By Chris Hammond
Theo Hutchcraft has had a busy six months since he and Adam Anderson hit the airwaves with Hurts. Hotly tipped as one to watch earlier in the year, the Manchester duo’s emotive electronic ballads are set to be unleashed in full this month on their debut album ‘Happiness’. Now on the cusp of critical and commercial acclaim, Hurts’ swift rise to prominence is all the more remarkable given that the pair have used their music to escape from the misery of life on the dole. But things haven’t come as easily as you might think.
“We didn’t play for a year”, explains Theo. “We held off for so long we didn’t want to do anything till we knew how to do it right, and when we did know, we then decided to play our first gig. You only get to play your first gig once so getting it to work was really important.”
That was six months ago and since then Theo and Adam have been on a rapid journey from obscurity to international fame. Despite having, not yet, released their debut album, their single ‘Wonderful Life’, a smooth electro-anthem, has been gathering popularity both at home and abroad. “One of the best things in the last year happened to us in Greece. The song ‘Wonderful Life’ has become massive there, bigger than we’d ever have expected. It went to number one in Cyprus and it was played all over Greece. We were then asked to go out and do a TV show over there. So we went over; everyone’s ringtone was ‘Wonderful Life’ and people we met there were singing the song to us. We then went to the studio where we were doing this TV show and when we got there it turned out it wasn’t a studio but a stadium and they’d got 11,000 people in there to hear us play. It was all a bit like the Brit Awards. So we played in-front of them and they all sang the words . . . even the bits about Bristol. Considering we wrote that song to get out of a life on the dole, which we hated, for us to play that there in-front of all those people was totally surreal. It’s an amazing feeling, we put all our hope into the music and the fact people can take different things from it is pleasing,” says Theo.
Despite their Manchester background, Theo doesn’t define the band as belonging to any of the famous Manchester sounds of the past. He believes that the buzz about the city is returning, but the bands are all making more diverse music in order to express themselves and attract attention. He explains, “It’s very interesting Manchester, there’s always music going around but the one thing I’ve noticed about the Manchester bands is that they’re all very different. Joy Division don’t sound like The Smiths and The Smiths don’t sound like Oasis. I think that inspires people. The industry kind of brushes over Manchester quite a lot so people there have to make music which really stands out. One thing we’ve tried to make is big bold, ambitious music in order to do that, and I think that’s something Manchester bands have done throughout history.”
The bands slick production and synth heavy songs have seen them compared with everyone from Soft Cell to Depeche Mode. Whilst their sound isn’t too far away from those ‘80s giants, they are perhaps a little bit more accessible than their illustrious predecessors, meaning their album could be a major mainstream hit. Theo tells us what to expect from it, “I think the song ‘Wonderful Life’ is quite a signifying song. It kind of sits on the album a bit like a figurehead. But hopefully the album will surprise people. Because we’ve not had much music out, there’s room for it to surprise people. Hopefully pleasantly. It’s a very emotional record and very dramatic. I think the way Hurts came about was because we both became more honest emotionally and it’s a very heart on sleeve kind of album. I think that’s quite important, because if you don’t believe it how can anyone else relate to it?”
As positive as Theo is about their album, he also points out that they have made a real effort to perfect their live shows; “Because the music is quite epic it deserves to be played in a certain way. It deserves to be performed as opposed to just played.” Thankfully, we’ll all have the opportunity to see whether both the duo’s album and their live performances live up to their potential in just a few weeks. If they do, then we can expect to be hearing a lot more from Hurts than they ever expected.
Hurts debut album Happiness is out now. For more check out www.informationhurts.com