HUNG Violinist Discusses Band’s Debut Album
New York based band HUNG kicked off May with their self-titled debut album. The band is made up of vocalist Dmitry Kostitsyn, guitarist Jon Clark, violin and mandolin player Lyris Hung, bassist Sam Roon and drummer Kenny Grohowski. When Loudwire got the opportunity to speak with the band’s violinist Lyris Hung, she spoke all about their new record, influences and proved that there is definitely a place for violins in metal music.
How was the recording process for HUNG’s debut album?
The recording process was fairly smooth; we’ve actually recorded a couple of EPs on our own dime. We knew what we wanted from the songs, we were really familiar with the songs because we’ve been playing them for so long. Some of them were newer but the vast majority of them we really lived with for a while. I thought it went really, really smoothly. It took a little while because we all have different schedules and stuff but the end product we’re really happy with.
Do you have a side job other than playing in HUNG?
We each do different things. I actually work at a company called D’Addario; it’s a string making company and I’m the product manager for their orchestral strings, so that’s my day gig. For many years I've been a session musician so I played on other people’s records.
When did you start playing violin?
I started, when I was three, Suzuki method. Like all little kids standing in a line playing ‘Twinkle Twinkle Little Star,’ that was me. [Laughs] I did Suzuki for quite a while until I was about 10, then I went to Julliard pre-college and then went to Julliard after that.
Did you always know you wanted to play in a metal band?
I always knew I wanted to do something different with my music and I grew up with progressive music all through high school. I was really into all the prog-rock stuff and old school metal, so I knew I wanted to do something different and the minute I could, I tried to improvise and jam with other people. I don’t think I knew I wanted to be in a metal band maybe until a year or so before I started working with these guys. I knew I wanted to do something different and heavy -- the actual vision didn’t come all the way through until we met.
What do you think violins bring to metal music and this record as a whole?
I think it brings a whole different dimension because all of the other instrumental parts. When you’re dealing with a pick instrument, like a fretted instrument that’s picked, you inherently have a percussive element to it. There’s a sharper attack; there’s more stop / start kind of stuff, but the violin is very naturally melodic and very vocal so it brings out a through-line, like a long line that goes from beginning, middle and end rather than having much more rhythmic stuff.
I try to do rhythmic stuff, but it’s never quite as rhythmic as something like guitar, bass or drums. It brings a whole other harmonic dimension because it’s got a different register, different chord possibilities, harmonic possibilities and new melodic aspects to the music.
What bands would you like to collaborate if you had the opportunity to?
We’re all pretty big fans of Opeth; we often get compared to them. We respect their music a lot and love their music and just the way they’ve been free to express what they want to do. They’re not afraid to do an acoustic album, they’re not afraid to do different things with their music. I personally love Between the Buried and Me. I think they’re so talented and amazing. I’ve seen them so many times live and they always blow me away. It would be cool to work with them.
Check out our exclusive photo gallery of HUNG's record release party in New York City.