Finding The Funk With Hermitude
When you have to follow-up a smash album like Hyperparadise, there’s a lot of prep involved.
THAT LAST BIT OF FUNK
By Troy Mutton
2012 was a huge year for Luke Dubs and El Gusto, AKA Blue Mountains hip hop/electronic/dub duo Hermitude. It was their year. Their fourth studio album, Hyperparadise was one of those growers, dropping towards the tale end of summer on the back of two great singles in Speak For The Deviland Get In My Life, before continuing to rise and rise throughout the year with a little help from thatFlume remix, going on to win the Australian Music Prize. Adored for their energetic live shows featuring all kinds of button-smashing and record scratching, it was a real breakout year for one of the hardest working twosomes in Aussie music.
We’re now careening toward the tale end of 2014, and I catch Luke Dubs a couple of days away from joining this year’s hottest Aussie dance music property Rufus on a North American tour, “kinda frantically putting our show together.” Given it’s been a long time between album drinks, there’s a bevvy of new material to get organised: “We’re gonna road test a couple of new tunes that we’ve finished, so yeah we’re just rehearsing before we head off.”
Having not heard much from the duo over the earlier part of this year – be it show or tunes wise, Dubs reveals it’s been for good reason. “We went to Europe in May and did a few dates and we’ve been in the studio since then, chipping away at the record.” And as progress towards its completion continues, so do we hear new noise from the Hermitude camp. Just this past month they’ve dropped two killer remixes, one for Odesza’s Say My Name feat. Zyra, and another for their North American tour pals, in an effort to just put their hand up and say ‘Hey everyone, time to get reacquainted’.
“[The remixes] allows us to kind of put something out that just keeps our name floating around. We always try and pick remixes of groups we look up to or admire so. So it was cool to do both those remixes. It’s a good opportunity for us to send something around the interwebs.”
With both remixes setting blogs and hype machines alight, it’s the perfect reintroduction for Dubs and Gusto, especially given it’s been hard to poke their head back up for air working on the follow-up to such a universally-adored release. The new fandom garnered from Hyperparadise’s barnstorming 2012 begs the question – do they feel extra pressure when it comes to the follow up?
“I guess the only pressure we really feel is to put a good record out, that’s the only thing. Of course we care what people think about it and we gained a lot of popularity with Hyperparadise and we wanna keep everyone on side, but yeah we usually pretty much just focus in on the music,” is Dubs' honest response.
“It took us a little while to figure out the sound we wanted to achieve on this record; we didn’t wanna do Hyperparadise again, but we didn’t wanna completely ignore that album either. So I guess we’ve taken bits from it and evolved a little bit as well, with everything that’s going on. Because the scene is always changing up so fast and we’re really wary of that so we wanna stay current but I guess inject a bit of Hermitude sound into what’s going on generally in the world.
“So yeah we’re pretty excited about it man. We’re near the end of it. It’s a great record, we’re really happy with it. We think it’s gonna have a good mix of banging tracks and chilled out Hermitude vibes. So yeah it’s exciting times.”
"We think it’s gonna have a good mix of banging tracks and chilled out Hermitude vibes."
The constant touring cycle that followed Hyperparadise’s release has also given them a very different well to look tap into for ideas and inspiration when it comes to writing the next album. “Touring is always great inspiration whether it’s here or overseas, just travelling and seeing new things and driving through places like the country or going to awesome gigs in other cities it’s really inspiring. So when we come off tour we’re usually full of beans and ready to lock ourselves away in a dark cold room away from sunlight as long as possible.
“The last trip we did to Europe was great, we played a couple of showcase gigs, at the Great Escape in Brighton in the UK. And got to meet a whole bunch of people and just see what was happening music wise in different genres and yeah it was really eye opening. So looking forward to more of that in the States, along with hanging out with Rufus which will be fun. But just checking out some other gigs, soaking up the vibe and then get home and inject that last little bit of funk into the record.”
Playing overseas and to different sized crowds in different countries has also given them plenty of cause for tinkering with their renowned live show, something that will ramp up as new material starts to be released. “…We’re going to be putting together a new show for the new record, which is something we’ll tackle when the record nears completion. We’ve got some rad ideas, so we’re really ready to come out with a new record and a new show.
And when can we expect some new material? “I’m pretty sure our first single off the new record drops in November, so hopefully by the time summer comes around the single will be out there. And then we’ll road test another couple of new ones – we’ve got some pretty exciting tunes we wanna share before the record comes out.”
Header photo via Great Escape Festival