INTERVIEW: Hermitude

Having been around for over ten years, released four albums, contributed on many more and been a major act in the rise of Australian hip hop, Hermitude are among the best Australian music producers in the last decade. Their recent album Hyperparadise was the long awaited comeback off the back of a three year hiatus and saw them once again get dance floors hot and bothered, though in a range of new genres previously unexplored by the duo.

As Hyperparadise’s success has grown, Hermitude have managed reached a new fanbase with in Australia and abroad. The single ‘Speak Of The Devil’ from the record recently came in at a very cheeky #40 on triple j’s hottest 100 and took out best Australian video clip.

Now off the back of a very successful, and by all reports very loose, tour of the UK that saw them party with a number of other Australian acts and sign to prestigious world wide label Regal Records, Luke Dubs, one half of Hermitude was nice enough to take a break from their globetrotting life style and chat to us from their Australian studio


Matt Bladin: Luke Thanks for taking the time to talk to us!

So having been making music for the better part of your life as well as being in Hermitude since early 2000s, how do you think hip hop scene in Australia changed? For better or worse?

Luke Dubs: I think Australian hip hop has really grown in the last ten years, obviously its all over the radio theses days. When we came onto the scene it was kind of before the (Hilltop) Hoods broke with their track , so there was not a lot of air play going on for hip hop acts, but since then its kind of exploded and the amount of hip hop that’s kind of going on in Australia is Ludacris!

I mean you used to be able to count the amount of artists on two hands but now its just exploded, there’s so many different dudes and different music out there.

I think its really taken a shift in the last little while, there’s kind of like a lot more of different production techniques being used. I feel that the scene started off with the samples and breaks style of beats and then went through a kind of dubstep phase and now there’s kind of a dance influence in Aus hip hop. It’s really exciting to be a part of that evolution as it moves with the times and to hear fresh new sounds, and that’s always really inspiring for us.

M.B: Along those lines of how much Hip Hop has exploded in the last few years within Australia from the recent shows you’ve been playing in the UK, how do you think
England and other countries for the matter are receiving new Australian music, is there a growing market or is it still uncharted waters?

L.D: No I’d say it’s deffs a growing market man, I’ve heard of a lot of acts going over and making waves in London, all different acts like, dance and indie and all kinds of bands.

But I guess it is uncharted to a certain degree. However when we were over their recently the Hilltop Hoods were on tour with Horror show so we went to their gig in London and on top of that they were doing a couple festivals through the UK, so there’s definitely more and more bands going over there to break into that scene.

For us, it was mad. We played our second London show and it was also our first headline show over there and it sold out even though it was a rainy Monday night! So its going great for us and its deffs something we’re going to be pursuing in the future and heading back over soon to build on that vibe we’re starting to get going.


M.B: Yeah, while you mention how you guys are going overseas, I saw recently the very exciting news  about your signing to Regal Records and a world wide release of the ‘Speak of the Devil’ single! How did this come about and what will this mean for you guys in the future?

L.D: Haha yer man that’s been fucking amazing for us, it’s a huge deal and now ‘Speak Of The Devil’ has been being played on the radio over there and a bit world wide which is awesome. I think it’s basically the beginning of a new journey for us I guess.

We’re going to head back over their to keep playing heaps of shows but we’re pretty much back into the studio now and working on another record and hopefully get that out in the next year. But yer, now that we’ve got those guys behind us we’ve got a bit more weight over there and we’re able to get our music out to more people than we were able to before.


M.B: Moving onto Hyperparadise, you guys have moved through various genres like jazz, funk, hip hop, Cuban percussion, and electronica throughout  your career but on top of all that Hyperparadise, it’s a move away from what you’ve done in the past. Where do you go or how to find new inspiration to continue to evolve your sound?

L.D: I guess we draw inspiration from the kind of music we’re into at the time, when we started, when we did our first record we were listening to a lot of instrumental hip hop beats that had come out recently like Dj Shadow and Krush, and then even some beats with old funk, like the Meters and Head Hunters and some stuff like that.

I guess over the years we’ve listened to different kinds of music and it’s all kind of rubbed off onto our records. But the whole instrumental hip hop thing kind of died in its ass in the early 2000s and was kind of taken over by more wonky kind of beats, so we got right into that and then that developed, again, into the dubstep stuff.

