When Brooklyn, N.Y., guitarist-vocalist Derek Watson decided to form a band called Hunters with his banshee-throated Brazilian girlfriend Isabel “Izzy” Almeida, the couple had no financial resources to speak of. But songs like “Deadbeat” and “Noisy Bitch” were so commanding in concert, they wound up depending on the kindness of high-profile strangers: ex-Smashing Pumpkins axman James Iha offered his production skills for the quartet’s first EP, “Hands on Fire,” and Yeah Yeah Yeahs founder Nick Zinner chipped in with the mixing. So it was a point of pride for Hunters to self-produce their eponymous, even nastier, new full-length album. They appear at Hotel Utah this weekend, in what likely will be their most intimate visit to The City.
Izzy’s from Rio, Derek’s from outside Philadelphia. How did you guys first meet in New York?
Derek Watson: We had a lot of common friends, we worked at an arcade in Chinatown super-briefly, and then we would see each other at shows. So I think we just bonded at one of our friend’s shows, talking about music. But it could be different for Izzy — maybe she was bored that night and just wanted to get the hell away from me!
Isabel “Izzy” Almeida: No, no. A lot of times, we’d be in the same place at the same time, and sometimes the other people that were around weren’t that fun, so we would just end up hanging out with each other. So we actually did start talking about music, and how we wanted to play music. And that’s how everything started.
So you’re the perfect rock ’n’ roll couple?
IA: We just got really excited with each other. We realized “Oh, my God! I’ve found the person that thinks exactly like me!” Derek is like a male version of me, even down to weird things like the fact that we both did gymnastics as kids.
Hunters concerts are becoming famously frenetic. Any that required hospitalization?
IA: Yeah. One. I hit my head on the floor really hard. I was headbanging and I thought the floor was way further away than it was. But I kept playing and kept drinking, and the next day, I woke up and felt really weird. So I went to the hospital and they said, “You have a minor concussion. You have to chill out!”
Were you stunned when Iha walked up and praised you at a show?
DW: I knew who he was, because he’s pretty recognizable. But I didn’t know his band’s music — I’d never listened to Smashing Pumpkins before.
IA: It was New Year’s and everybody was really drunk. So when he talked to us, we were like, “Oh, cool, thanks.” We never thought he was actually going to call!
IF YOU GO
opening for Bananas
Where: Hotel Utah, 500 Fourth St., S.F.
When: 9 p.m. Friday
Tickets: $10 to $12
Contact: (415) 546-5300, www.ticketfly.com