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  • Vasili Papathanasopoulos

SPOTLIGHT ON HERMITUDE

Mirror Mountain is out now!

Image: Tatjana Hamilton


ARIA-award-winning duo Hermitude recently unveiled their seventh studio album Mirror Mountain. We caught up with the duo to unpack the release!



You’ve recently shared your latest album, Mirror Mountain. Seven albums in, you’ve been working together for over twenty years. How do you think your artistry and approach to creating has evolved throughout your career, in particular when looking at Mirror Mountain?

I think Mirror Mountain has a little slice of everything we’ve been through while still opening a new door creatively. Evolution is very important to us, we don’t like to sit still for too long, so we took this opportunity on Mirror Mountain to explore some new sounds and tempos. We stripped back our palette of tools and didn’t dwell on ideas for too long if they weren’t working. This technique really worked for us with Mirror Mountain but who knows what we’ll do for the next one!



You recorded the album in your hometown in the midst of the global pandemic and the 2020 bushfire season, so there’s this juxtaposition of the serenity of the Blue Mountains vs everything that’s going on in the world whilst you’re working on the album. How did all those factors and your environment influence the music you were creating?

I guess when you think about it, Mirror Mountain was born out of chaos you could say. It’s funny because it felt very serene at the time. The fires had burnt everything to a crisp. The world was kind of coming apart at the seams yet we had this really focused enjoyable time creating this album. I think it’s impossible to come to a place like the Blue Mountains to write music and not be influenced somehow. The albums we’ve written up here just have a certain quality that I can’t put into words, but it’s a feeling.



Could you walk us through the themes and concepts explored across the album, and the importance of documenting them within your music?

While we were writing, we didn’t want to get hung up on themes or constructs, we just wanted to let the music flow. But as the process went on, it became obvious that this album was all about coming home and rediscovering our roots. We engaged the local community as much as we could and really immersed ourselves in the mountains. We also ended up printing a little zine about the entire experience which goes into detail what was happening in our lives at the time of writing this record. It was definitely a special and unique experience unlike any other record we’ve written.



How did the album evolve throughout its creation? And do you have a particular process during writing sessions or does each song take on its own?


The bulk of the record got written in a concentrated period of about a month around March /April 2020. Then we spent the next year refining the ideas while we were working on other projects/remixes etc. Not overthinking things was part of the journey in the beginning so we tried to take that on board for the rest of the process. We never listened to the songs outside of the studio, only when we were working on them. Little changeups like this helped the whole process to feel a bit different and helped to keep us inspired.



Which three songs off the record would you choose to play to someone who had never heard your music and why?

St Claire, Promises and Golden Hour. St Claire was the first song we wrote for Mirror Mountain and kind of became the blueprint for the whole album. Promises and Golden Hour are romantically etched in my mind forever as the process of writing those tunes had some magic about them. I just remember the studio being drenched in this soft Autumn sunlight as we were working on them.



What’s one line, lyric or musical motif from the album you find at times can be stuck in your head, or one that you’re most proud of?

The cut up vocal in Promises is pretty sticky haha. I’ve had quite a few people tell me they love the song but wish they could get it out of their heads. Not sure if that’s something to be proud of lol.


You’ve performed a few headline shows on the east coast recently, will we be seeing you on a nationwide tour any time soon?

We did a mini tour to launch the album in June which was awesome fun! No plans on another headline tour at this stage but we have a few festival spots around the country so hopefully we can get to see everybody soon.



What does Mirror Mountain look like in a live setting? We changed up our whole show for this album so you’ll just have to come and see for yourself!


GET TO KNOW HERMITUDE

Biggest influences?

Quincy Jones, Tom Dowd, The Prodigy.


Dream collaboration?

James Blake

Album that has had the most impact on you?

The Experience - The Prodigy

How do you define your musical style in 3 words?

Floating Lava Toast.

Best song of 2022?

Count Me Out - Kendrick Lamar

If you could create the soundtrack for any film, which one would it be?

Big Trouble In Little China

Hannah Montana or Miley Cyrus?

Ummm

What was the first song you loved to sing?

New York New York - Frank Sinatra. There’s a cassette somewhere..

A song you would love to cover on tour?

Moments In Love - Art Of Noise 10. Album you would listen to on repeat on a road trip? More Fire - Capleton

First concert you went to?

My Dads. He played trumpet in jazz clubs when I was a kid. But I was more concerned with sliding across the dancefloor on my knees than the music.

Best concert you have been to?

Portishead. The best sound. Ever.

First album you ever bought?

I think it was Midnight Marauders by ATCQ or a Trance compilation. I can’t remember


Would you rather be a Spice Girl or a Backstreet Boy?

Backstreet Boy.

What would your street name be?

Craigend.

Most memorable show you’ve ever performed?

Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival in Tennesee. We played it in 2016 and it was very memorable.

Guilty music pleasure?

An ambient Techno compilation from the 90’s called Galaxie One.

If you could tour with any artist, who would it be?

Kanye West.

An artist you think has had the most influence on the music industry.

Beethoven.

What advice would your current self give your future self, for a year from now?

Don’t forget to shave.

The moment you knew you wanted to be a musician?

When I was writing Gabba on my Atari in High School.



Mirror Mountain is out now!


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