Hurts tell us about dark new single ‘Voices’: “We’ve gone back to the essence of who we are”

Frontman Theo Hutchcraft on what to expect from new material and how blind therapy and living with an octopus has inspired him.

Hurts have marked their return with the slick new single ‘Voices’, which frontman Theo Hutchcraft said was driven by the “darker elements of pop”.

Having been teasing fans online for the past few weeks, the Manchester synth-pop duo today (Friday May 15) shared their first new material since 2017’s “personal pop album” ‘Desire’. Following the brighter sounds of their last record, Theo Hutchcraft and Adam Anderson have sought to return to their pop-noir roots.

“We wanted to get back to essence of what we do and who we are,” frontman Hutchcraft told NME. “We had to fall in love with the type of music we originally set out to make. We’ve always been drawn in by the darker elements of pop music.”

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With the lyrics inspired by “isolation, desperation and mania”, Hutchcraft said that the themes behind ‘Voices’ had become “oddly prescient” in the wake of the coronavirus lockdown.

“The last few years have been all over the place for the pair of us,” he said. “I was desperate to get that type of sentiment out. It’s a strange and paranoid pop song, which isn’t something that you hear very often. It’s looking at how the mind can be both a force for good and a force for evil. A lot of our music is very emotionally raw but there are depths we’ve yet to mine. ‘Voices’ is probably as raw as a sentiment gets for me. It’s something I never really felt able to write about for a while. I hope people see that and it brings them closer to who we are.”

He continued: “It’s an odd time to release it, but it feels good because there’s a message in the song that is hopeful. It’s about having the power to change and deal with those things. Hopefully people can find that in it.”

Hurts are teasing new material. Credit: Still

Hutchcraft promised that more new music would be released in the months ahead, following on ‘Voices’ with similar themes of “of introspection and soul-searching”. While working on their new record, Hutchcraft said that he found new ways to overcomes “psychological issues through a turbulent time”.

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“I started to use blind therapy, where you where a blindfold to deprive yourself of sight for certain periods of time to stimulate your other senses,” he told NME. “You have to live as blind. It opens up your mind’s eye and you get a little more creative. You start for an hour, then build up to half a day, two days, and you come out the other end in a daze. It weirdly helped and got me back on track.

“It’s been a strange time, because I spent the first two weeks of lockdown living with an octopus in my house. I’ve got a friend who does research on the consciousness and behaviour of octopuses and asked me if I would have one in my house so it could interact with a human being while the lab was shut, so I set one up in my living room next to my TV. It was called Arnold after Schwarzenegger because it was the strongest in the group.

He went on: “It was fun and fascinating. I had to play games with it and feed it. So I had an isolation friend for two weeks before it went back to the lab and then we were just working after that. They’re extremely intelligent, they’re like aliens. They have some sort of sentience and consciousness that is sort of like our own. I didn’t see anyone else for two weeks, just me and Arnold the octopus. There was an intense bond I wouldn’t have developed otherwise.”

As for clues on what’s to come, Hutchcraft said that fans should keep an eye on their socials for more ‘puzzles’ on the band’s channel on Telegram.

“People are bored, so we thought it would be good to give people some kind of challenge to engage with each other – especially as our fans are spread out all over the world,” said Hutchcraft. “We created that puzzle because we wanted to give people a sense of how it feels to be going round and round inside your head. I wanted people to feel that over-analytical process that you have when you go through mania.”

More news on Hurts’ fifth album is expected in the coming months.

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