7 QUESTIONS; ..with incredible electronic duo Hitchcock.
Matt Droog and Andy Huckvale make devastatingly powerful electronic music and are renowned for their thrilling live shows.
Debut album Running From The Sane is released tomorrow and promises to be one of the year's most exciting records.
Droog is a respected producer, having worked with The Enemy and Boy Kill Boy, while Huckvale has previously worked with producers Charlie Clouser (Nine Inch Nails) and Tchad Blake (Peter Gabriel).
The album seems to have been a long time in the making - how has it been? Andy: It's definitely been a journey. When we first started we were coming at the music from different angles and playing with a lot of ideas. We've come to a point where we have our own sound and the tracks feel ready. Matt: It has been one of the most creatively informative experiences I have had. The songwriting and production processes took so many different turns, each song went through four or five guises, some songs were scrapped for a few months before making their way back. Saying that, it was never contrived, we were just blessed not to be hindered by a budget and A&R people. We could experiment in every way possible. How has the music developed since the early stuff in 2009? Andy: The early days were more about putting together musical sketches to allow Matt to get the right vocal down. As time has gone on, the vocals have mostly remained unchanged but the music has evolved as my production skills have moved on and we've tried to make an album that has a thread running through it. Matt: The music has almost come full circle. If you look at songs like Katie, which was one of the first we wrote, and then look at Blind Side, the last written for the album, you can almost see what I mean. We went through a more upbeat and energetic phase of writing with the singles like Villain and Never Said A Word but returned to what Andy and I refer to as the Organic sound by the end. You've been honing your live skills with lots of shows - has that had an impact? Andy: We've always wanted the live show to have a dance floor vibe, where the songs could flow into each other, rather than stop and start like a normal rock gig. There's a lot of tempos going on, but we've made it work with this year's shows and we've managed to draw people in a lot more, the way a DJ plays with the flow of the music to suit the mood of the crowd. Being in the studio can make you feel like you're working 'in a box' a lot, so it's been good to play the tracks live and then come back to them in the studio from a different angle. We may add some more live instrumentation or just crank up the sound to capture the energy we get on stage.
Matt: Despite being an electronic band, to all intents and purposes, I really loved how the songs developed organically from the live performances. A traditional guitar band will always benefit musically through that process, but a lot of electronic bands develop in the studio or in someone's bedroom. You see trends in your set, certain songs seem to really get the audiences fired up and you take those 'moments' back into the studio.
Have you achieved what you set out to do? Andy: To be honest, we didn't really have an MO in mind when we got together. We just wanted to make music and see what happened. The only thing we set out to do was to make an album that worked from start to finish, that took you somewhere else like the albums we grew up listening to.
Matt: That's the wonderful thing about this band, it was a happy accident. Over the last two years we have gained ambition and goals, but almost half of the album was written when Andy and I were just writing for our own amusement. There was never any intention to even play live, especially as Andy had just spent five years touring America. I can say I am 100 per cent happy with the album, it's work I will always be proud of. The stage seems pretty well set for you, given the mainstream love of fairly eclectic dance influences - are you hoping to do a Nero and cross over as the year's big success? Andy: I'm not that clued up on Nero, but I heard they wanted to create something similar to Vangelis' Blade Runner soundtrack. We're also trying to create something cinematic, that paints a picture, but also when you pull it apart the songs work as pop songs on their own. Dance music is gaining as much space in the charts as it did in the mid 90s, so I look forward to hearing new and interesting acts, and hopefully we can be part of that. Matt: I loved that Nero record, it was the soundtrack to my summer. I don't listen to much electronic music and only get drawn to stuff that has song sensibility and a good old rock and roll dynamic.
But, like The Prodigy's Music For a Jilted Generation, the Nero album really excited me. If our album did that to people I would feel hugely satisfied. What's the plan for the year - any Scottish shows yet? Matt: Touring will definitely be a large part to support Running From The Sane. During the artwork process, we became really inspired by the artist Andy Christopher and are working on incorporating the album sleeves theme into the show. We start rehearsals soon and the first shows are in February.
I have always loved playing in Scotland, T in the Park was really quite special. I think that all of the live dates will be going up on the website in the next few weeks.
Debut... Matt Doog and Andy Huckvale release their first Hitchcock, album tomorrow