Radio 1 Debut for OA Paddy Cartwright
“Ponchos, didgeridoos, lighting fires and living in the wild. If you enter the Hunkpapa community, it’ll be the most liberating move you will ever make.” Patrick “Paddy” Cartwright (OA, Woodard 2014) and band members, Weston Clendinning, Johno Wittington and Matthew Davidson invite you to enter the world of Hunkpapa.
The Irish alt-rock band, founded in September 2017, recently graced the airwaves of two major radio stations, BBC Radio 1 and BBC Radio Ulster. Currently on the cusp of stardom, we had the pleasure of sitting down with bass guitarist and backing vocalist, Paddy, who shared all things Hunkpapa!
What is the origin of the band’s name?
The name Hunkpapa comes from a Native American group who are one of the seven council fires of the Lakota tribe. As a band, we massively respect this way of life and the concept of being free from concern. We thrive on the idea of living off the land, fighting fires and riding wild horses, and our debut single ‘Lost in the Wild’ depicts this.
How did the band form?
I met Weston and Johno at university. Weston had changed my playlist at a party and I hated him for it. Great first impressions, I know! At the time, he was the only member of Hunkpapa and Johno occasionally joined him for gigs, but at that stage, they were just recording for fun.
Matthew and I joined the group in October last year, when Weston said that he wanted to make serious music. It is amazing to think how far we have come in only five months, and I know that we have what’s needed to perform on stages worldwide.
Who are your musical influences, both as an individual and as a band?
As a group, we love The Red Hot Chilli Peppers, solely for their performances and amazing songs – all you need to become world famous! We also love the song-craft of Justin Vernon, frontman of Bon Iver.
Personally, I admire Vulpeck and OK GO for their creativity, especially when it comes to social media and music videos (another reason why we are doing so well!)
You were recently played on BBC Radio 1 and BBC Radio Ulster. How did it feel to hear your music on such established stations?
Absolutely unreal! We were actually playing a big industry event the Thursday before airplay and somehow managed to drag Phil Taggart of Radio 1 along to see us. He found us after the show and said that we were one of the best groups he had seen in ages and the best act of the night. This was a real compliment as the event had over 40 acts, many of whom were signed to major record labels.
Phil then asked us for some tracks. It’s safe to say that our egos were so inflated we could barely fit through doors. He then played us on his show the following Sunday. It all happened very quickly and we managed it by ourselves, with some support from Peter Cinnamond of BBC Radio Ulster.
That sounds amazing. What are you working on that we should know about?
Well, we have nearly sold out a headline show at one of Belfast’s best live music venues, Limelight 2. The event will see over 475 people come through door. That is our main focus at the moment, because if we get a sold out sticker we will turn a lot of heads.
We also had the pleasure of supporting Electric Six recently, who were legends back in the day, so that was very special. Festival offers are starting to roll in and our Irish calendar is starting to fill up, although we do hope to book a few English festivals too. We are looking to tour around this summer and will be releasing a new single on March 12th, which is to be premiered by some amazing people, so keep your eyes peeled!
We certainly will! Would you say that your time at King’s College influenced your decision to play music?
King’s College is without doubt the reason I am still playing music today, and by the looks of it, facing a career in music. I had never played the bass until about five months ago, but playing drums and trombone in the school’s Big Band, I think, has subconsciously turned me into a bass player.
I can’t thank Colin Albery and Karen Paul enough for all of the musical groups they run at King’s. I was involved in pretty much all of them and it has certainly paid off. Thanks must also go to Tom Howarth, who taught me drums, Glynn Bowen for trombone (which also enabled me to play the didgeridoo!), Andy Christie for guitar, and Naomi Harvey for perfecting my singing voice.
All of these incredible musicians have shaped me into the musician I am today and have enabled me to perform in such an incredible group. I strongly encourage every student to get involved in music at King’s, one way or another, with the choir being a very good starting point!