Hurts are back and bolder than ever. Having just released their latest album, Local Wolves’ Emma Matthews spoke to Theo Hutchcraft about the risky offering and how it’s a step away from the band’s 2013 full-length, Exile.
You’ve just released your latest album Surrender, what’s the response been like?
TH — Excellent. We really had no idea how people would take it, so we’ve been so grateful for the positivity. We took some risks on this album, like we did on the last one, and it’s very inspiring that people have followed us on the journey and understood what we’re trying to do.
Has there been a track that you feel have gone particularly well with fans?
TH — It differs from day to day. When we released “Rolling Stone,” the reaction was very strong. I think because it sounds like a very concentrated version of the sound we established on the previous two albums.
What about yourself, what’s your favorite song and why?
TH — I really like that we were able to write a song like “Lights” that pushed ourselves as artists. I’ve listened to it so many times now and I never get tired of it!
You mentioned that Surrender is a step away from your previous release Exile, how do the two differ?
TH — Exile was an intense, dark and introspective album. We tried to do the opposite with this one by giving it an energy and a vibrancy, which we’ve touched on previously. Also still retaining the melancholy and atmosphere, but with a fresh perspective.
You also mentioned how Surrender comes from a ‘happy place,’ do you think there’s been a shift in songwriting where artists tend to focus on the negative aspects of life, like broken relationships, betrayal etc, now?
TH — I think subjects like that just makes great material for songs. For us, it’s important to show a range of emotion and to explore the reality of life. Good days and bad days!
What was the recording process for Surrender like and did recording in Los Angeles have an impact?
TH — The process was very fluid and free. We enjoyed ourselves and traveled a lot, and the music just came naturally. It was a total contrast to the process of the last album, which was us two locked in an apartment in Manchester for a year. LA and all the places we visited definitely had an impact. They gave us a new outlook and a fresh perspective on our music, which was crucial.
What has been your biggest influence for Surrender?
TH — Probably the travel, that was a real driving force.
Your latest video “Lights” very much focuses on British nightclubs, how important is British culture to you?
TH — Very important. We both grew up in The North, where the heroes, villains, victories and melodramas of local nightclubs were such a beautiful and formative part of our lives. It’s a part of the British culture, which is slowly drifting away. Lots of nightclubs and venues are closing down, so that video was kind of a tribute to that.
How has it shaped you as artists?
TH — Britain and British culture is hugely important in our identity as artists. It’s the world we grew up in and the influences we have. It’s only when we started to travel around the world and see ourselves objectively that we realized how much of our identity was rooted in that.
What advice would you give to budding musicians who are trying to find their path in the UK?
TH — Don’t have a Plan B! Never give up.