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Friday, September 24, 2010

A day of Happiness in Paris, with Hurts


All pictures : credit Tokyobanhbao.com

Pour lire ma critique de Happiness en français, c'est ici !

On Tuesday September 21st, the lovely and very talented Tokyo Banhbao and I were invited to follow amazing Manchester pop duo Hurts during their promo tour in Paris. It was a great chance to talk to Theo and Adam freely, asking questions and getting their impressions on music, touring and their newly-found success. After briefly meeting them back in June during a showcase they were eventually not able to perform due to the venue's sound system dying minutes before the performance, this more intimate time with the twosome was an opportunity to check if they really are the coolest new band around. Guess what... they're more than that.

If you're a regular reader, you know how much I am into this band. Their debut album Happiness is close from perfection with a dozen tracks all deeper, classier, and more hauntingly beautiful than the other. Songs like Illuminated, Stay, The Water and of course Devotion, the incredible duet with Kylie Minogue puts any competitor to shame. Their sensibility and constant attention to detail is always present, be it in down-tempo tracks or more upbeat ones like the great Sunday and well-known single Better Than Love. I haven't heard many albums this year that have such a consistant sound and distinctive personality. And when you get a chance to talk with Adam and Theo, you get it: this album is them, their lives, their ups and downs put into words and music.
 
As they told us inbetween interviews with national media, the months before Hurts were born as such (they were in other bands before) were not happy times. Money wasn't exactly growing in their pockets and despair was sometimes kicking in. As they told great radio host Laura Leishman during her very fun interview for Le Mouv radio, they had to work in not-so-funny jobs such as milkman, ice-truck driver, greyhound dogs walker (Adam) and Sainsbury saleman or cemetery lawn-mower for Theo.

Knowing this makes it easier to understand the density of their work, its deeply and genuinely hearfelt sound and at times real rays of hope and will to succeed. Cause these guys are tough. They know what they want. They're neat, disciplined. As for their carefully-designed looks, they mean something: they are a extension of who they are as musicians. Have you ever wondered why Theo's hair always looks so perfect? We learnt that's because he always carries a cob in his pocket. But not any cob: the one he bought the day Hurts got signed (see picture above). This story might seem like detail, but it tells much more about their dedication and general spirit than any interview does.


What they speak best of is obviously music.
We make pop music. To us pop music is anything people can relate to.
I love this definition, it's all at once very simple and very clever. I'm absolutely certain that the quality of their music comes from a deep understanding of pop music, what it should sound and feel like, but also what should convey to the listener. When asked by Laura about Lady Gaga, as she is one of today's biggest popstars, their answer comes as no surprise : 
We are massive fans of Lady Gaga, she's a classic popstar, which has been missing for a long time. Lots of popstars like Christina Aguilera have become redundant because of her. See what happened with her last album.
Of course, dissing on Lady Gaga nowadays is a bit like saying "don't buy my record" (which I think is a shame), but they hit the right button there : there aren't many popstars around anymore. One of them, is of course Kylie Minogue with whom they recorded the rather Devotion. You'd think reaching to such a superstar isn't easy, but the Hurts guys did it old style. 
We just wrote her a letter. She said yes and that's about it.
Yeah sure. Let's all do that. As Theo said, this slower, more dramatic type of songs suits the tiny pop princess as well as her pop/dance signature hits. The two "indie" albums she released in the 90s (Kylie Minogue & Imposssible Princess) contain some of the best songs of her career such as Confide In Me, Breathe or Limbo. How great is it to be able to talk about your idols with your new favourite band, uh?!

A few pictures (we're fans too, after all ;) ) and some last few words later, we let Adam and Theo catch their train to London. As for us, we'll be seeing them again at Le Trabendo in Paris, on October 29th!


Découvrez la playlist Hurts avec Hurts

So for this great few hours with a really passionate and talented band, I'd like to thanks @cedricklohou & @eulody at @columbia_fr along with @PhunkPR & @llplemouv (Laura) for their kindness, my very stylish buddy @Tokyobanhbao and of course @Theohurts. You should follow all of them on Twitter!

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