Pensacola, Florida
Thursday December 14th 2017

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Getting Lucky

By Shelby Nalepa

Childhood friends Jollan Aurelio and William Pitts came together two years ago to collaborate on a math-rock inspired project. What spawned was Luckily I’m the Hunter, a two-piece instrumental band referencing the 1924 short story and subsequent film “The Most Dangerous Game.”

Playing in various bands after high school, the two friends eventually took different paths. Pitts works as a charter boat captain and Aurelio tours colleges with his brother-in-law Asia Samson in “The Asia Project,” an acoustic poetry act. He also had another band, if/then.

“William and I started the band during the fall of 2015,” Aurelio said. “We’ve known each other since childhood and actually played in a high school band together.”

Aurelio has been playing guitar for about 15 years and is self-taught. He has been touring colleges full-time with his brother-in-law for the past seven years, accompanying his spoken words and storytelling with ambient guitar looping. “The Asia Project” has been featured on HBO Def Poetry and BET Lyric Café.

“Through time, I was often humbled by other guitarists who were more proficient at guitar and asked questions in order to learn more about different techniques,” he said. “Fortunately, I was always surrounded by great musicians who helped me develop into the guitarist I am today. I attribute much of my knowledge on rhythms to William who helped me learn more about odd time signatures and syncopated rhythms.”

Aurelio said that their math rock and post-rock influences come from bands including Tera Melos, Don Caballero, and This Town Needs Guns.

“I got into math-rock and post-rock a few years ago,” Aurelio said. “I eventually introduced these bands to William and we start diving into all kinds of math-rock, prog-rock, and post-rock, from bands like And So I Watch You From Afar to Fall of Troy.”

To create a fuller, more rich soundscape, Aurelio and Pitts take advantage of live looping which is the recording and playback of a piece of music in real-time.

“We make use of two amps that split a guitar signal, as well as a bass amp for bass notes produced by an octave pedal when I play lower notes,” Aurelio said. “Live looping is also an important aspect that we incorporate, which can add several layers to our sound.”

Pitts and Aurelio released their first album “Novageist” in July 2016. They independently recorded it at a gutted-out barber shop that they also use as a practice space.

“Writing the songs took what seemed like an eternity and eventually they were recorded and re-recorded until we were content with how they came out,” Aurelio said.

Aurelio said that being a two-piece since day one has its advantages and that it’s easier to coordinate and agree on things.

“The writing process involves a collection of ideas stacked and condensed into a song,” Aurelio said. “We constantly toss out and recycle ideas until we refine a song into something we enjoy playing as well as listening to.”

He said that the best way to experience Luckily I’m the Hunter music is live.

“We are often challenged by the limitations of what we can do as a two-piece, however, I also appreciate the limitations that are there, because when we write we often go too far down the esoteric path that the song becomes too technical and less musical,” Aurelio said. “So with the challenge of limitations, we make do with what we can and are able to focus on our strengths in rhythm, song structure, and technical ability. Then we focus an idea in order convey a certain feeling, often like scoring a movie scene, such as a car chase.”

Luckily I’m the Hunter is currently working on new material and have three local shows scheduled for the remainder of the year at Chizuko including a show this Friday. Last month, they were on tour visiting cities including Chicago, Memphis, Columbus and Brooklyn. They have one upcoming out-of-town date in Tuscaloosa.

“Brooklyn was a good time but each city had its fun moments,” Aurelio said. “I wish we were able to stay on tour as much as possible. Unfortunately, we make do with what we can and try to tour when the time is right.”

LUCKILY I’M THE HUNTER
WHAT: Luckily I’m the Hunter with Jimmy and the Jimbos and Crystal Coast
WHEN: 9 p.m. Friday, Sept. 29
WHERE: Chizuko, 506 W. Belmont
 St.
COST: $5-$8
DETAILS: facebook.com/luckilyimthehunter