Dieser Artikel erschien erst mal in unserer Nostalgia-Issue
Sie sind die bestgekleidetsten Männer der britischen Musikbranche: HURTS, das Synthie-Pop-Duo aus Manchester. Markenzeichen ihrer Musik ist ein düsterer, melancholischer Sound, sexy und geheimnisvoll. Und doch fand sich darin seit ihrem Debüt 2010 inmitten von all dem Weltschmerz stets auch ein Hoffnungsschimmer. Ihr zuletzt erschienenes, drittes Album „Surrender“ haben Sänger Theo Hutchcraft und Keyboarder und Gitarrist Adam Anderson nun deutlich positiver gestaltet. Auf ihrer Tour beehrten sie im Februar auch das Wiener Gasometer und begeisterten die Fans mit einer elegant inszenierten, schwungvollen Show. Vor ihrem Konzert durften wir die beiden für eine Viertelstunde zu einem Interview treffen, das sich als überraschend heiter entpuppte.
Im kalten, spartanischen Backstage-Raum, in dem unser Gespräch stattfindet, gibt es zwei schwarze, abgewetzte Sofas und einen kleinen Beistelltisch mit einer Kaffeemaschine. Die Garderobe der beiden Musiker, die ihren minimalistischen, aber außergewöhnlich schicken Kleidungsstil ausmacht, hängt auf einfachen Kleiderstangen daneben. Theo und Adam begrüßen uns freundlich, wirken gut gelaunt und gar nicht so unnahbar wie erwartet. Adam ist eher der Stille, heißt es immer in Kommentaren auf Youtube und Co. Doch heute ist er eindeutig der Wortführer und plaudert auf unsere Fragen munter drauf los. Die nächsten 15 Minuten dreht sich alles um den kreativen Prozess des Songschreibens, das Zusammenspiel von Musik und Mode und die Kollaboration mit namhaften Künstlern des Pop-Biz. HURTS haben sich ohne Frage weiterentwickelt. Sie sind noch stilsicherer geworden, extravagant, aber nicht abgehoben, genau wie ihre Musik. Keine Spur von Schwermut, höchstens etwas Müdigkeit von den langen Tagen auf Tour. Doch die sei ihnen vergönnt…
Vangardist: With Surrender you took a different approach in making the album. You wrote it while traveling. Do you imagine that someday you will look back and say that this third record was a sort of turning point in the way you create music?
Adam: It was definitely interesting to travel and make music, it was the first time we did it. I wouldn’t say a turning point, for me it was a sort of continuation of the journey. And it was the right thing at the right time to do and in the future when we make records we might feel like we need a different environment. We always make music according to how we feel, so, you know, all three records were done just how we wanted to do them in the moment.
V: Your songs are vibrant, especially on the new album, but they’re also dark and gloomy on the other two albums in particular. Is there a difference in the creating process when it comes to working on happier and more cheerful songs compared to darker and more melancholic songs?
Theo: It was interesting, because on this album we were trying to express a more positive side. We’ve touched that before and there’s definitely moments on the other albums that are like it, but we felt we had to really focus to try and do that. But we also know it was quite important to show that side of ourselves, because it gives a lot more weight to the other songs of these other two albums.
V: So there isn’t that big a difference between letting out your inner demons and singing about love?
Theo: A thing we’ve learned is when you’re unhappy it makes for great material for songs. But it’s quite hard to make music when you’re unhappy. It’s not easy to DO things. So, when you’re happy, music comes quite easily, but you can reflect on things that have happened in the past. So the important thing we learned this time, about travelling and enjoying ourselves, is that that’s how music comes most naturally to us.
V: Do you think your style changes with every album you make? You dress very sophisticated and vintage, but at the same time you have this sort of modern thing going on as well.
Adam: We never consciously discussed clothes, really. We’re lucky that we never wear the same outfits. We like a lot of similar stuff, but never ever once wear the same. We once both had a white shirt and a waistcoat on, about three months ago, and it was really weird. It was the first time we’ve ever made that mistake in 10 years. People identify with us, partly because of how we look, and also because of the music, so it goes sort of hand in hand. But it’s not something we discuss. And nobody comes in and shows us stuff, we do it ourselves. It’s as normal to us as making a meal, it’s just something we do.
V: We wanted to talk about Spotify real quick. Do you think that streaming services change the way people listen to and enjoy music for worse? Do you yourselves prefer having physical copies of records at home?
Theo: I use Spotify and things like that, because it’s just easy and it’s a great way to consume music. One thing that people do still enjoy and need – and that’s why the radio’s sill very popular – is other people selecting for them what to listen to. You always look at playlists, so you look at things and people find music that way and it’s great that’s there. From the beginning of our band we’ve always existed online, YouTube was what made us popular, so it’s kinda fine.
V: You’ve collaborated with people like Elton John, Kylie Minogue and Calvin Harris. Have you become accustomed to the idea of working with people you look up to or people who are fans of yours? Do you have someone you would like to collaborate with, like maybe Lana Del Rey?
Theo: She would be great! But yeah, we’re still humbled by it, it’s still crazy to even think… I forget about Elton John, I’m like…we did play on that, I tell someone and I’ll go: Wow, it’s still strange to us, you know, because these things were just random moments of fortune and it’s funny when people like them. We got friends who’re musicians and things like that, but we never assumed that we’re a band that other musicians would like. But it’s quite nice when someone says they do like us.
V: Does the creative process feel different when working with someone other than your bandmate?
Adam: Oh, John was interesting, because when he came in, he played on a song called „Help“ off the second record, the last song, and we were like „You’re Elton John, just do what you want on our song, go on and whatever you like will happen.“ And he came in and said „I listened to the song lots of times and I don’t feel like I can improve what’s there so I’m just gonna play a part the two of you have already put in the song.“ And it was, like, the cooles moment ever. The most surreal moment. You collaborate with a legend of music, in the top 10 of all time, maybe top 5, and he’s, like, so humble, he just goes in and plays the parts that you’ve written. That was an insane moment of collaboration.
V: Nowadays a lot of artists do things aside from music as well. They have their own fashion lines and their own YouTube channels and stuff. Is that anything that you would ever do?
Theo: Maybe we could set up some sort of tutorial for something else.
V: That was actually a question coming from fans. They asked us on Instagram if we could ask if you would ever do a piano or dance tutorial.
Adam: Funny thing is, sometimes, long after we’ve written a song, I have to go on YouTube tutorials that our fans have made, to remember how to play a song that we wrote. I go on a tablature website to find out what the fuck is in our song.
V: It´s getting late, you´ve gotta run. Hope your fans put in the right tabulatures online for tonight´s live set. Thanks for the Interview, guys!
Text: Charlotte Weber + Julian Behrenbeck