On Their Past, Present & Future…
June 2010
Questionnaire & Photography: Steve Bateman

“Adam Anderson and Theo Hutchcraft met outside a Mancunian nightclub just before Christmas 2005. Their friends were having a punch-up and the two of them got talking about music. Over the subsequent year they communicated only via the Internet from their homes in Salford and Longsight. Anderson sent backing tracks. Hutchcraft sent back vocals. "It was like we couldn't meet in public," says Anderson. "Perhaps it was your [Hutchcraft's] lifestyle, I don't know. But we made music together before we knew each other." Their musical backgrounds were different. "I learnt to sing by singing along in clubs," deadpans Hutchcraft. Anderson, meanwhile, had an ambition to write scores for television. "I did one for Channel Five once," he tells me. "But they hated it." Despite only signing a deal in late August, the band's natural momentum saw them come 4th in the BBC Sound Poll of 2010, as well as receiving tips from everyone; from The Guardian to Disorder Magazine. Despite the initial hype – initially based on the viral video for Wonderful Life – the band retreated to their studio to complete the debut album, only surfacing for the limited edition release of the Arthur Baker remix of Wonderful Life in January and 3 sold out gigs – one in Manchester, one in London and one in Berlin. With their album complete, they are ready to move into the mainstream with their first proper release Better Than Love.” OFFICIAL PRESS RELEASE

“With their sharp suits, slick hair and stark visuals, Theo Hutchcraft and Adam Anderson present a striking contrast to the glow-in-the-dark pop stars who have run amok across the charts of late. Looking like they would rather be on the cover of Vogue Hommes than NME or Smash Hits, the pair resemble Tears For Fears as shot by Anton Corbijn.” BBC NEWS

Previously in the groups Bureau and Daggers, before finding the right sound, image and working relationship with Hurts – where gelling together, each member “has something that the other one might need” – Theo told BBC News: “Writing a song gets more interesting with two people. You've got positives and negatives, yin and yang. When you've got two people who've written a song, you can pick out each personality. If you can marry it right, where they're very different, you get a very interesting outcome.”

And on the reasons why they’ve gone through several incarnations / are still striving to reach music’s upper echelons: “We've been doing this for a while and our world's come crashing down a lot of times, and we've built back up. The Music Industry plays a big part in it because it's a world built on a lot of false promises and misplaced hope. When you're on the climb up, you give your heart away to a lot of people a lot of the time, and then they kick it into touch. And personally, we've both experienced extreme elation in equal measures with inconsolable despair. That makes you quite stoic and I find it very hard to get excited about very much any more. It's quite tragic. All you do is hope and keep going… Our ambitions are success – there's no denying it. We write pop music. To aim lower than going stratospheric is quite cowardly.”

Ahead of the release of their as-yet-untitled debut long player on August 16 – which was recorded in isolation over 12 months in an underground studio – Adam (synths) and Theo (vocals) have completed a Q&A for R*E*P*E*A*T. A smooth and stylish duo, who believe that by giving away less makes music more valuable and increases interest + whose epic, melancholic, elegant, melodramatic, enigmatic and meticulous electropop songs, are so good, it hurts!

Dragging The ‘80s into 2010 with depth and dynamism, having found the perfect balance between emotion and digital precision – Hurts key strength – these are pop savants who have purpose and promise in spades…

Lucy: Your band have been quite quiet for the last few months. Are you looking forward to playing gigs again?
Katie Jane Garside: I think I give very obtuse ans

1.You’ve been hotly-tipped as ‘Ones To Watch’ by both the music press and numerous music insiders. How are you feeling about the buzz surrounding Hurts?
“We spend a lot of time alone, without an objective perspective on anything. We feel comfortable in what we are doing, and have massive belief in the music we make. So to know that other people agree feels very special. There will never be pressure, because the pressure we compound on ourselves will always outweigh it!”

2.I read that you’re “very much of the classic songwriter school,” but as a band, what was the first song that you ever played together, and how long after this was it until you realised that you had something special / that there was a chemistry between you both?
“The first Hurts song we wrote was a song called Unspoken. After previously striving for the ultimate 3-minute pop song in our previous bands, Unspoken was a 7-minute song without a chorus. We just wrote it for ourselves, it was very refreshing. That honesty and comfort really resonated and helped us realise what all the work we had put in was for and showed us where we could go.”

3.What’s the story behind your name Hurts?
“We make emotional (Hurts) electronic (Hertz) music, you see.”

4.On a trip to Italy, you reportedly discovered ‘Disco Lento’ – can you tell us more about this?
“When we were starting off, we were looking for inspiration and reference to help us build on what we were doing. We are massive fans of Italo Disco, and so Lento was a progression from that. Something with depth, and something which related heavily to what we were doing.”

5.What are the main themes of your lyrics, and are there any bands’ or songwriters’ lyrics that you admire, or songs that you wish you had written?

“We write songs about hope and despair. Eminem is a genius. Morrissey is a genius. Michael Jackson is a genius.”

6.If you had to go shopping for someone and buy a record, a book and a film – what would they be and why?
“Massive Attack - Mezzanine, Bret Easton Ellis - American Psycho and The Cook, The Thief, His Wife & Her Lover.”

7.In Hurts’ early days, you deliberately chose not to do many gigs, preferring instead to play only a handful of unique shows. But when performing – along with an opera singer – what type of experience do you hope that you give to your audience?
“We always hope to give something special and something to be treasured. Whether we're in a normal venue which has been played a million times, or we're somewhere more special like a church, we will perform as grand as the music requires us to.”

8.Neil Tennant once remarked, “Nowadays, pop music is not regarded as a medium for ideas, it is regarded as a medium for success.” Do you think that’s true?
“Music is a medium for ideas. Pop music is the medium for the success of ideas. If pop means 'popular' then the notion of success is not an obtuse one. It is the responsibility of the artist to purvey unique and intelligent ideas. Those who don't are easily exposed.”

9.Which artist / band could you not imagine music without?

10.I know that production is very important to you, but when musicians write and record songs, it’s a well-known fact that some come easily and naturally, whereas others have to be laboured over until they’re finally right. When this happens to you, which is the more fulfilling?
“Both as special as each other. The labour of love gives a different feeling to the one-night stand, but equally as magical.”

11.Do you have any particular favourite sections in songs – moments which you think are magical?

“The outro to Purple Rain. Climax after climax after climax.”

12.You have clearly taken great care and consideration over the band’s style, artwork and promo videos, but are there any musicians’ sartorial looks or record sleeves that you admire?
“Grace Jones. For many, many reasons.”

13.What are your biggest hopes for Hurts long-term?
“Hopefully, not go back on the dole.”

14.Radio 2 is currently creating a landmark collection of British songs that inspire the station, ‘The Great British Songbook’, as selected by musicians, songwriters, Radio 2 presenters and listeners. But if the decision was yours, which song would you include?
“The Hollies - He Ain't Heavy (He's My Brother).”

15.Lastly, chips or cream buns?
(left unanswered)

A very special thanks to Hurts and to Justin @ Sony Music, for all of their time and help.

“And it feels better than love”

wers to questions...It's never about looking forward to it. Actually maybe I should change the
script, maybe we are looeir musicm the 3rd album?