Fortress Of Hermitude

24 March 2012 | 10:24 am | Staff Writer

‘Fuck it – just keep writing it and see where you end up!’

More Hermitude More Hermitude

Luke Dubs (aka Luke Dubber) is a laidback dude. Growing up in the musically and traditionally fertile grounds ofthe Blue Mountains sure has had an influence on his style and the music that he has created with fellow Blue Mountains ex-resident Elgusto (aka Angus Stuart). More recently the group have been experimenting with some different sounds, and diverging from their more subtle, almost humble beats. The results have seen some incredible things happen for the group.

Lead single Speak Of The Devil has become a summer smash, and its success is a direct result of the group thinking outside what they usually do, getting bolder, and owning it. It was actually one of the first tracks penned for the album. “When we first wrote it we were a little bit kind of afraid of it,” Dubber laughs. “We thought it was really quite poppy compared to the kind of stuff that we'd done in the past. As the album started to take shape it really found its place within everything. We finished the track and it was obvious that it was the first standout single, but we had absolutely no idea how popular it would be – it took everyone by surprise. It's been soaring to new heights and taking us with it!”

He laughs as he completes this sentence, but it's obvious that the track has opened up the group to a much larger audience than they had anticipated. For an act who are basically instrumental, bar the occasional guest MC, the fact that the song resonated with so many people is a testament to the idea that instrumental music in general is finding an easier way into the mainstream consciousness. Also, not over-thinking and trying to stay within the boundaries of any one particular style has added extra layers to the track, making it just as musically successful as it has been with audiences.

“It's a funny track, Speak Of The Devil, in the sense that we don't really know what kind of style it is,” Dubber ponders.  “Like, it's kind of hip hop, but it's kind of dance, but it's kind of big beat – we couldn't really put our finger on it. It has this throbbing bassline as well that's this almost dubstep kind of thing. It was a bit of a mixed bag, that track, and maybe that's why it's got its appeal.

Don't miss a beat with our FREE daily newsletter

“Writing instrumental music is an interesting thing,” he offers when quizzed about the different way you approach a song that isn't going to necessarily feature a vocalist. “You have to come up with all the hooks and all the choruses completely instrumentally. All the big lines that people like to sing along with the lyrics, you have to try and entice them to hum along with melodies because we don't have that lyrical thing for people to grasp onto. Instrumental music obviously isn't what you hear on the radio a hell of a lot, because people want to sing along with words. We really set out with this record to kind of try and write really strong melodic hooks to try and keep people intrigued with the music by using those kind of big melodies. It's why we used a lot of bigger melodies and bigger sounds on the record. We wanted to be a bit more bold and less afraid to just go for something.

“That was the main ethos for the record; we wanted to go off in different directions regardless of what we thought of it at the time. Sometimes we wrote things and we were like, 'Oh, that's pretty cheesy, we better delete that and go back to doing what we normally do', but I think having that different kind of mentality allowed us to come up with tracks like Speak Of The Devil, and it's something that we've never really delved into in the past. We knew at the time it was kind of cheesy but we were also really digging it as well, so we were like , 'Fuck it – just keep writing it and see where you end up!' and that attitude I think really allowed us to stretch out and come up with some interesting music.”

The duo set up a permanent space to really get themselves into the headspace of being able to write their album, and record when the inspiration hit them. Even though it was slow going in the beginning, once they found their feet and worked out what directions they wanted the album to take the songs started pouring out of them, especially as the deadline approached. “At the start of the year we would have a good day and then maybe a week or even two weeks where there was nothing. Nothing was sounding very good and it was like, 'Fuck! I hope we get something soon!”

Once things started coming together, Dubber says the process of writing just got easier and faster. Two of the album's most interesting tracks actually were born in the eleventh hour of the recording sessions. “The last few months were mayhem,” he recalls. “Seven days a week, day and night. By the end of the year we were in such a rhythm, it was really easy to write. There were a couple of tracks that just made the cut – All Of You and The Villain were actually written about two weeks before the end of the recording. We had everything written and we knew we were missing some energy tracks. We're really good at writing chilled-out tunes but we wanted to have some more banging tracks on there. We realised we just didn't have all of the new record we wanted, so we wrote those two in two days, and over the rest of the week we wrote another four tracks that didn't make the record, but there's some really good ones as well that were left over.”

The duo are in full swing rehearsing for their upcoming tour, one which will no doubt see them win over even more fans when they get a chance to see what they do. They're adding something else to their usual onstage visual display to give punters a better chance to work out what's going on. “We've got visuals being made up for the tour at the moment by Matt Innes, who's a Melbourne lad, who did visuals for us before,” Dubber tells. “Plus we're gonna have some cameras so people actually get an idea of what the hell it is we actually do. I think a lot of people just kind of stare at us. They see us doing stuff but I don't think they actually know what it is that we're doing. The cameras will make it a lot easier.”


God's worst enemy cops a mention in plenty of contemporary music, not least in Hermitude's breakout hit, Speak Of The Devil.

The Rolling Stones – Sympathy For The Devil: First appearing on The Stones' 1968 album Beggars Banquet, it rocked in at #32 on the band's namesake magazine's 500 Greatest Songs Of All Time. It features composer and vocalist Mick Jagger playing the roll of Satan himself, focusing on the many atrocities over man's existence. The song also played up to many religious groups' beliefs that The Stones weren't averse to a little Satanism on the side.

AC/DC – Highway To Hell: The opening track from the 1979 album of the same name was basically a reference to their intense touring schedule over the previous years, and was also the final album AC/DC wrote with Bon Scott before his untimely death only six months after the song's release.

Charlie Daniels Band – The Devil Went Down To Georgia: Released on the band's 1979 album Million Mile Reflections, the song is almost spoken word in its story about a young chap named Jonny, who is challenged by the Devil to a battle of fiddle playing. Jonny wins a golden fiddle for his triumph, and dares the devil to return for a re-match at anytime.

Beck – Devil's Haircut: From his 1996 album Odelay, in this song Beck basically details giving up trying to do anything different and just jumping on the commercial, material and greed bandwagon, i.e. getting the Devil's haircut.

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah – Satan Said Dance: Track five on CYHSY's 2007 album Some Loud Thunder is open to many interpretations, the easiest of which has been the song is what it is. Satan pretty much offering a version of Hell where he just asks you to dance, a lot, until you fall down.

There's obviously hundreds more, and we're not even gonna get into Satanic Backmasking…