Wolverhampton newcomers Runaway Hounds are making a real name for themselves on the UK indie rock scene with their fun, catchy anthemic indie rock sound.
The band first began with twin brothers Kent (lead guitar) and Owen (vocals and guitar) Stavenuiter and their schoolmate Dan Glover growing up together and sharing a passion for music. As Kent explains: “You’d often find us jamming together in the practice rooms afterschool with other friends in some really weird ensembles of instruments – at one point we didn’t have a singer and Owen played the vocal melodies on an electric viola which, yeah, didn’t sound all that great.”
But they only really came together as a proper band with the addition of drummer Callum Ford, who they found on Instagram. Kent says: “It just shows the power of the Internet really. After playing together for a few months we found our sound and we’ve just kept writing and performing ever since.”
Honing an indie rock sound based on their shared influences of Catfish and the Bottlemen, Arctic Monkeys and local indie heroes Peace, the band have released three singles in just over a year. As Kent tells us: “We just love the energy of the genre and the ability to really tell a good story about everyday life.”
The latest is Nightlight, released last month, which I firmly believe is their best work yet. It opens up with a cool little drum intro then a low bassline that continues under a blast og guitar chords and a fun lick. A laid-back verse kicks in then laid-back pre-chorus vocals give way to a singalong chorus of “I’m not tired, I’m not tired no more” over the previous lick. Check it out below:
On the track, Kent told us: “We’ve received a really positive response from the single so far; lots of people have messaged us saying that they can’t get it out of their heads which is great to hear. I think it’s really resonating with our listeners because everyone’s experienced disruptive sleep cycles and the stresses that accompany them. And maybe people are engaged by the fact it’s a bit of an unconventional theme to write an indie rock song about.
“I’d say Nightlight is quite a dark song but has a rhythm that is hard not to nod along to. Everyone really delivered on recording their parts in the studio which means you’re treated with powerful vocals, a driving bassline and some quality tight drumming, along with a riff that you’ll really struggle to forget.”
Debut single Rattlesnake takes a similar approach, with a twinkling intro and brief hit of guitars leading into a chilled opening verse. It builds up with a cool backing lick and dives into a catchy chorus of “Tell me that it’s fine, Before we’re out of time, Run run away.” Later an extended guitar solo gives way to a last blast of the chorus. Check it out below:
While second single Sophie jumps straight into a fun echoey guitar lick that feeds into an upbeat opening verse. The pace drops down in a pre-chorus of winding vocals that gives way to an edgy chorus. Give it a listen below:
And on what inspires them to write music, Kent tells us: “We like to take different approaches to the writing process. In the past, we’ve enjoyed creating characters and crafting a story for them which has themes we can all relate to.
“However, this time with Nightlight it ended up being a very self-reflective song as Owen wrote it about his own experience of having a highly irregular sleep pattern. The song actually came to life by combatting the frustration of not being able to sleep by picking up his guitar at 5am one morning.”
The band are sitting on another track that was recorded at the same time as Nightlight, which Kent tells us they’re excited about as “It’s something a bit different for us – we experimented quite a bit with the sound of it and I feel like it definitely paid off; we’re thrilled with the result.” Ahead of that, they have a gig at The Slade Rooms in Wolverhampton on 21 December, which is an annual event showcasing the city’s best young musical talent. More info on that is here.