Leading up to a dope set that propelled an epic Thursday night, we caught up with the Aussie duo Hermitude to talk about how they’d arrived at their first Bonnaroo. The pair had just landed in Tennessee shortly beforehand, but the hours of travel didn’t seem to phase them as they appeared to be quite energized and enthusiastic. It’s no small wonder that their set, featuring some amazing hip-hop infused electronica, ended up being a fitting opening to an incredible weekend.
What attracted you to a festival like Bonnaroo?
El Gusto – We heard a lot about Bonnaroo, I mean even back in Australia before we were coming over here, Bonnaroo was one of those festivals you just hear about. Its really cool to actually get here and see what it’s all about and experience the vibe, so yeah its dope.
Bringing it back to influences, what did you guys grow up on? What really inspired you to start your creative process?
Luke Dubs – We listened to a lot of hip-hop coming up as kids. And then we listened to a bit of electronic music as well like coming out of the UK, like Prodigy, Portishead, DJ Crush and DJ Shadow and that kind of stuff in the early days, and then as time went on we kind of like started listening to a lot of the LA beat scene stuff like Flying Lotus, Sam I Am and all those guys. Gas Lamp Killer, some Mohawk. We also listen to a lot of different kinds of music, you know? We listen to lot of blues and a lot of Jazz; Reggae. We’re massive Capleton fans. So it’s a pretty diverse kind of mix of stuff that we listen to. There’s always gold in all genres, I believe.
So you have all these influences and all these people you draw from. But when you really sit down and start working on something, do you find that there’s a habit or something that gets you in the zone?
El Gusto: A lot of times we kind of get into the studio and we kind of start with some like chords or maybe like just trying to find a unique synth sound, that we can sort of draw some inspiration from. We collect a lot of old analogue synths, so we just recently in the studio set up this “Vibe Station” we call it. We’ve got all our analogue synths in there. And we’ve got a patch bay with a bunch of effects that we can just plug into different synths. So we just kind of go in there for a little while and just vibe out, find some cool sounds. And then when once start getting something we hit the record button and start recording that and that’s usually where we start.
Would you say there’s a moment where the instinct hits you and you just know to start recording?
El Gusto: Yeah, one of us will be playing and the other will be sitting back listening and just chillin out or whatever and then be like “That’s really dope, keep doing that!”
Luke Dubs: Sometimes it pays to always be recording as well because sometimes something really great can come out, and it can go as quickly as it comes.
El Gusto: Yeah, quite often mistakes are awesome.
Does the process change when you are collaborating with someone else?
Luke Dubs: When we’re collaborating, we usually already have an idea that’s a bit developed that we kind of come with. Then we come together on that and work on it more and turn it into something. There are sometimes where we work from scratch, which can be a little bit harder, because you’ve gotta have a spark right away. Quite often when you collaborate with someone, everyone is on a bit of a timeframe, so you don’t have as much time to fuck around so, its good to have like some solid ideas to begin with. But every now and then when the flame is there, it just comes out really quickly and then all of a sudden you’ve got a really great idea in like a half an hour and then you can build upon it. It definitely changes from session to session.
I’m sure it can be different with people coming from their own place creatively; and you kind of have to gauge that.
El Gusto: Yeah, and like we often say, sometimes you’re in the studio with random people who have been maybe picked up through a record label or whatever. It can be a bit like a blind date. So you’re just never really sure what’s gonna happen or what the chemistry will be like. Sometimes it’s a gamble, but it’s really fun.
What would you have someone walk away from your set feeling?
El Gusto: I would just want people to walk away feeling like “That was really fun and enjoyable.” I don’t know, just take away a really good memory from the festival and from our set and the experience we had together.
Luke Dubs: Just driving in here was really beautiful. We were just commenting on how lush the trees are. We come from this place back home called the Blue Mountains and it looks nothing like this but there’s just trees and brush everywhere. Thousands of miles of scrub. Its really cool to see this place, get a bit of the vibe and play here.