With all the stuff that’s happening in music in the world we try to kind of soak up as much stuff as possible, take what we like, and see how we can work it into our sound. With Hyperparadise it was definitely of mix of all that music. We hadn’t done a record for a few years and had just been listening to a whole heap of stuff, and the whole music scene had changed so quickly in those few years. So I guess in the time between out last two records we’ve just had so much new stuff to listen to and to get out of our system.

We’d been listening to all this crazy music that’s come out in the last 3 years, and such a wide range of music that we had so much we wanted to squeeze in there.  I think Hyperparadise was definitely a journey into new different genres as we tried to veer away from the traditional hip hop stuff and go a bit more electronic and dance. It was really really fun to make.


M.B: With the recent remix compilation of tracks from Hyperparadise, you’ve involved names like M-Phazes, Sampology and Flume. What was the process involved with choosing who was featured and what tracks got the remix treatment?

L.D: Well first we kind of chose artists that we were digging, and there’s a whole bunch of good producers in Australia at the moment so it was a hard decision to make. Then we pretty much handed it over to them as to what tunes they wanted to remix, and it just so happens that most of them chose different songs, so it worked out pretty well!

That’s basically how it went down it was pretty simple, we’d met these guys over the years, Sampology is an old mate of ours and Flume is a new friend now, through that dope ep he put out last year. So we basically hooked up with them, asked what do you want to remix, and a month later we had all these new wicked songs! It was great.


M.B: Any particular favourites from the ep?

L.D: Hrmm yer that’s a hard one, I’d probably have to say Flume’s remix of Hyperparadise was a favourite


M.B: Yer that’s been a huge remix!

L.D: Oh yer man, massive… Oh my god It’s so dope hahah


M.B: So you guys are on to play the Parklife tour in a few weeks, How does playing such a rich, multi- layered high energy album translate into your live shows?

L.D: Well we’re both trained musicians, we come from a band backgrounds so we basically try to do as much as we can live.  We basically bring half our studio along and set it up on stage along with a whole bunch of cameras so people can see what we’re doing… and pretty much bang heaps of the shit live.

All of the melodies I’m playing on the synth and Gusto is cutting up and mixing all the tunes together. We’ve also got all these interludes and a couple of covers in there and we just try and mesh it all together in a kind of mixing pot of hermi’ mayhem.

But we’re super excited man, we’ve got some dope new visuals, some new elements to the show we’re tweeking and now that we’ve got a couple of new beats, we might have a couple of new bangers to test out on the dancefloor.


M.B: So the crowd can expect an entire audio and visual experience?

L.D: Yeah totally man! We defiantly try and keep everyone involved with what’s happening on stage. We also have a lot of visuals that we cut between and just pair them with some crazy ass playing.

We try to keep it real live man, and just real fun. We want people to come along and just want to dance. That’s what we’re all about live.


M.B: Sounds awesome! So are there tracks or musical elements that work better or not so well live?

L.D: Yeah sure. I mean we don’t do some of the slower songs live, at least not at festivals, because, you know, there’s a few slow burners on the record because we love writing down tempo stuff as well. And I guess they doesn’t translate so well live, so we usually leave those out, defiantly for festival sets as we like to build up lots of energy and vibe.

But we deffs replace those with a couple of other things, like new unreleased tracks that people havn’t heard yet. So it’s definitely exciting for the crowd and for us too.


M.B: So in one word what can people expect from the Parklife show?

L.D: One word? Umm… entropy, I think it means like the end of the world haha, it’s going to be explosive.

Actually maybe just put explosive haha people might be like “what the fuck does entropy mean?”


M.B: Your touring schedule has been crazy the last year or so, having recently played all around Australia and over seas and things look to stay that way. Have you managed to find much time amongst it all to get writing again? I’ve heard you’re working on the new Urthboy record with Count Bounce ?

L.D: Yer, we have totally! It’s pretty much done now and it sounds fucking amazing, people are going to bug out when they hear it.

But for us, yeah.. we pretty much just got back into it this week, we just got back last week form Europe, we were over there for a month. So now it’s all about to start happening again!

M.B: Awesome! Sounds exciting. Well thanks for taking the time to chat to us Luke and we look forward to seeing what you guys have got in store for Parklife!

 

INTERVIEW BY MATT BLADIN