Hermitude talk ‘Dark Night Sweet Light’ and the pressure of a new album
Electronic duo Hermitude have been on the scene since 2000. They have released four studio albums and last month they dropped their fifth, ‘Dark Night Sweet Light’.
Released only in Australia and New Zealand it went straight to No. 1 in Aus, and hit No. 27 in NZ. The guys are now back in Aus touring the album after spending the last few months in the U.S.
The very hilarious and down-to-earth Luke Dubber and Angus Stuart took time out from exploring Governors Ball Music Festival after their epic set rocked the Gotham Tent on Sunday, to talk to us about the new album, the video for ‘The Buzz’, and more.
MTV: How's Gov Ball '15 been for you guys so far?
Luke: It's been amazing. We got here, we went and checked out a couple of bands and then we played our set and it was a really great one. That crowd was cooking, it was so good. It was the best show of the tour so far... It's the last show of the tour, so it's the best show of the tour! *Laughs* Yeah, it was super dope.
Angus: We had a ball.
MTV: Who did you check out and who else are you going to check out?
Luke: I'm looking forward to check out The Black Keys, Lana Del Rey, Flying Lotus. I wanted to see Tame Impala but they were playing while we were doing press. There's just so much great stuff going on here, it's just a pleasure being on the bill with everyone.
MTV: Most memorable gig ever?
Angus: That's really hard.
Luke: This might be one of them. I was actually thinking that while we were playing. I was like 'F*k! I'm going to remember this 'til the day I die.'
Luke: But also Splendour in the Grass a few years ago, 2013. It was just one of those insane gigs where sh*t just hit at the right time, there was so much energy coming from the crowd and it was feeding us and we were feeding it back to them like this weird cycle of energy. It was crazy.
MTV: What's it like playing overseas compared to Aus?
Luke: Sometimes you have to work a little bit harder to get the crowd. But I think what we're finding over here is that our music is starting to kind of circulate a bit more so it's getting easier. We don't have to really reel everybody in and work as hard to kind of get them excited and involved in the set. But it depends on what you play as well, we played in Asia a fair bit over the last years and the crowds there are a little bit more timid, like Japan and Malaysia. So every crowd is different, but we played in London as well last year and that was really cool, really great crowd. Heaps of Aussies! It's funny, we just played in Whistler and it was like 90% Australian, and it was like the loosest gig ever.
Angus: Everyone was wasted.
Luke: Super tanked. We were like 'Heeeyyy. We're back in Australia!' We went on at midnight and it was like 'F*king hell,' it was so loose, but it was great.
MTV: Is it always cool to see Aussies in the crowd?
Luke: It is. Did you see the kangaroos? When they released them they released it on a massive drop and it was really cool because we were playing and the drop happened and suddenly these two kangaroos flew out of the crowd, it was beautiful. Go Australia!
MTV: How do you think your sound has evolved from HyperParadise through to Dark Night Sweet Light?
Angus: I think for this record we really stripped things back a lot. For HyperParadise we had a room full of analog synthesisers that we'd bought and collected over the years and we just used everything, threw it into the mixing pot and HyperParadise came out. But for Dark Night Sweet Light we actually stripped it down to like just two synths and a laptop and that was about it. We just really wanted to make something a bit more minimal, which is always a challenge because you've got to make things work. So it really came down to songwriting and strong melodies and stuff like that.
MTV: Was there more pressure changing the sound a little bit to make it as good or better than HyperParadise?
Luke: There was definitely the most pressure that we've felt with a follow-up record ever because HyperParadise was probably the biggest record up until now that we've done. So this next one has been the most anticipated that we've ever had to write. But we're also kind of grounded with it and we try - as much as that was floating around the ether - we were trying to ignore it and just think 'Let's just do what we always do, let's write music that we think is good. That we like to listen to.' That's kind of how we've always done it, so we just have to kind of stick to that mission.
MTV: Explain the video clip for 'The Buzz' for us.
Luke: *laughs* That's a homage to our favourite '80s horror films, basically. We're like horror film buffs. There's so many directions that you could go with The Buzz, right? It's a very open-ended term to account for anything in your life, but it was actually an idea that was pitched to us and we both liked it because we love really old crazy horror films like The Thing and The Stuff and all ridiculous old horror films. So we wanted to do something that was kind of fun, and a little bit like tongue in cheek but also a little bit scary. I didn't find it scary but my mum texted me the next day and she was freaked out.
Angus: *laughs* The little girl was so good in the clip.
Luke: She's got to be cast in a horror film, because she f*king had it down!
MTV: Who would your ultimate collab be?
Angus: I've got to say maybe Frank Ocean.
