by: Sami Weisband
May 7, 2022
Three years have passed since Australian beatmakers Hermitude turned in their fourth studio album, Polyanarchy. Following their mid-2000s smash hits like “The Buzz,” as well as the foundational track behind Flume’s smashing “HyperParadise” remix from the duo’s freshman album of the same title, their 2019 LP burst through the electronic zeitgeist, showing off even deeper range from the already dexterous duo. Spending time in Los Angeles with a heap of vocal collaborators, from the likes of Vory to Vic Mensa, Hermitude’s Angus Stuart and Luke Dubber took a leap inward, and come 2022, the pair have unabashedly unlocked another side of their ever-evolving sound. Intentionally stripping their sound back to their small town roots in the Blue Mountains of Australia on their new album Mirror Mountain, Hermitude clearly have more to say on their new LP, and Dancing Astronaut was there to pick the group’s brains about it.
“We kind of were like, ‘You know we’ve done like a lot of collaborating recently. Let’s just get back to us and who we are, and kind of almost how we started,’ which was in the Blue Mountains,” recalls Stuart, otherwise known by his own moniker, El Gusto. Drafting up a plan to decidedly retrace their steps back to their hometown, the two decided it was time to take a break, isolate, and work on their craft…right at the beginning of 2020—call that good timing. Stuart imparts,
“We just came up and we started writing, but it was literally at the same time as the world seemed to kind of grind to a halt…We all of a sudden had all the time in the world to just sit around and create.”
Employing an audaciously minimal setup, which included one synth, one laptop, and one single Moog Matriarch, the duo strapped in at Stuart’s home in the hills and fell back into old habits of levity and experimentation. “We were just having fun making tunes and not really thinking about anything too much, just creating,” says El Gusto. Dubber then adds,
“The title of the album, ‘Mirror Mountain’ was born from the theory, that it’s like a reflection. A reflection of ourselves after all this time, since we had started.”
The eight-track output contains a multitude of auditory experiences, merging Dubber and Stuart’s first-rate production design with two electrifying collaborations, ultimately setting Hermitude on a brand new sonic voyage that simultaneously harkens to the duo’s rich, decorated past.
Stuart details their process, explaining, “We always try and move forward with our albums…We’d always had a couple of collaborations on each record, but Polyanarchy was a [mainly] vocal album.” Shifting from a vocally-focused excursion on their new endeavor, some redefining of the pair’s usual comfort zone was in order. Stuart adds, “We stepped up the tempo, which was different for us. ‘Mirror Mountain’ is actually quite up-tempo. It’s the most up-tempo record we’ve written.”
Uniting with only two outside artists, the Aussie authorities pulled Sam Hales of indie-rock band The Jungle Giants for “When You Feel Like This,” and local Blue Mountain musician Andie on the exuberant “Promises.” Both tracks, released as pre-album singles, ooze with sanguine vocals against effervescent production work. Says Dubber, “‘When You Feel Like This,’” featuring Sam, it was like the positive pinnacle of the album.”
Finally able to hit the road again to perform their latest works, Hermitude has been busy playing shows and bopping around their homeland while gearing up for an international tour that will reportedly land around the end of June. Over the course of the last few years since Polyanarchy, the pair have been relentless in their evolution both as producers and as people. Concludes Dubber,
“It was like looking in the mirror, sometime into the future, and realizing this journey that we’ve been on, but also encompassing what we had done in the past and just moving forward from there,”
And with this fifth studio album, forward they undoubtedly stride. Stream Hermitude’s latest LP, Mirror Mountian below and stay tuned for impending tour dates to come.
Featured image: Courtesy of press
Categories: Features, Music