You’d be wrong if you thought Haunter was some murderous metal band bent on bludgeoning your ears to death, but not as incorrect as you think… Today, Haunter presents their new emotional alt-pop single, “Miss Me,” a big tune with lots of big hooks and pop sensibilities. Things are just getting started for the band, with “Miss Me” coming a short time after the release of their first single, “Love You Better.” To truly appreciate “Miss Me,” it may be best to first listen to “Love You Better” as the tunes are companion singles, connected by a common theme many fear, love gone wrong. As each song indicates, Haunter bank heavily on their pop foundations while mixing in slick electronics and some loveable anthemic vocals. It’s proof positive that you can do pop while not selling out the songwriting.

Haunter may on the path to alt-pop dominance, but it wasn’t always that way. The quartet consists of a few former emo kids, and one all-out metalhead, who decided to shelve the distorted guitars for something that seemed more true to who they were. Back in late 2016, guitarist and synth master Enoma Asowata met producer and songwriter Tyler Smith while trying to gain some exposure as a DIY musician on that year’s edition of the Vans Warped Tour.

They pair a lot of commonality when it came to music and, after a few months, Haunter came alive in the name of the pursuit to make everlasting music that, in some way, was capable of haunting listeners. Singer, chef, model and tattoo artist Lucy LeNoir later joined the fold, along with bassist Mark Schroeder. They threw around some ideas reminiscent of their old projects that just wasn’t working, but fortunately with the addition of guitarist Mike Ray, the alt-pop dynamic started to come together and Haunter found their calling.

“Miss Me” is just the second of what promises to be many more singles and releases. We chatted with Enoma Asowata for a few minutes about the single, the emotive lyrics, and the band’s transition to alt-pop.

“Miss Me” is a collaboration between the band, and R I L E Y. Tell us more about R I L E Y and how he became involved in this song?

Enoma Asowata: “R I L E Y is a friend of ours. He’s known our guitarist Mike and our bassist Mark for years. They all toured together in one capacity or another in the Warped Tour scene. I personally met him last year when we were in LA recording some music. R I L E Y’s been putting out amazing music for a long time, (think a mix of Blackbear and The Weeknd) and was on our short list of people we’ve wanted to work with, so we reached out to him. When we were in the studio we were writing parts for the bridge and nothing seemed to connect the way we wanted. R I L E Y heard the track and just created this fresh perspective with his writing. The song took on a new life and we absolutely love it. It’s always the best to work with our friends who understand our vision and bring a lot to the table creatively.”

Who originally came up for the idea or maybe the melody of “Miss Me?” Do you remember when or how it was first introduced?

“Lucy, our vocalist usually starts when it comes to melody and lyrics. Typically when we write music, Mark, Mike, myself and Tyler (our producer and co-writer) work on all the instrumentation and the arrangements prior to Lucy getting started. From there, she just tells us what she’s feeling from the music and we build upon that. Melody is first for us, then Lucy, Tyler and I will work on lyrics together. We support the narrative that Lucy builds and we’ve found a rhythm that works. We give her as much space as she wants and come in to offer support here and there.”

Artwork for “Miss Me” by Haunter (credit: Cameron Burns)

The lyrics for “Miss Me” seem to be expressing some sort of anger or pain towards another person who just seems to keep letting you down. Is there a particular person that the song’s lyrics are directed towards?

“Miss Me’ isn’t about a single person per se. It’s a mixture of experiences that Lucy went through. Unfortunately she’s had some partners in her life who weren’t supportive and made things in her life harder when all she wanted was to pursue her dreams. So I believe the lyrics aren’t necessarily directed at a single person, nor do I believe there’s any anger. I believe we’re just sharing that it’s ok to recognize that there are people in your life who won’t support you or try to control your narrative. Also, it’s totally ok to cut ties with them, recognize your value, and let them know they’ll miss your presence.”

“Miss Me” is being released as a companion single to your last release “Love You Better.” What is the thing that really connects these songs? Were they written close together?

“Miss Me’ we feel is a true sequel to ‘Love You Better’ in the sense they’re about situations in our lives where love seemed to go wrong. If ‘Love You Better’ is the break up text, then ‘Miss Me’ is the Instagram post to show you’re thriving after doing some healing. Another thing that connects them is the energy Lucy brings to the vocals, they’re big and they’re sassy. She has this amazing way of performing where this big energy comes through. She did the same thing for ‘Love You Better.’ The songs weren’t written closely together but since we tapped into the same subject matter it felt right to release them close together.”

I just wanted to quickly ask you about your backgrounds as musicians since some of you are former emo kids while one of you is of all things a metalhead. Who among you is the metalhead and what brought you all towards developing more of an alternative pop sound?

“Lucy is our resident metalhead. She actually sings for a band called Apothica and they’re dope. Lucy is such a diverse talent and in my eyes there’s almost nothing she can’t really do vocally. As for myself, I kind of grew up on like the Warped Tour scene. When I got a little older, I discovered bands like Jimmy Eat World and my whole musical world changed. Mark played in mostly indie-rock style bands and Mike like myself came from the Warped Tour scene. I started Haunter as a bit of an over-correction to all the music I was part of before.

The band I was in prior to Haunter was cool but it sounded like all the active rock/alternative bands of the time (Anberlin, There For Tomorrow, etc), which I love but I didn’t want to emulate anymore. I started working with a producer friend of mine (Aaron Musslewhite) in our hometown and made the effort to be influenced by all the pop acts that I was listening to at the time. As the band formed and we connected with our current producer/co-writer Tyler, we knew that a more pop-focused feel was what we wanted. We wanted to have fun making music again.”