Charly caught up with Luke Dubber aka Dubs of Australia's much loved hip hop outfit Hermitude to talk about their upcoming performances at Parklife, music experimentation, sampling, the Tom Tom Crew and much more...
Festival season is fast approaching and you guys have found yourselves on the Parklife line-up. Are you looking forward to the festival?
Hells yeah! It's a great line up this year and we're honoured to be a part of it. We wanna catch a few acts like Plan B and The Presets and Labrinth as well so we're pretty excited!
As musicians you have traversed a few genres both with Hermitude and on other musical adventures. Do you think all of your different experiments have made you better musicians?
I hope so...haha. I think every musical endeavour you set upon helps to build you as an all round better musician. We've been writing a lot over the last year with HyperParadise and beyond and it's a constant learning process so the more you do of it the better.
Do you bring all of the experience of different genres to your beat making now?
Definitely. When you play in a different band or go and see an electronic act or whatever the case may be, it rubs off on you and you can draw upon it when you sit down to write again. Whether it's a particular rhythm or a new chord progression that you learn or hear, it usually pops up in one of your songs shortly after.
You were really the first Australian band to do live beat performances. Was it nerve wracking to get up there and do something so different, in a country that very much loved its pub rock at the time?
The main concern we had in the beginning was how the hell we're we going to fit all of our equipment on stage! We brought half of our studio to shows in the beginning because we didn't know how to do it any other way. This was in the days before Serato existed too so the whole set came off a DAT player. But yeah, aside from that it was a whole new experience for us. We'd come from a band background so standing on stage behind a bunch of electronic gear was pretty daunting.
Sampling is something that pretty much every beat maker uses. How much of an impact has the Internet had on the art of sampling?
A massive impact. When we started out we never went near the internet for samples. Everything came off vinyl. Now you can comb the web for torrents of pretty much anything so the obscure sound your looking for is only a few clicks away... if you have the patience.
Are you in the same headspace when you create beats for other bands as when you do for Hermitude? Or does each track and each band need a different approach?
It's always different. Even in Hermitude each song has a different feel and approach. We try and change up the way we write all the time so it doesn't get stale, but it's hard to do.
Hermitude often feature different producers of different tracks. How important is to find the right producer for each track?
Sorry, not too sure what you mean by this one. We produce all our own music. We feature different vocalists from time to time if that’s what you mean?
You’re signed to the Herd’s label Elefant Traks, and there are a number of other Hip Hop acts in Australia that have started labels too. As the industry starts to diversify more do you think we’ll see more and more of this happening?
I suppose so. There are a lot of artists releasing their music independently or starting up their own labels and I think it's a real positive thing because a label run by artists knows exactly how to treat their own artists on their label so the label can really focus on what’s important for their roster because they have the experience themselves.
As a band Hermitude always seem to be able to go off and do their own thing for a while but then some back like nothing has happened. How big a comfort if that freedom to both of you?
It's important in any band but especially in a duo to not only focus on the time you have together but also the time you have apart. Having that break at the right time can reignite the fire that might have been lacking and preventing you writing some dope beats.
You’ve spent a bit of time with the Tom Tom Crew. How different were those performances to a Hermitude show?
It's a completely different show but it was an amazing experience for me. We played about 90 shows in 4 months through about 5 countries in Europe so it was non stop and such a buzz! They we're a great family to tour with and we all forged some long lasting relationships and to watch those acrobats fly off the teeterboard onto each others shoulders night after night was truly inspiring, especially with the amount of partying that was going on in between.
Having entered the industry before the worldwide explosion of the internet, how much do you think it has impacted the industry?
It goes without saying that it's had a huge impact. Promotion, sales… it's a totally different game now than when we first started. It's an amazing tool and it allows us to connect with all of our fans wherever they are on so many different mediums. They can hear about our gig on twitter, watch a video that someone filmed of it on Facebook, then see what we had for breakfast the next morning on instagram.
Do you think the internet has had a negative or positive impact on you as band?
Positive for sure. We've been able to grow and reach so many more people now. I also think it forces you to be creative in different ways to be seen or heard because as we all know there's so much music going on in Australia and around the world, you really have to think of new ways to break through.
How much have you seen the music industry itself change over your time involved?
It's constantly changing but so is the music and also the means of how people hear it. It's hard to keep up with but I think it's important to be fully aware of all the possible ways to get your music released and heard and if you have records out then try and be across all the mediums it can be bought or streamed on. I'm obviously much more interested in the creative side of the music industry but whether we like it or not, we're all musicians running a business and we need to be as informed as we can.
NSW has been dealing with venue problems for more than a decade now, and it seems we lose another venue every month. What can bands to combat this problem?
It's cyclic. I've seen so many venues fall by the wayside but I've also seen so many new ones pop up. I don't think you can get too down on the scene when a venue closes. It's always sad to see a room where you saw so much great music close down but it's only going to be a matter of time before another great one comes along. There's been some positive steps for Sydney in recent years to make it easier for venues to get live music licenses compared to 10 years ago. I think if a band has a got some strong songs written and a great show, they'll find a room to play at. If there’s anything you’d like to add this is the place to do it.
Come and get down with us at Parklife, we can't wait to get peoples bodies movin'!
Hermitude playing Parklife 2012, visit http://www.parklife.com.au/ for tickets and info.