Antimai, the long awaited new album from The Dear Hunter, finds the band expanding on the universe that they first began introducing fans to with The Indigo Child last year. Comprised of eight expansive and completely unique songs, Antimai explores eight separate castes in a fictional city and the way that their hierarchy operates. A concept album through and through, Antimai is The Dear Hunter at their absolute best; creating a cohesive, vibrant, intricate world that listeners and dive into and lose themselves in.
Last month, the band released a video for “Ring 3 – Luxury”, the perfect visual component to the album. With all eight songs out now, we caught up with the band to reflect on the world-building that went into the writing process, the challenges and the triumphs of creating the album and most importantly, plans for the future. Read more and listen to the album now below.
Prelude Press: You’re getting ready to release your new album, Antimai this week! What are you most excited for fans to hear on the album?
The Dear Hunter: There’s no particular song I want people to hear over any other song. Each one has its own identity with a lot to say musically and lyrically.
While the record is conceptual, and fits into The Indigo Child story in a very meaningful way, I want listeners to be able to flip the switch off, and listen from a mess fictional perspective. That duality was woven in early on and is probably my favorite facet of the record.
Antimai finds you diving even deeper into the world you created on The Indigo Child last year. Thematically, was there anything that you knew you needed to touch on with this release?
Antimai is very specifically about the 8 separate castes in this fictional city, and the way their hierarchy operates. Rather than lean into a narrative, like in the last series of albums from my band, this record is solely focused on world building, and so it was a better opportunity to write about society as a whole. If there is one theme throughout, it’s the way power and influence can affect your compassion and empathy.
For those who might just be getting into the story for the first time, can you tell us a little bit about the world you’ve created within Antimai and The Indigo Child?
Aesthetically, the project is deeply rooted in fantasy/sci-fi. I wanted to create something colorful, vibrant, and expansive. Antimai is civilization’s last leg, originally meant as a means of restarting humanity, but having devolved into its current form: a rigid caste system where the powerful cling to their influence while the impoverished cling to survival, and those between the bookends of life rarely have the scope or access to assist those beneath them, or challenge those above them.
The story in Antimai is not just a sonic one, but a visual one as well with the video for “Ring 3 – Luxury”. Did the creative process differ between the two? Were there any challenges you faced while working on the videos that you didn’t when writing the music or vice versa?
I think the biggest hurdle working on the video we’ve released for Antimai would be doing them alone without a budget. I’d love the opportunity to collaborate with a group of visual artists the same way I’m able to collaborate with the fine gentlemen in my band. Luckily, when it comes to the music, we’ve all developed a great workflow after translating my concepts to albums over the last decade+ together.
What was the most rewarding or exciting part of working on Antimai?
Actually finishing the record after strongly considering trashing it and moving on to a different, less creative career path entirely.
Sonically, how do you feel you’ve grown with the creation of the album? Was there anything that you wanted to experiment with or try with these songs?
It was a great opportunity to express a swath of influences we’ve all carried since our formative years as musicians and songwriters. Working conceptually, I always want to balance serving the story we’re telling and the aesthetic goals of the music, so in the past, that means providing the band, and myself, meaningful boundaries. On this record, it served the project to remove the boundaries entirely.
What would you like for fans to take away from the album’s story?
I hope they can see that this album, and this project in general, is not an act of convolution. That there is meaning here, and while it may be dressed up in fantasy, the meaning is very clear.
You’re also getting ready to hit the road this summer! What are you most excited about on those upcoming dates?
Playing this album front to back with my best friends for the people who have gifted us the lottery win of life, enabling us to share our creativity.
Thank you for taking the time to chat with us! Is there anything else you’d like to add?
I only hope that I can find the opportunity to share the complete story of The Indigo Child with everyone, and I am so grateful for the interest and energy everyone has shown for the project thus far.
THE DEAR HUNTER TOUR DATES:
7/28 – San Francisco, CA – The Chapel
7/29 – Pomona, CA – The Glass House
7/30 – Los Angeles, CA – Lodge Room Highland Park
8/1 – Phoenix, AZ – Crescent Ballroom
8/3 – Austin, TX – Parish
8/4 – Fort Worth, TX – Tulips FTW
8/5 – Houston, TX – White Oak Music Hall
8/7 – Orlando, FL – The Abbey
8/8 – Atlanta, GA – Terminal West
8/9 – Nashville, TN – The Basement East
8/11 – Durham, NC – Motorco Music Hall
8/12 – Baltimore, MD – Ottobar
8/13 – Brooklyn, NY – Music Hall of Williamsburg
8/14 – Cambridge, MA – The Sinclair
8/16 – Philadelphia, PA – Underground Arts
8/17 – Buffalo, NY – Rec Room
8/19 – Cleveland, OH – Beachland Ballroom
8/20 – Ann Arbor, MI – Blind Pig
8/21 – Chicago, IL – Metro
8/23 – Lawrence, KS – Bottleneck
8/24 – Denver, CO – Marquis Theater
8/25 – Salt Lake City, UT – Metro Music Hall
8/27 – Portland, OR – Hawthorne Theatre
8/28 – Seattle, WA – Neptune Theatre