Five Minutes With Hermitude
Searching for the buzz with Hermitude.
With Hermitude about to tour the country with Laneway Festival we managed to grab a moment with Luke Dubber, one half of Hermitude the other member being Angus Stuart, to talk marriage, Dark Night Sweet Light and the biggest shows of their life.
To begin with let's talk about how Hermitude started.
I guess we started when we released the Imaginary Friends EP back in 2002 because when we were making the EP we didn’t even think of ourselves as a group. Then when we released it via Elefant Tracks and they told us we had to play it live and we figured that we were group. We thought we could release records and buy mansions but it's not like that.
And after all these years what is it like working together?
It’s like a family, we’re pretty much brothers these days. I met Angus in 1994 in school, we used to play in a band and it was quite a few years later that Hermitude came around but we were always hanging out. Round 2000 Angus went on holiday to Cuba and came back with these turntables. I was rehearsing with a band at the time, he came over and he was just playing instrumental 12 inches and I was jamming over the top of them and that was the beginning I guess.
And on the topic of the Americas you recently went to Brazil and got married, is that correct?
It was the reason why we went over, I got married in Brazil and then we had a big holiday in Sao Paolo, Salvador, Rio and a couple of other places. It was a good excuse to check out the culture as I’ve been wanting to go for years. Luckily I found one to marry so now I go all the time.
And what is Brazil like?
- Brazil’s so big, it’s similar to Australia. You can be in the desert, the tropics and the mountains. In one of the places we went they would throw a festival every Tuesday. So you would head into town and there would be these massive drumming groups walking through the alleys. You basically buy beer along the way and dance with them. It’s an amazing place.
Is there a crossover influence in your music?
When Gus went to Cuba he learnt percussion from this guy over there who was a crazy percussion man in Havana. This was a big influence in our early stuff and we keep it up today on our records. If we can’t find a sound on our computers we try to re-create it live. It adds a bit of human flavour to the beat. So definitely you’re right. We’re really into dancehall, reggae and then sambas. It’s important listening for us so it’s bound to seep in.
Have you been focusing on re-creating live sounds in more recent records?
Honestly Dark Night Sweet Light used less of the live percussion element because we were trying to strip everything back. It was an exercise in minimal creativity unlike Hyperparadise where we would go to a different synth for each sound. We just tried to work with a couple of synths on Dark Night Sweet Light, it was a criteria we set ourselves at the beginning of the recording process. Currently we’re digging a lot of the minimal trap music, almost R&B stuff that is going on.
And what expectations did you have with putting it out?
We were hoping for it be as well received as Hyperparadise, we had put out a bunch of records beforehand but I guess Hyperparadise was what broke for us. It was the first album we felt the expectation. I guess we had never gone in thinking what people will think of the music. We did wonder, ‘Is this good enough?’ That was a new experience for us. It was good because we had so many ideas and it just blew our expectations out of the water. Selling out the Hordern and the Enmore was a dream come true.
Do you feel like your famous?
In a sense yes but when you’re in it, it is harder to see the reality of it because we’re doing what we have always done but on a bigger scale I guess. It still feels like the same process and I don’t really feel like I’m anymore famous than I was ten years ago. But when I look back on some of the photos of the Hordern gig I kind of go, “Shit that was a big deal,” And there was another one after putting out Dark Night Sweet Light where we were on the Groovin’ The Moo tour and we were flying out somewhere and the stewardess came up to us and asked for a photo. That was one of those moments where you’re like, “Aw shit things have changed." It’s a wake-up but I don’t feel like I’ve been changed. I’d like to say we are humble guys that like to party at gigs and have fun.
Hermitude killing at the Hordern Pavillion, Sydney
And has this meant Hermitude is your full-time gig?
Yeah man this is it. We’re too busy to do anything else and that sort of came into play about a year before Hyperparadise where we dedicated the year to that record and once it started to do well we had to focus our energy on that. It has been amazing, it really is a full-time job.
You guys are also known for your interactive shows, why?
Well we came from bands so we are used to doing a lot of things on stage. We’re not the kind of guys to get on stage and play our tracks with CDJs and dance around. There’s nothing wrong with that but for us it always been about playing and bridging the gap between a band and an electronic outfit. We’ve kept this attempt up and while we have scaled it back a bit we have a good balance of gear where we aren’t bringing out half of the studio.
And what do you plan to do for Laneway?
We’re probably going to do a few changes; we try to bring something fresh to every show so we will probably start work this week. It’s one of those festivals which we have always wanted to play and it’s great to be apart of it.
And I've heard you guys have been in the studio?
We’re pretty much starting on the next record, we’re in the super early stage as we have been writing down a heap of ideas but this is the first window we have had to hop into the studio. It’s fun when you first go in as well because there are no restrictions, it’s not like you have a body work to follow. We are just throwing random ideas in and seeing what happened.