Hurts frontman Theo Hutchcraft has spoken out about their powerful and dramatic new single and video for ‘Beautiful Ones’ – saying that it’s rallying cry against the ‘increasingly conservative and oppressive times’ of 2017.
The Manchester synth-pop duo returned last week with ‘a celebration of individuality’ in the form of ‘Beautiful Ones’ – featuring a video written and co-directed by Hutchcraft himself. The clip shows the bloodied singer running someone over in an alleyway. Then the timeline reverses to tell the tale of how he came to be chased and assaulted for being dressed as a woman in a nightclub – shining a light on gender fluidity dealing with “themes of hate, love, brutality, beauty, intrigue and empathy”.
It’s a call for unity during a time when society has rarely been more divided.
“While writing it and making the video, it’s became a personal reflection of that,” Hutchcraft told NME. “It just feels like we’re living in increasingly more conservative and oppressive times – and that’s not the world I want to live in. A lot of people feel the same, and I think it’s important with music to give people – I’ve always believed that music is a good way to provide an escape, I don’t feel it should be too tied to a popular narrative.”
He continued: “Not only do we feel like outsiders at times, but since we started we’ve just been like the black sheep at awards shows or wherever we go. The fans we meet, the people we encounter, the people we’re friends – they are always those kind of people. You can see that in them when you meet them – but they’re perhaps a little shy or a little afraid to be themselves. I just think it’s important that it’s celebrated. Those are the people that change the world, those are the people that are important. So it’s just a matter of believing, you know?”
Speaking about his inspiration behind the video, Hutchcraft revealed: “We’ve always liked the idea of making ‘moments’, songs married with visuals. I felt like the most powerful way to show how important that individuality is, is to show what people have to go through just to be themselves. It’s a liberty that a lot of people take for granted. It’s devastating that we live in a world where people can’t just be themselves because there str aggressors and oppressors that try to stop them.
“I hope people take away a positive from it. There are a lot of people that don’t get up once they’re knocked down. There are a lot of people that don’t feel like they’ve got the strength. The video shows that they are strong and a forced to be reckoned with. It has redemption. At the end you’re left with this vision of what people are like, and the positivity and the love that surrounds them in those safe environments where people can be themselves.”
When asked about the world’s reaction to the video, Hutchcraft said that he was ‘touched and inspired’ by its open-minded reception – especially by a more liberal younger generation.
The younger generation of people, because they’re so interconnected and so exposed to different ways of life and different people and different ideas, they’re increasingly more socialist and sociable. They seem to react to it in a really positive way and, it was hard to know when we did it what the reaction would be – but particularly amongst our young fans, there has been a lot of support. There would have been a time in the past where it wouldn’t be accepted so easily, because it confronts something that a lot of people either don’t want to know exists and happens, or just dismiss outright. I’ve loved that it seems to have touched and resonated with people, because it’s something that I really care about, it means a lot.”
And what about Hutchcraft’s own experience of dressing as a woman?
“It was the first time, but you’d be surprised that once the outfit comes on, how comfortable you can be, how much you’ve probably learned from women in the past,” he told NME. “But it was a great experience, it was really fun and enlightening. I’ve always been very admiring of drag queens, I’ve always found them fascinating, very powerful and just very punk, very punk and rebellious. Just how much courage and guts really it takes to be that person in public and confront people’s prejudice head on, I find it absolutely fascinating and brilliant. And to be that and be 6’7”, 6’8” towering in high heels is a very satisfying feeling!”
- Check back soon for more of our interview with Theo Hutchcraft