Shuddering ominous synths. Ticking time bomb percussion. Hypnotic vocals and visceral visuals create a full-body sensory experience. The portal is open. Hurts – comprised of Theo Hutchcraft and Adam Anderson – are back with their fifth studio album, and we have been summoned somewhere darker, more claustrophobic – but altogether more real and raw than ever before.
The intrigue that engulfed the Manchester synth-pop duo at the beginning of their career has returned with highly-anticipated Faith – which they’ve cited as their most “complete” record in a decade. The result of two years of painstaking work and curation, pulsating from the album is some of their most authentic and revelatory songwriting yet.
A myriad of throbbing production and menacing lyricism, if their first release, “Suffer”, is anything to go by, this is a new chapter of Hurts.
We caught up with Adam and talked about Faith, using social media to create communities, and soundtracking people’s inner worlds…
Hi guys, how has lockdown been for you? How do you feel releasing a new body of work in such uncertain times?
Obviously it has been a very testing time for a lot of people. For me personally the period has given me an opportunity to reflect, to see what it’s like when the constant distractions we immerse ourselves in every day, get removed. I think it’s been a very introspective time for a lot of people and we are no different. As for releasing new music, we chose to release the album firstly because we feel so connected to the songs right now and also because the climate is so uncertain, who knows how long a delay would last. It felt right to proceed as planned.
Congratulations on Faith – where did the name come from and what was it inspired by?
Faith was one of the titles we were considering right at the start. Then as the songs went in a certain direction, it became clear that it was the perfect title. It embodies the feeling throughout the album. It’s a word that implies trust and conviction and a commitment to a greater good. And these things feel very prevalent to how we made this album. We went back to our core and believed fully in what we are at our foundation and committed to that despite opportunities to be swayed by self doubt or external pressure.
What was the recording process like for this fifth album – relatively seamless or more challenging than previous endeavours?
I’d say it was the most challenging at first and then the most seamless at the end. It began from a place of relative turmoil. I think we were both a bit lost in many ways. At a certain point in life, I think you begin to question the greater meaning of your life and you begin to see that some of the things you thought made you happy, actually don’t. And I think we both began to wrestle with that and look for a different purpose than writing songs in a tiny room. We had done that for a long time. So initial signs weren’t good and my own motivation was definitely questionable. But then as the process unfolded, I began to personally realise that part of my true identity, whether I like it or not sometimes, is to be creative every day and to make music. It’s who I am. And this band is a huge part of my life. From that point I ran towards it instead of away from it and I basically fell back in love with making music. I think around halfway through the album the two of us both found some sort of salvation in what we do again. From that point we did some of the best work of our career and everything flowed. It was a pleasure going to the studio every day to be honest.
What’s been the biggest challenge in constantly upping your game and producing something that feels fresh and authentic but still true to your roots?
Authenticity was the foundation for the whole album. We both decided that if we were going to make another album, it had to come from a truthful place. Even the most unenlightened of listeners can hear if something comes from a truthful place or not. The ears just know. So we wanted to fully commit to our true musical identity. Once we decided to do this, there was really no challenge. We made the music that we love.
I’ve read that this is your most “complete” album in a decade – would you mind telling us a little about this?
There is an honesty in this album which I think will touch people. I also think that despite plenty of self doubt at various stages, we both managed to individually be the very best of ourselves. This is the best music I have personally ever made and without question these are the best words Theo has ever written. In the past we have been occasionally guilty of our albums lacking a bit of focus. I think, as lovers of pop music, we always liked the idea of our albums featuring a plethora of different types of songs and we enjoyed doing it to be honest. But this album, although still diverse in some ways, really feels like one strong statement. The album looks at you in the eyes. There’s a truth and a power in it that we have never got near to before.
What do you hope people will take from your new music?
We want to soundtrack peoples inner worlds. For me music has always been a way for me to interact with my emotions. An access point to look inside. And I believe Faith is an album that will help people in this way. The truth that Theo and I put into the album is very tangible. I feel you can hear both of us so clearly, how we feel, who we are. And I hope our fans will be able to find their own truth when they listen to the album.
You guys have been busy during this time, using social media in order to platform your performances and interact with your fans – how important do you think it is for artists to adapt and adapt quickly?
We began using Telegram recently, which is an amazing way for fans of our band to form a community. I am interested in social media that brings people together rather than inspires negativity or jealousy. Most of the things we do on social media try to inspire people to work together. In terms of adaption, we have spent the last ten years adapting to be honest. We signed a record deal in 2009 when bands still made b-sides, streaming was nowhere, the whole climate was totally different. Then suddenly physical records were dead and streaming took over. It’s been a decade of learning to roll with the ever changing nature of the industry. So we do our best.
2020 has had a rocky start – what are you excited for this year?
Personally very excited to release the album and hopefully touring again. Globally looking forward to a renewed perspective on how we treat each other, how we live our lives daily. A greater appreciation for each other and the things that matter.