WITH A NEW ALBUM JUST AROUND THE CORNER, HERMITUDE ARE LOOKING TO KEEP THE DANCE FLOOR MOVING, AS LUKE DUBS TELLS RIP NICHOLSON.
LUKE DUBS interviewed @ 15.00 AEST – Monday 15th November, 2011
For Street Press Australia & Rip2Shredz Press
Words by RIP NICHOLSON
The makings of Hermitude has always been without an MC, or any lyricists to complete the hip hop act. Two instrumentalists, Luke Dubs (Luke Dubber) and Elgusto (Angus Stuart) from the Blue Mountains and on the eve of their national tour and one week from finishing their fourth LP, Dubber discusses the growing pains of their act over the years and making sure their latest album is a strictly no-talking LP of synth-driven hip hop that crosses over into a real engaging live product.
This will settle any thoughts of Hermitude sinking without a lyricist or even a hype man in Australian hip hop, despite the industry thriving with schools of MCs. Hermitude’s hustle has matured their act to the point where there is no room for a vocalist of any kind, although Dubber admits, getting there has been a learning process.
“Definitely that’s been one of the hardest things, to learn to engage and rock a crowd for instrumentalists; it’s been hard. When we started out ten years ago we’d barely look out into the crowd and as we did the first couple of records we always had rappers who would come out partway through the shows and they would really connect and vibe with the people and got them into the show. But as the years went on we realised that we didn’t need rappers, we could do it ourselves and it’s been a learning process. Being able to find that awesome balance of playing the music that people wanna hear and engaging with the crowd just enough so they’re with you. We’ve got it to a point where we’re doing pretty well at it and it’s great to be able to keep the people in the show with us and have them come along for the ride.”
While their last three albums offered up several vocal spots, Dubber promises that the follow up is strictly for the music. “For this record, we wanted to go completely instrumental, even more so than any of our other records.” During a hiatus since 2008’s Threads LP, other half, Angus Stuart was integral in the production of Elefant Traks labelmate Urthboy’s 2009 LP,Spitshine. So the musicians are no strangers to coinciding their beats with rap, as Dubber stresses.
“Working with lyricists is awesome. We don’t not do it because we don’t like any of that – we love working with rappers and singers – but Hermitude has always been primarily instrumental. But this time we wanted to go completely instrumental on the record.”
The new album has been tailored for the live appeal, as Dubber explains, their decisions were consciously met to hold the audience captive as they embark on a tour across the country in support of new single, ‘Speak Of The Devil’.
“We considered the live translation this time more so than any other record. We usually write the record and then tour and then realise that half the record isn’t that simple to just go live with. But this time we were definitely more aware of it and there’s a few more tempo tracks on this record – more edgy – and can handle the translation for the live environment. Over the years we’ve evolved our music and live shows to cater to the kind of tunes that will keep dancefloors moving.”
Their opening night of the Speak Of The Devil tour was a sold out celebration in Melbourne’s East Brunswick, proving they’ve reached new heights as an act and their survival amongst the rabid rush of MCs on the scene. As their next album looms, Dubber couldn’t be happier with how their show has rolled out.
“It’s a really great way to start things off,” Dubber says. “We had a great show and everyone was digging it. So selling out Brunswick was the best way to start the tour and mission on with the dates that we’ve got and get out there to the people and play them some new music.”