[Photo: Chris Hill]

We’re not exactly sure. Are the South Florida quartet the Haunt a pop band who rock hard? Or are they a rock band who will get stuck in your head all day? Centered by vocalist Anastasia Grace and guitarist Max Haunt, the band have been making heads turn with both their repertoire and energetic live show. And we’re glad to wave the flag for them: Today AltPress is premiering the video for “Brag About,” which conveys both pop sensibility and rock ’n’ roll swagger.

Produced by Matt Good (From First To Last, Asking Alexandria), “Brag About” is the lead single from the Haunt’s six-song EP, slated for release at the end of October. With a history that includes touring with Palaye Royale, recording quarantine sessions and participating in Talinda Bennington’s 320 Changes Direction benefit, the Haunt are making things happen.

Siblings Grace and Haunt discussed the meaning of the song, the number of video shoots to get it right and the Haunt’s reason for being. More bands should think about their mission as much as these two do.

“Brag About” is sophisticated rock with a cool electronic texture to it. While adherence to a genre is somewhat antiquated, is it wrong to consider the Haunt a pop band? Because you seem to embrace both the rock and pop worlds with integrity.

ANASTASIA GRACE: We’ve always felt that genre was a really limiting factor when making music. If we’re in the studio and we’re making something that we love and feel passionately about, we’re not gonna rethink it based on genre. We have so much love for all kinds of music.  I’m not sure if my mind could function that way. I’ve just always felt that if you make something that you love and that feels true to who you are and where you are in life and as an artist, that’s really a genre in and of itself. I guess you could call us alt-rock or pop-rock, but for now, I think we’ll just call our genre “The Haunt.”

Is the song about the hope of reconnecting with someone in the future?

MAX HAUNT: Truthfully, “Brag About” is a song about feeling lost when you’re far from the people you love. When we first started touring with Palaye Royale in 2018, there were moments where it felt like we were in a time capsule while everyone’s normal lives were continuing at home. It definitely took a little bit of getting used to, but we adjusted quickly. It’s just pretty crazy how much our social existence relies on who we are to the people around us. There’s also this weird reacclimating to your surroundings that happens when you get home. It’s all a little mind-blowing. In retrospect, those were absolutely the best times of our lives so far.

You went with a cool semi-performance video. I heard there were a couple of versions. What aspects did you keep tweaking?

HAUNT: It’s pretty funny actually. We had two completely different shoots for this video. The first shoot was during quarantine, so besides Ana and I, none of us were even seeing each other. We captured all of the desert-backdrop performance shots individually with social distancing and all of that in mind. It was interesting and quirky, but in the end, it really didn’t feel like us. So we had to go back in and add the chaos. [Laughs.] 

GRACE: We needed to dirty it up a little bit to fit our vibe. That being said, we really have to thank our director Chris Hill for bringing it together for us. It’s pretty amazing how he got all of it to come together so perfectly. Chris has directed all of our music videos to date, and he’s really incredible. He’s also an incredible person, which is just a bonus.

What is the Haunt’s mission statement? People start bands for whatever reasons, from noble to patently evil. What motivates you to do what you do?

GRACE: The first song we ever released was a song called “All Went Black.” I wrote that when I was 12 and getting bullied in school. Before I started writing music, I felt like I had nothing that made me feel strong and whole. Writing that song helped me find my voice and gave me a platform to speak about what I was going through at the time. It also gave me this incredible opportunity to connect with other people my age who were having similar experiences. I always think it’s important to let them know that they’re not alone and that it does get easier.

As a band, we have always stood up against bullying and exclusion, and we will absolutely continue to do that. We want our music to create a safe space for everyone, free from all the fucking judgment in the world. There’s definitely enough of that already. I think it’s really important for people to feel like they’re a part of something, and we can completely relate to that. Hopefully when the world opens up again, our shows can give them that. For the moment, we just want people to listen, connect with us and feel the love.

You can presave “Brag About” here and watch the video below.