Interview: It Hugs Back

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Featured Story  It Hugs Back 

Written By:

Brad Kelly

18th February 2009
At 17:25 GMT

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Just recently, we were lucky enough to grab a few fleeting moments with promising up and comers It Hugs Back and with a little persuasion (if being tied up is persuasive) we got them to answer our questions.

The English quartet are currently making waves amongst listeners and critics alike with their individual, laid back, indie shoe-gaze sound and have slowly built a name for themselves through the normalities of touring and promoting.

Though 2008 was a good year for the boys, it seems 2009 could really be the year where instead of the band, the audience themselves hug back.

So please, cast your eyes downward and upon our loving interview with the band where we talk about everything from piracy to the bands future.

So, how was everybody's 2008?

Matt: Pretty good thank you. We finished the album! Eventually.

Jack: Only took a few more months than expected :)

It was a relatively big year for a lot of up and coming bands, not to mention full of brilliant releases across the genre spectrum. Who did you most enjoy last year?

Jack: I enjoyed the Fleet Foxes record a lot, but I'm not sure I listened to all that much new music. I tend to look back in time for records rather than stay up-to-date, so ask me in a few decades and I might've got round to 2008 by then.

Any bands or artists that you've met or toured with last year that you can see having a successful year?

Jack: We did a little tour with Rob Thomas in October. I think he's headed off to LA to work on some of his stuff, so hopefully he'll have a good time over there.

What about yourselves? Where do you feel you fit in with regards to new music and genre? Or are you happy to sit back and let critics and fans define what your music is or isn't?

Matt: We're very happy to sit back and encourage anyone to define what our music is or isn't and could be fitting in with regards to other new English bands, I'm not sure we do much but I don't know. I haven't heard many that share similarities but I'm sure they're out there?

A lot of new bands rise up through the musical world too quickly and end up getting promoted in a way they'd rather not, eventually being-pigeon holed into a genre that they themselves don't agree with. Have you ever seen and/or felt the pressure of rising mainstream attention creep in?

Matt: We've been careful and lucky to only work with people who support us doing what we do, so we've not had any pressures of those sort yet - it's obviously important to sell records and get people to hear them but it'd nice to achieve that by doing what comes naturally- and it's usually pretty obvious when music is over-calculated or designed to achieve a certain goal, and it's not usually very good!

Moving on to your debut album Inside Your Guitar, I'd just like to say firstly, all of us here at SG have listened to it and really like it and personally, it's a lot deeper than I expected. How did you manage to agree on a specific sound and direction for the album?

Matt: we just let it develop over the few months spent recording, new songs came up, and over time it formed itself - it was a nice way of working. I'm glad you feel it is coherent. we intentionally don't plan how things are to sound but we definitely aimed for the album to be a good listen from start to finish..

Do you ever find yourself, subconsciously or not, incorporating certain influences into your music?

Matt: definitely, we are all big music fans and record collectors!

Do you ever listen to the finished product and wish you could go back and change just one thing? What would it be if you could?

Matt: I have only just last week sat and listened to the album for the first time since mastering it as I had to write the lyrics out.. so after a 3 month break from it I am relieved to say that there is nothing I want to change!

The album release date was pushed back recently until April 6th. What was the thinking behind this?

Matt: The date worked better for 4AD (Label) with the other releases scheduled, they've put out a lot of great records this past year so we trust them!

Are you already anticipating what the feedback after the album's release will be like?

Jack: There are already reviews of the album up on different review and blog sites, which are exciting to see.

What do you want people to take from the album or the music in particular?

Jack: Apart from liking it, I'm not sure there's any particular thing I'd want people to take from the record. Half the fun is in seeing how differently different people react to it.

What are your feelings about the music industry and the problems involving piracy?

Jack: Bearing in mind that the album comes out in April, I was surprised to find torrents of the album already uploaded in December. It was nice to think that people wanted to hear the record, but I wonder how many people who downloaded it will actually buy the record.

So after the album is out and purchasable, what's next for It Hugs Back? Any festivals you'd like to do this year?

Matt: From next week we're touring quite a bit, and more is being booked.. and we'll be travelling out of the UK for the first time which is very exciting. Festivals are a strange experience to play.. you go knowing the sound is going to be terrible and the gig is often too early in the day but despite that there is something exciting there still.. getting to see some of the other bands is also good plus.. it'd be nice to go back to Bestival, and End of the Road, they're both great festivals..

Are there any preferences within the band of either touring or recording? Which of the two do you each find more enjoyable?

Matt: Although I have recently enjoyed touring, and appreciate the adventure of it and how much better we get playing together every day, I would be in a studio all the time if possible.

Jack: Recording has always been my favourite, but playing live is certainly catching up. The more touring we do, the more I enjoy it. I'm really looking forward to playing some gigs overseas.


It Hugs Back will release their debut album Inside Your Guitar on 6th of April, with the single 'Now + Again' (shown below) out on March 2nd.


It Hugs Back: Official Site / MySpace

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