Theo Hutchcraft and Adam Anderson dropped by Singapore recently for their first ever performance at Esplanade presented by Topman.
This synthpop/soft rock duo from Manchester have been described as The Next Big Thing and even been rendered Best New Band award by NME (New Musical Express) this year. With singles like “Wonderful Life”, “Stay” and “Better Than Love“, we foresee this pair of charming lads soaring much higher in years to come.
My friends can concur with me on this one. I seldom compliment men in general unless they’re Robert Downey Jr. or Mr Ravenous (HAHA). But I gotta say, Theo Hutchcraft and Adam Anderson are just pure divine.
In my 19 years of living, I’ve never met anyone so refined and polished. On Monday, 9th May 2011, Theo and Adam entered Fuse Bar at Marina Bay Sands with confidence that is neither overpowering nor inadequate. As they shake my hand, I am starstruck for a moment for I realise the reality of the situation. Everyone then assumes their position for the round-tabled interview.
When asked about the weather here in Singapore so far, both Theo and Adam were optimistic. Both complimented Singapore’s climate but inevitably, the word “Hot” rose in the last sentence.
As expected, the interview starts off with their experience performing in Coachella.
You guys played at Coachella. How was your experience performing in it?
Theo: It was amazing. It was one of those things; being in a festival. It was so perfect because we were on perfect grass and the landscapes were unbelievable. We met Brandon Flowers! (from The Killers) He’s a nice chap.
How was it like meeting all these other stars?
Theo: It was amazing because he (Flowers) came to watch our show and we met him before we got on stage. We saw some great bands, including one of our favourites Mumford & Sons. To see them play in America in front of so many people was a big and proud moment for us. It’s great when you get to meet your heroes. We even walked into a karaoke bar with Jay-Z and told jokes.
How are the American fans different from all the others?
Theo: They were good actually. It was our first ever show in the States so we really didn’t know what to expect. It was fun; a great concert and it was amazing. We didn’t know what to expect so to go out there and to be received really well was beautiful.
How about the Asian fans?
Theo: They’re like the best! We’ve been to Japan quite a lot but this is our first time in Southeast Asia. We’re three gigs in and they’re (the fans) incredible. It’s great to come to somewhere so far away from where you’ve written the album. For people to connect with it and enjoy it, we feel so privileged.
Adam: They sang every word back to us; it was an amazing feeling. We wrote these songs in a bedroom back in Manchester. It feels like we’re a million miles away from home, so to have people sing your words back to you is a great feeling.
Most of the songs on your album are about lost love and desperation. Some people find it kinda ironic that you’ve named your album Happiness. Do explain!
Theo: Most people presume it’s irony but in reality it’s really Hurts and Happiness; the two extremes of our lives. We started the album very unhappy, depressed and poor. The journey while making the album was our pursuit of happiness. By the end of the album, we felt much happier. Hurts was where we began and Happiness was where we ended up.
If not for the music industry, where do you see yourselves?
Theo: Just before we started Hurts, we almost wanted to quit.
Adam: We got very close to that because we’ve been playing for four years. We really became so depressed and hard. We were like “Can we still do this? Is it ever going to work?” And even then, we didn’t know what else we could do because all we’ve ever done is write and play music. And that was our only way out of the situation so I don’t know what else we could have done.
Theo: When I think about it, my brain just goes completely blank. (chuckles) It’s like my imagination just stops working. I can’t think of anything that I’d do even if I wasn’t doing this.
Adam: Maybe we’ll just carry on for the rest of our lives and never stop, no matter how. And hope that one day it’ll work out until we’re 60 or 70 years old, and just carry on.
Can you talk about your style and fashion sense? It seems reflective of your music and vice versa. Which one came first?
Theo: It’s a funny one because we dressed like this before we were in a band. It was the only way we could have any dignity and a sense of pride. When we started the band, we wanted everything to be the same. We wanted to be in the same place so we just brought everything together. It was who were and we just stuck with it.
