The Haunt to release new single “FML”

By Justice Petersen

Before arriving at sound check for the final show of their tour, Max and Anastasia Haunt of Florida-based alt-rock group The Haunt say that their future plans as a band include total world domination. They aren’t joking.

Consisting of siblings Max (guitars, vocals) and Anastasia (vocals), who are joined by Nat Smallish (bass) and Nick Lewert (drums), The Haunt has just finished their fall U.S. tour supporting No Resolve and Halocene. They will soon be releasing “FML,” the angry and edgy first single from their forthcoming EP, on October 20.

“We’re very excited to start moving into this next body of work. It’s got a little bit of a darker vibe than the most recent stuff that we put out,” Max says. “I would say the last album was a little more on the sad and emotional side, and this side is a little more angry.”

“Dead on Arrival” (2023), the band’s third EP, was released on September 8. This marked the first time that the band was able to produce every track on a release and become heavily involved with the recording process, according to Max.

“To step into the ability to be able to see the music all the way through on our own was a huge step forward,” Max says. “I think that we feel like we’re now really becoming the sound of the band that we’ve always wanted to be.”

As they combine heavy guitars with sultry vocals and blend electronic riffs with bluesy shredding, The Haunt often writes about self-destructive behavior and toxic relationships. On songs such as “Overdose” and “Shake” — both featured on “Dead On Arrival” — lyrics include references to drugs as they talk about the anxiety and unhealthy behaviors that come with dating an addict or remaining in an unhealthy relationship. Max and Anastasia say they write about these things because, as they are situations they personally experience, they have no choice except to write about them.

“We realize that a lot of people relate to the things that we’re going through, and it’s a relieving feeling,” Max says. “We always turn to music, whether it’s writing or listening to other people’s music, to help us through hard times. I feel like it’s really awesome that we’re able to do that for other people, and seeing the reception of the album and how people have been reacting to it and relating to it has just been awesome.”

The Haunt are known for how much they care about their fans and how dedicated they are to building a connection with them. Max says that one of their main goals as a band is to create a safe space for their fanbase through their music.

“Obviously creating the art is one whole facet of it, but I think the other most important part of it is to create a world where we want the fans and the listeners to be part of the music,” Max says. “We want them to connect with us and relate to us, and it’s always been something that we’ve cared deeply about. There is no music without people to listen to it. So for us, we don’t take that for granted and we always try to do the best that we can to connect with everybody and make sure that everybody in our fan base feels seen and heard and understood.”

In their Spotify bio, it reads that The Haunt reflects a time when “rock n’ roll was ‘by and for’ the beautiful outcasts.” Max says that this essence and vibe of rock music comes and goes in phases.

“I think right now we’re in a phase where it’s very popular to do rock,” Max says. “But we’ve been doing this for 10 years, and we’ve gone through phases where it was not popular and everyone was saying ‘you need to do pop, there is no rock world.’”

The band says that they’ve even been told by producers (when Anastasia was 15 years old) that women can’t do rock and women can’t be as successful as men in rock and roll. However, now it’s mainstream again. This advice is what inspired Max to take up producing The Haunt’s music.

“It comes and goes in waves like anything else, but I think that the roots of rock are always going to be for the outcasts [and] the darker types of people,” Max says.

While the band has tours and other projects on the horizon that they can’t disclose yet, right now they plan to release new music next year.

“We don’t plan on slowing down anytime soon, and we just keep creating stuff that we personally consider better and better as writers and producers,” Max says.

As far as ultimate goals for the band (besides world domination of course), The Haunt’s main priority has always been to provide a safe space for fans and make listeners feel like they’re not alone.

“We created the band out of struggle and hard times and our anxieties and depression and things that we felt lost [in], and that’s where a lot of the music came from,” Max says. “And we want a lot of people to be able to discover the band and find something that helps them through those hard times.”

The Haunt’s new single “FML” comes out on October 20.

The Haunt’s EP “Dead On Arrival” is out now.

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