Luke: With Kendrick [Lamar] rapping on a verse.
Luke: Frank Ocean and Kendrick on the same tune.
Angus: I'm really dying to hear those two together. I'm actually surprised that it hasn't happened yet. I think Frank is probably quite picky with who he works with.
Luke: Kendrick does a lot of things.
Angus: Channel Orange is pretty much all about Frank's vocals and melodies and then there's this music just kind of holding it up, it's not like the music is like 'This beat is so killer' It just supports Frank Ocean, and that's what's so good about that record. So I'd love to collaborate with him and Kendrick.
Luke: Also, Yukimi [Nagano] from Little Dragon would be amazing. We saw them at the Opera House recently and it was just so good. She's just got such a unique thing going on.
MTV: You're touring until August, what's next?
Luke: Yeah, we tour Australia now and then we come back here for July/August. Then we're having like six weeks off and then we'll probably come back over here and do another tour I think. We're basically touring now that the record is out, that's the plan. We're writing while we're on tour so we're just putting down ideas and we'll probably do some remixes and stuff, but in terms of what we're doing now, we'll be on the road for the next year at least.
Angus: It's crazy. We know each other really well...
Luke: We have spent many many hours together.
MTV: Do you have any funny stories from on the road?
Angus: I stole a rake, apparently, at a festival. I can't remember it.
Luke: There's nothing 'apparently' about it, he totally stole it. We were at Parklife. Ahhh... there are too many stories. But yeah, it was right at the end of the festival, we were going to watch The Presets, they were headlining this particular year and Gus found this rake next to a bin and like grabbed it and started spinning around and doing a crazy dance, and this lady came running after him going 'Give the rake back!' She was trying to clean up, just like right at the end. Gus was like 'No!' took the rake and kind of ran. So Gus was running with this rake and this woman was chasing after him. It was a pretty funny exchange.
Angus: I woke up the next day and I couldn't remember it.
Luke: We eventually convinced him to give it back to her, but he was very reluctant! He just did not want to part with that rake, and she was just like 'Who the f*k is this guy, stealing my rake?!'
Angus: It's not always like that...
Luke: So he was known as El Rako after that. As opposed to El Gusto.
MTV: What's your process for writing and putting down tracks like?
Angus: Generally we try and come in with an idea each, or something like that. Because it just gets the session started easier. But then there's other times where we both have been busy and we just don't have anything so we just sit down and try some stuff, like go back and forth with some things. It's a very organic process with us, we've kind of been working together for so long that it's very easy. If Dubs [Luke] doesn't like something that I'm doing he'll say 'I really actually don't like that,' and I won't be like 'What? Oh no!' I'll be like 'Cool, let's move on.' Or if I feel like I'm onto something but I haven't quite got there yet I'll just be like 'Ok, give me like 10 minutes and I'll just keep working on it and then we'll see how it goes.'
Luke: Flesh it out.
Angus: But pretty much generally that's how we work. We try to keep it ego free in the studio. You kind of have to.
MTV: Is there any festival that you haven't played at yet that you really want to?
Angus: Coachella, we'd love to play Coachella. It's obviously one of *the* festivals to play over here. It just looks like it's in a really great spot and looks like a really cool vibe.
Luke: I'd like to do Glastonbury as well actually.
Luke: I feel like it would be really dope. It's also really diverse musically.
Angus: And for anyone who wants to play a crazy festival, you play this festival called Fusion Festival in Germany, which was just crazy. It's like 50,000 people. No police, there's like ambos and stuff like that. It's not unsafe or anything, but there's no presence of 'You can't do this' or whatever. And there's fenced off areas backstage and all that. But it's really free and kind of amazing. And there's amazing sculptural art everywhere. They've built the site over many years, so there's all these crazy stages that are like built into trees and bunkers.
Luke: It's an old cold war air base from the '50s, outside of Berlin.
Angus: So basically the main stage is like a massive grass hill that's been dug out and they used to store planes in there and that's like this massive bunker.
Luke: There's like 20 stages. It's crazy. It's probably one of the craziest festivals that we've ever played. It is f*king awesome. It's a really sick festival.
MTV: What's the first thing you're going to do when you get back to Aus?
Angus: Wash my underpants.
Luke: Yeah, that's pretty much top of the list right about now. Sorry that wasn't any more glamorous. Haven't had to turn them inside out yet...
Angus: Going to eat a home cooked meal, that's going to be amazing.
Luke: Pat my cats, all that normal stuff.
Check out Hermitude during their slate of gigs around Australia and New Zealand, starting tonight and finishing on July 11. For more details, and to find out which shows are sold out, click here.