Hurts’ Theo Hutchcraft discusses his friendship and collaboration with The Courteeners’ Liam Fray

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Find out what happens when you combine years of friendship, The Strokes, and drunkenly singing on a skip

Hurts frontman Theo Hutchcraft has discussed his years of friendship with The Courteeners‘ Liam Fray – and how a drunken sing-along by a skip led to them collaborating.

Hutchcraft not only leant backing vocals to fellow Manchester natives Courteeners’ new single ‘Modern Love‘, but also co-wrote it with Hurts’ bandmate Adam Anderson.

“We’ve been friends since we were 18 years old, so about 11-12 years now,” Hutchcraft told NME. “We’ve known each other since before either of us were in bands and we used to go to the same clubs and get in the same trouble, things like that. We’ve had a friendship for such a long time and I love The Courteeners, I think they’re just so brilliant.

“Not only have they got great memories for me, but I just think their success and their story is so extraordinary. If you’ve ever been to one of their gigs, they’re one of the best live experiences I’ve ever had. I went to see them at Brixton Academy and there were people singing their songs in every single pub in Brixton, and on the tube home. It’s just amazing, I just think they’re real national treasures, really, that mean so much to so many people.”

Quizzed on how ‘Modern Love’ came to be, Hutchcraft told NME: “We always write all sorts of different types of music really. We’ve got shelves of music that we pitch and save. With ‘Modern Love’, we had a day in the studio and we wanted to try and write a song that sounded a bit like The Strokes, a bit like Pulp, a bit like those bands that we love. We did that one, and it was a song that we could never really do justice. It was a song with a purpose, and we just sort of sat on it for a while, and we thought, ‘look, we both loved it so much at the time’ and we were always a bit sad that it couldn’t really fit on one of our records.

“Then Joe Cross, who is the Courteeners’ bassist and producer, he heard it and he absolutely loved it. Then Liam and I went and got very very drunk one night and he climbed on a skip, and sung it for me. He serenaded me from on top of a skip and I instantly just knew that it was perfect. I was almost like ‘it’s your song, it’s not really my song anymore. You can do whatever you want with it because that’s what it was intended for’.

Hutchcraft added: “We had a very heated and close heart-to-heart discussion sat next to a skip and we decided that would be it. He changed the words and they made it their own and they pretty much brought it to life. I don’t even really identify with it as my song really, it’s their song. I’ve seen them play it live and it’s just a magical moment, really. So it was a great thing to be part of, I’m really proud of it.”

Asked if he might join the band on stage to perform sing it together at The Courteeners’ upcoming homecoming Old Trafford gig, Hutchcraft replied: “Oh god, all those Courteeners fans, who knows! I mean, it would be fun, but like I said, he’s the king it’s their song so you know.  I prefer to be in the audience, watching people throwing flares and on each other’s shoulders to it. That’s the magic to me.”

Speaking of the collaboration, Fray told NME: “‘Modern Love’ is the first time we’ve written a song with other people. It was a co-write with the guys from Hurts, Theo and Adam. We’ve know them for over 10 years and have a pretty good friendship. They sent our producer a song, and they didn’t like it. It was very ‘them’ – a bit ’80s but full on. But I was like ‘fuckin’ hell, I love this track’.

“I spoke to them about it and they were like ‘do you what you want with it, really’. So I got my grubby mits on it, changed the lyrics, we put some lead guitar lines in there and luckily they loved it and said ‘let’s go’. I’d love to work with them again. We’re always talking so who knows?”

The Courteeners with support from Blossoms, The Charlatans and Cabbage will perform Manchester’s Emirates Old Trafford LCCC on Saturday 27 May.