Hunter Plake has released several singles since his stint on 2017’s season of The Voice. For Plake, the last couple of years have been a time of sonic self-discovery. The Tulsa-based multi-instrumentalist first previewed his upcoming EP Lovers on Valentine’s Day with “Hate Myself.” Now, we’re getting a second teaser from Plake with his new single “Enemy,” a sonic love letter to his wife.
Plake and his wife met for the first time as toddlers. Their families were friends. They lost touch through the years, as Plake grew up in Baton Rouge and his wife, Bethany, grew up in Tulsa. When the two were adults, Bethany’s family came to visit Plake’s family in Baton Rouge and there was an instant connection. After some time in a long distance relationship, the two married when Plake was only 20.
“We were driving one day. We were fighting and she was like ‘I’m not your enemy,’” recalls Plake. That statement stuck with him, and he wrote a song about it. On “Enemy,” Plake admits to his flaws and struggles with mental health. She is his anchor and helps him get through it all. In apology, he professes that “it feels so wrong to be your enemy.” “Enemy” walks the line between alt pop and Soundcloud rap. The track opens with warm, melodic guitar, precisely punctured with a bobbing bass line in all the right places.
“Enemy” is a stark contrast to “Hate Myself,” a more bass-heavy, pop-leaning, track that allowed Plake to navigate his way out of toxic, sociopathic friendships. “I, in my life, have trusted people way too much, and that’s kind of what the song’s about, just getting over the fact and processing that someone isn’t who they said they were, and allowing how they value you to determine how you value yourself,” explains Plake. “For me, I don’t want to be in a place where I value myself less or more according to how many people or who likes me.”
Plake’s sonic influences are all across the board. His father is a pastor and was in Christian rock band called Brother, Brother. He started listening to Coldplay at age six, and eventually moved on to their influences, including Radiohead. Grunge rock like Nirvana and the Pixies joined the mix. Then, he discovered Soundcloud rap, and fell in love with the way rappers like Lil Peep, XXXtentacion, and Juice WRLD incorporated Nirvana-like guitar riffs into their melodic, pop-punk-charged rendition of rap.
Lovers will also feature two more songs. “Chemicals” is a merging of pop, hip hop, and pop punk into an emotional outline for the stages of depression. Plake believes that even though mental health conversations may be uncomfortable, it is essential to shine a little light on those dark spaces. By contrast, “Lovers Do” is a heartfelt love song about not wanting to let someone go. On Lovers, Plake eloquently explores the currents of depression and anxiety that have pulled him in different directions and the forces of love and support that have helped him steady his ship.