Hunter Oliveri doesn’t profess to having it all figured out.
At just 17, the artist is still making sense of himself; who he is, what he stands for, where his life is going. He doesn’t arrive as the next ready-made rockstar action figure cast in plastic. There is an unquestionable realness about the way he makes sense of life in real time through his music, after all. But a star he most certainly is, with a surety of mind for what he wants: to create music that connects and inspires, and that will pour gasoline on the growing fire of rock’s recent renaissance.
Today, Spinefarm is pleased to announce that Hunter Oliveri has signed to the label’s international roster. He has also shared the single/music video for „Dumb“.
The Gen Z-fronted clip will instantly transport you to your own gloriously misspent youth, when you were simply in search of the next feel-good moment – be it the next blunt, the next swill of beer, or the next hang with your significant other or a crew. It also offers keen insight into Oliveri’s sound and songwriting, not to mention his wild coif of curls!
Watch it here.
„Dumb“ boasts a baggy, distorted riff weaving around an earworm melody and a singalong chorus that finds Oliveri chewing over how „I made a home in the chip on my shoulder / I know I could change / but I’d rather be dumb.“
It’s a fitting look into the heart of a young and hungry artist, who is looking to hold onto and suck the marrow out of his youth and the right here, right now.
„My mom wants me to get a job, two jobs, everything’s expensive as fuck, I have friends making more on OnlyFans than college graduates/doctors, everything’s dumb,“ Oliveri says. „So I tried to grab the feelings I have on the daily of what is the point of doing what my parents want me to do when shit just feels dumb as fuck.“
He continues „I bet a lot of kids could relate to having people tell you to go to college, find a steady career, have a family, and be apart of this fucked up system, when in reality, I just want to be a kid my entire life, chase girls, skate, smoke, hang with my friends, and make music. I hope the song connects with anyone who just wants to forget all their problems and live life without all the bullshit. Just rather be ‚Dumb.'“
So what else do you need to know about Hunter Oliveri, whose previous single „Kids“ was tipped by Pigeons + Planes? Plenty!
His are songs that channel the alternative and grunge blueprint of his musical heroes — think Chris Cornell and Soundgarden, Billy Corgan and the Smashing Pumpkins — imbued with the playful opaqueness of Kurt Cobain’s lyricism and the easy slacker hooks of Weezer.
Like all of Oliveri’s music, it speaks to the messiness of growing up. It sounds exactly like that, too. He simply writes what he knows.
There are songs about partying too hard and songs about loving too much; songs about last night’s headrush highs and the morning-after’s anxious comedown. There are songs for when you the comfort of relatability, and there are songs for when you want to simply say „fuck it all.“
They are the product of the humble authenticity of someone who’s grown up in a place no different to a million others the world over. You’ve likely never heard of Paso Robles, CA, and you likely never will again. There’s sunshine, strip malls, and vineyards that outnumber venues ten to one, where the nearby underground music scene of San Luis a few miles down the road is more accessible than anything resembling the bright lights of LA two hours to the south or San Francisco the same distance north. „It’s a boring city, but we make the most of it,“ Oliveri shrugs. „We’ll go skating, or hang out and smoke. And anyway, it’s fun to go moshing in someone’s basement.“
It’s no surprise, then, that Oliveri is used to creating more interesting scenes than those that existed outside his window. As a kid, he would do so in the stories he dreamt up in his bedroom. „I like writing stories about worlds I’d want to live in,“ he says, „which made my own world seem so much bigger.“
Such creativity inevitably morphed into songwriting in his early teenage years — though music had long since embedded itself within him. „I was probably four years old when I first heard ‚Smells Like Teen Spirit‘ around my parents’ house,“ he recalls of music’s omnipresence in his life. „I never knew the name of the song but every time I heard it, I’d be like, shit, it’s that song. It would give me this majestic feeling.” He laughs that his mom holds a video recording of her son gamely plucking through a rendition of a Metallica song (to Oliveri’s mind, it was …And Justice For All epic „One“) at his Kindergarten graduation performance. His dad — an avid fan of Korn and Tool — meanwhile tells him that his parents met at Woodstock; not the peace-and-love of Woodstock ’69, but, more aptly, the confusion-and-chaos of Woodstock ’99.
A chance meeting with a local producer’s father while in a coffee shop with his grandpa aged 14 would be the first domino to fall in the story of Oliveri’s rise to prominence. The rest is a history still to be written. „I’ve been so incredibly lucky, but I’ve manifested this, too,“ he says. „I’ve always known writing music would be my life. I just had to make it happen. It was hard to find kids around my city that play instruments and want to be in a band, but I’ve been writing songs every day in my bedroom since I was maybe 13 years old. It takes me to a different place.“
Those songs are anthems for those disassociated with the world on their doorstep, the soundtrack to growing up marooned between a digital world that for Oliveri speaks of with distain as „rotting people’s brains,“ and a real one that’s more fucked up by the day.
„I want to bring people into my world through my music,“ he adds. „I want people to feel something when they listen to my music, and to relate to me, and for me to be a friend and an outlet for them.“
And as for everything else?