song. We kind of wanted a little bit of the tone of the album to feel like that. We felt like we had captured everything else that we were trying to accomplish on the record, so it was really fun to go in and create kind of more like an angry, fierce, fight song and that’s kind of what “Shake” ended up being. We wanted to set the tone for the EP with that one, so that’s why we put that one out first. We definitely love that song. SFL Music: With “Overdose” you’re talking about drugs and everything. Was there anything particular that you were kind of honing in on or trying to convey with that song? Maxamillion: Yeah, we’ve all kind of had experiences, been affected by it and where we live in South Florida, it’s such a common, common thing and it’s really unfortunate. The song is about you know, I say personal experience and stuff like that. I really don’t want to get too detailed on, but there’s definitely like a factor of we want to use the song also as a platform to help anyone that we can. So, with the song we’re kind of releasing this whole campaign, working with End Overdose. I guess they’re an organization. Anastasia: And production. Maxamillion: It’s a whole production because the use is so high, and so we’re really trying to do our best to help people from getting seriously hurt or dying of an overdose. Anastasia: And you heard the song you said. You heard the song, so it’s less about personal experience and more just about how the same kind of thing, like in a relationship when you’re with someone, you wouldn’t really think how much their actions and how much it would affect you in that situation. SFL Music: I noticed that with the lyrics. This organization that you’re working with, what are you doing with them? Maxamillion: Mostly of what we’re doing is spreading awareness and also that there’s resources available. We’re doing a lot of work on trying to you know, the music video and everywhere that we can, it’s going to be linking to their resources and the organizations website to help however we can. We’re also going to be doing a donation for the pre-sale link to donate to them. Donate to the organization and help them do what they’re doing. They’re doing great work helping people with test kits and a bunch of different resources on their website. They’re one of the organizations that’s not trying to stop drug use in general because it’s kind of become a futile battle. It’s trying to help as many people as you can you know, not end up in a really bad place. SFL Music: That’s very cool. The last time we spoke in 2021 when your last EP came out, SOCIAL INTERCOURSE, you also had done a song for a movie “Hollywood”. Have you done anything else like that? Maxamillion: The cover that we did before we put out the EP, was the cover of an Amy Winehouse song with an artist named DYLYN on the label with us, our network, and it was “You Know I’m No Good”, and that has been in the U.K version of Love Island. Very hyped about. Anastasia: We were so excited. Maxamillion: It’s also gonna be in the U.S. run of this season of Love Island as well. Anastasia: Which is also very, very exciting. SFL Music: You guys are getting ready to tour, but I didn’t see any Florida dates yet. Are you making a circle to end with a big finale in your home town? Maxamillion: We’re trying our best to get a Florida show on the map. It’s been difficult this year. So many people have been on the road and it’s kind of hard to nail down a line up and make the show something that would be worthwhile for everybody. So, we’re trying our best to do that. It’s kind of become a common theme now I guess, is that every time we go on the road, its very rare that we, the closest we’ve had to a South Florida show on any of the tours that we’ve been on is Orlando. SFL Music: That’s ok. It’s only a four-hour drive. The last time we spoke you were rehearsing in a warehouse with no air-conditioning. I hope you have air now because the heat has been unbearable. Maxamillion: Oh, it’s been crazy, but yeah. We have air-conditioning now, but we are still in the same warehouse doing our thing. Anastasia: We’re there. SFL Music: Do you have any new videos? You have “Shake” and “OK” out. Maxamillion: Actually, every song on the EP has a separate video, and so all of those videos are out up to “OK”, and then when “Overdose” comes out in a few weeks from now, actually one week from now, it’s going to have its own music video which is really, really fun. Our drummer Nick made it and its I think one of the best ones we got. It’s very cool. SFL Music: Is there anything in particular fans can look forward to with the new show? Maxamillion: Yeah, if you like the new music, we’re playing a bunch of it (he laughed), and we’re also playing a bunch of unreleased songs that are gonna be off of something in the future. So, we’re very excited for this new show that we’re gonna be playing. We’re really grateful that this year has been really active for us touring, but we’re really excited for this one coming out with Halocene and No Resolve and Hooked Like Helen. SFL Music: You produced with Nick Lewert and Seth Reger? Maxamillion: We only did one song off this EP with Seth Reger and Jason Matter and we did one song with Kevin Thrasher. The song “More” out in L.A. which was so much fun. Anastasia: We have a lot of songs coming out with Kevin and we love everything that he touches of ours. Maxamillion: But then the rest of the songs on the EP including the new one that’s coming out “Overdose” and the last one “OK”, those were produced by me and Nick Lewert. SFL Music: What do you aim for when you produce a record? Maxamillion: The biggest thing for me when we’re producing for like our band is, the reason that we started to produce, the reason I got into production before this EP over the course of the pandemic, I started learning as much as I could about production. The thing I really wanted to hone in on was that I really felt like nobody was doing justice to Ana’s vocals. So, I kind of really wanted to just master recording female vocals and recording a powerful female voice and trying to build the production around the voice as opposed to like fit into the already created song kind of thing which is what has kind of happened for a lot of the other stuff that we worked on. It’s just one way that a lot of producer’s work, but we kind of work the opposite way where we’ll just have like a piano demo. Then Ana will usually write or I’ll write, and then we’ll record a scratch vocal and we build the whole song around that. That’s kind of the way that I work production wise. Yeah, I think that’s kind of unique about our style, is that our songs are really just made to show off the vocal while still trying to capture the instrumental vibe that we’re going for. Our main mission at this point is to really show off Ana’s voice. Show off the vocals in the band. The music is super important to all of us as you know, we’re all instrumentalists, but it’s really something that we feel strongly about. It’s what the goal of the band has been since the beginning. SFL Music: Did you sing on “I’m Done”? Maxamillion: Yeah. One song per EP where I’ll just kind of like, I’ll sing my little heart out. SFL Music: And you should. You have a great voice too. Maxamillion: Thank you so much. SFL Music: You’re welcome. The last time we spoke you talked about how your parent’s encouraged music. You took piano lessons. When I asked you about what you would recommend to a new artist, you advised to stick with it, even if it gets hard. Do you still feel the same way now? What would you recommend maybe differently to a new artist? Maxamillion: I think I nailed it (he laughed). I think it’s just sticking with it. It’s a really hard and sometimes very long grueling road, but you kind of just stick with it and you keep acquiring new skills and keep building your value to the music world, and I think along with that will come like further and further success. That’s kind of how we’ve always tried to do it. Slow, brick by brick. If you take the long road, it’s usually the better way to go. You don’t chase trends. Do what you do, and do it until you can’t do it anymore and hopefully it works (he laughed). SFL Music: That’s great advice. Do you think that’s been the secret to the success you all have had? Maxamillion: I guess so. That’s just kind of always been our mentality. It’s always how we’ve been raised, is to try to just stay true to what you want to be doing. If it’s something worth doing, then people will catch onto it. That’s what we’ve been trying to do since the beginning of the band. SFL Music: Is there anything else you want people to know? Maxamillion: Definitely come try to catch us on tour. Anastasia: Yes, definitely buy tickets and come see us on tour, and I think when this comes out, our EP will be out. Maxamillion: I think so, yeah. So, stream DEAD ON ARRIVAL, the whole fucking thing. Anastasia: And watch the videos and give it the most love that you can possibly give something. Share It!