Adam: When we make music, it’s good to be honest with people. Everything we do, from our music videos, the way we dress to our sound, is a reflection of who we are as people really. It makes us more believable. This is who we are and we just do it in our way, by ourselves, which is all we’ve ever wanted to do. To have done that from the beginning and have people from Singapore, Russia or Germany relate to who you are as a person, is probably one of the most amazing feelings.
Describe your songwriting process.
Adam: It starts very simple. It always starts with a small dark room, preferably with a poodle in the corner. (chuckles) We start very simple, with a guitar or piano. We sit opposite each other and stare at one another for hours on end until we come up with something good. Most days of the week, nothing good happens and we go home angry. But on one day of the week, we get a great mode. Then, we put that mode into months and months of endless production, which is the exhausting thing about music.
Theo: It’s important because we write pop music. A song is only a great song if you can whistle it and it’s great. That’s what pop music is. So it has to be simple and emotions have got to be wild. So we start with that and then build it for months and months.
Do you guys ever fight?
Theo: Nope! We are very fortunate that our personalities are so compatible musically, so there’re never any arguments because we both provide unique perks. We both know what each of our strengths are and it works out perfectly. We’re very lucky to have that.
Adam: It’s not a democracy, really. When you’re in a band with five people, you’ll have to run decisions by everyone whereas with us, we can probably write songs without even speaking.
You’ve worked on a track with Kylie Minogue called “Devotion“. How did that collaboration come about?
Theo: You’re not going to believe us but this is true. We wrote her a letter! We sent her an e-mail. We were sitting at home, writing Devotion. It was really funny ’cause we were thinking “This would sound great if Kylie could sing it”. An hour later we went, “What if we could ask her?” So we asked around and got an e-mail address, so we sent her an e-mail!
But why Kylie?
Adam: She’s an institution in our country. There was a period in her career which was very fascinating, where she sold no records. Her songs were darker and more creative. She used her voice in a very different way from most people. The challenge was to try and recapture that moment in her career on our song.
Theo: We felt she’d be perfect for the song. We didn’t want to ask anybody else! It was either her or nobody. So we wrote this e-mail that said something like “Would you like to sing on our song?” And a week later, she replied! It was amazing. We were very lucky that she was a fan of the band. She was a great talent. It was the last thing we did on the album; our final moment. Considering the first song we wrote was Unspoken, which was very bleak. Our final song was Devotion, which ended things off on a high note.
Which bands do you guys look up to musically and how have they shaped your music throughout the years?
Adam: Depeche Mode – in terms of sound. I actually think the band which we sound most alike to is Tears For Fears, an English band which is very underrated and not many people have mentioned them. I think we sound mostly like them (Tears For Fears) and Depeche Mode; probably for the musical environments.
Theo: Bands like Oasis are very prominent because they’re a big band and they’ve got big, ambitious pop music. They’re well-known around the world and a band we’ve been fond of all our lives. And bands like The Verve, a band from back home. It’s really funny when it comes to influences because we never talk about them. It was only when we got interviewed for the first time asking about our influences and we couldn’t answer the question. We had to go home, sit and have a beer to discuss why we made music. ‘Cause when you make music, you just do it. You don’t talk about it, especially when it’s just the two of you. You don’t go, “Why do you write this song? Describe it”. That’s the great thing about making something and taking it around the world. All of a sudden, you start to learn about what you’ve actually made and what the song is.
When asked about the sound of their next album, Adam says that there will definitely be a different kinda emotion attached to it, although he doesn’t think that they’ll be capable of writing songs as sad as before. Also, they’ll continue their development by exploring different kinds of emotions, through touring in the next few months.
Theo then adds, “One thing important to us is that we find it therapeutic to write sad music. It’s part of our personalities and we find it rewarding, so we’re probably drawn towards that as well.” Accompanying that, he admits that it is difficult for men to be emotional and they’re lucky to have music to be able to express themselves.
This band definitely has hot prospects for the future and we certainly can’t wait for their next album! We are looking forward to hearing their future sound. It is such a boon for such bands to exist in pop culture and for that, we salute Hurts for being in our lives.
Check out their artistic music video for the song “Stay” below!
Credits to Zakk for the amazing photographs! Have a great weekend guys!