Interview by: James Rickets
We catch-up with Jen & Jon from Hurtling and talk sound manifestos, grabbing moments to write for writing, while travelling across the mind-blowing expanse of America. Recording at the fabulous Onecat Studios in Brixton and everything that went into creating their gallant debut album Future from Here. We talk about how the sounds on the album came to fruition and what frontwoman Jen Macro looks forward to most about touring and how it all came together.
GigSlutz: Firstly, How did you all meet? And what is the story behind the inception of Hurting?
Jon: Jen and I met while studying music many years ago and have been in a number of bands together. We met Simon through mutual friends and found a shared musical vision.
‘I WANTED THERE TO BE A SENSE OF WILD ABANDON‘
GigSlutz: Your single ‘Summer’ has just been released. What’s the story behind the track? Was it a difficult one to create?
Jen: Musically it wasn’t difficult, it all just came together quite naturally with all three of us playing in a room. Lyrics are always harder, I wanted there to be a sense of ‘wild abandon’ in the choruses – there’s not much to it, just about being good to oneself and accepting of each other. It’s a feelgood song, except I don’t do feelgood songs.
GigSlutz: The video for ‘Summer’ really captures the essence of suburban existence. Was that intentional?
Jen: Erm, if that makes me look big and clever then yes, totally intentional. But really the footage was just from vistas of London that caught my eye and lasted long enough for me to whip out my iPhone.
GigSlutz: Can you give us a little insight into how the creative process works? How do you develop your ideas?
Jon: The majority of the songs are written by Jen and then arranged by the three of us together. Some are different, ‘Summer’, for example, came from a riff Jen found in rehearsal, which we improvised with and developed the song together.
GigSlutz: There are some awe-inspiring guitar and drum tones on the album. How did you go about capturing these and portraying them so effectively?
Jon: Thanks! We all worked on sounds during the writing and rehearsal stages, so as a recording engineer I had a grasp of what we were aiming for. For the sessions, we had all the amps serviced, and even got new power supplies for the pedal boards to get as much clarity as possible. We rehearse in my studio, so it’s a comfortable place, and we were able to concentrate on the performances.
GigSlutz: You are a live act that packs a punch. What has been your most memorable show to date?
Jen: Supporting Say Sue Me at the Lexington, they are a great band with a beautiful sound, and their audience was warm and inviting for us too.
‘THE SONGS THAT WE THOUGHT WERE COMPLETE AND UNCHANGEABLE, ACTUALLY DEVELOP‘
GigSlutz: Future from Here is due out on October 18 via Onomatopoeia. What were your inspirations behind the album?
Jen: I was definitely listening to a lot of darker edged female guitarists while I was on the road. A few of the songs on Future From Here got written while I was on tour in the US, the country’s expanse blew me away. I bought a second hand acoustic at the start of that leg of the tour and sold it off at the end in New York, but it meant anytime I couldn’t sleep, or was a bit on my own, I could write – I think that shaped the music a bit.
GigSlutz: What is your favourite track from the album and why?
Jon: For me it has to be Alone, absolutely love the vocal performance and backing vocal arrangement that Jen came up with.
GigSlutz: Is that also your favourite track to play live?
Jon: Nope, probably it’s our least favourite as it is so quiet and exposed. Live favourite has to be Summer– cos we get to go really noisy!
GigSlutz: I understand you recorded and produced the album yourselves? What was the experience like?
Jon: It was a great experience. As an engineer, I have recorded with both Jen and Simon on other projects, but with this album, we intended to keep the overdubs to a minimum so getting good sounds and performance at the start was the manifesto. And I loved the challenge.
As there is only one guitar and one bass, I was able to treat them as two equal instruments, and get big bass sounds from the guitar that normally have to be removed to leave space for others, and also let the bass become the focus of the melody in some parts. Plus, I got to make a drum sound I’ve always wanted.
I’m always getting ideas from other drummers, both when I record them, of just watching them at a gig, in terms of technique and adjusting the drum set to find different tones and was really excited to put some of those tricks into action!
Jen: It was a joy, Jon is the best and his studio Onecat is our spiritual home.
GigSlutz: You have a few more shows coming up this year. What is it that you love the most about touring?
Jon: The best bit for me about touring is that after a couple of shows, when the first night nerves are dealt with, the songs, which we thought were complete and unchangeable, actually develop, and we find new bits to bring out which we didn’t even realise were there.
Jen: Warm beer and pringles.
GigSlutz: What does the future look like for Hurtling?
Jon: In terms of music, exciting, we learnt a lot making Future From Here, we have some good ideas waiting for a time to develop them. Let’s see if the planet lasts long enough to see them to fruition.
Catch them live at their album launch party @ The Islington, October 17
Get your tickets here: http://bit.ly/TixHurtling
Thu Oct 17 – The Islington – Album Launch Party!
Thu Oct 24 – The Half Moon, Bishop’s Stortford
Fri Nov 01 – JT Soar, Nottingham (w/Hellebore)
Wed Nov 07 – Totem, Sheffield
Fri Jan 10 – Get In Her Ears, The Finsbury, London (w/Personal Best)