It would be quite erroneous for one to assume that hip hop is as devoutly revered and as fervently followed in Australia as it is in most parts of North America and Europe. Some may even think that Asia are ahead of Australia in terms of their love and following of hip hop. As an aspiring hip hop artist, Australia definitely isn’t the best place to start off. There certainly isn’t a lot of exposure and the incentive of fame is quite flimsy. Despite that, a certain musical duo by the name of Hermitude was able to establish their rule as Australia’s leading hip hop artists. Formed in the year 2000, Hermitude have made a name for themselves not only in Australia but around the world.
Their hip hop legacy is firmly cemented in the music record books of Australia. But what makes this duo special? What gave them the edge that other artists pursuing a hip hop career in Australia did not have? Did Hermitude get lucky and found themselves in pole position all of a sudden? Or was it years on end of hard work and determining that put them in the position that they are today? Perhaps it was a bit of both. Regardless of how they rose to celeb in the last 15 years, one cannot deny the fact that the world is blessed to have heard the impeccable music of this outstanding duo. A closer look into the life and times of Hermitude will give us a clear idea about why these Luke Dubs and El Gusto are two of the finest hip hop artists of recent times.
Luke Dubber and Angus Stuart are the two people who make up Hermitude. Both of them are multi-instrumentalists. Not surprisingly, like any other successful musical duo, these two started their journey towards stardom at a very young age. It was in the year 1994 that they first began collaborating with bands. Back then, Luke was only 16 years old and Angus was even younger at just 11. They formed a functional band that was known by the name of Funk Injections. It had Angus Stuart’s sister as the bassist. As you can see, their origins as a musical group were quite humble. Back in those days, they didn’t have the luxury of being trained by renowned musical academy. Nor did they have the guidance of a dexterous mentor. The only tools that they had at that young age were the undying passion for music and the unchangeable determination to succeed in the grand stages. The young boys had big dreams, and they were willing to leave no stone unturned in turning those dreams into a reality.
Their talent was first brought to attention by a group of local rappers that included Tim Levinson from the Herd. The rappers were quite impressed by the performances of Luke and Angus. As a result, they decided to partner up with Funk Injections. This collaboration project took place in the year 1998 and the group was called the Explanetary. Levinson took care of the vocals of the group. Angus was assigned as the keyboardist. Luke was on drums and Realistix dealt with backup vocals. As a unit, they released only one single EP called the “In On the Deal”. This was released in the July of 2001. After the semi-successful release of the album, the members of Explanetary decided to part ways and pursue success somewhere else.
Formation and First Album
In the year 2001, Luke Dubber and Angus Stuart decided to officially pair up and form Hermitude. They shared a common love for beats and turntablism. Thus, it was a no brainer for them to come up with the decision that the focus of Hermitude will be on hip hop music. They decided to be known by the stage names of Luke Dubs and Elgusto. Both of their parents were professional musicians. This instilled in them the motivation to take their skills in music to a professional level. Unlike most hip hop groups of that time, Luke Dubs and Elgusto had no intention of messing around in studios and leaving piles of money on the table.
As soon as Hermitude was formed they began work on their first EP which came to be known as the “Imaginary Friends”. This was a vinyl only EP and it was released through Elefant Traks. The success of their EP allowed them to conceptualize the idea of creating their very own album. Just 2 short years after their formation, they released their debut album which was poetically named as “Alleys to Valleys”. This was very well received by their fans, and more importantly by the critics. Hip hop artists are often subjected to harsh criticism by the Australian media, but that was not to be in their case. They pretty much hit the nail on the head with their first attempt. The release of their debut album gave them an unheard reputation for seamless hip hop and instrumental production. According to respected radio personality Tim Ritchie, it was one of the best hip hop/break albums that he had ever heard in his life.
Continued Success and Second Album
The second album of Hermitude was released in the year 2005. This was done following innumerable tours and support slots. The album, named “Tales of the Drift” had influences from Cuban rhythms. This was because Elgusto had studied percussion in Cuba when he was a teenager. The Cuban rhythm in their tracks was eloquently mixed with the formal jazz and classical background that they had showcased before. This particular style of music turned out to be a breath of fresh air in the electronic/ instrumental hip hop scene in Australia and around the world. The first single of the album, “Fallen Giants”, enjoyed unprecedented success and topped the charts for months after the release. By the time the second album was released, Hermitude had pretty much attained a position in the upper echelons of the music industry in Australia. Their immaculate studio productions coupled with their dynamic live shows made them one of the hottest musical properties in the world. They had a solid background on classical music, while their technology application was commendable to say the least. In the aftermath of the successful second album, they received opportunities tour the globe. They took their talent to Asia, Europe and the US where they teamed up with underground hip hop artists and electronic acts including DJ Krush, Kentaro, Aceyalone, Dizzee Rascal and a few others.
Worldwide Renown and Third Album
In 2007, they released the “Rare Sightings” EP which was basically a prelude to their third album, “Threads” that was launched a year later. What was special about this album was the fact that Hermitude’s music had evolved. They had now transcended into the electronic territory and were incorporating electronic future beats into their music. The album was undoubtedly worthy of praise, and the fact that DJ Krush and Glitch Mob performed Hermitude’s tracks on their live sets just goes on to further validate the success of their third album.
In the September of 2011, Hermitude presented the world with the summery monster single “Speak of the Devil”. This landed them a top 100 position in the Triple J Hottest charts. The success of the single probably led to the release of their highly anticipated 4th album called “Hyper Paradise”. This came out in the year 2012. As soon as it was released, it made a mark in Australian music by climbing up the steps to reach the Australian Top 40.
Hermitude won the hearts of the crowd on the Parklife tour in September, won the AIR Award for Best Dance/Electronic Release and received two nominations for ARIAs for Best Dance Release & Best Video.
Next up was the Villain Tour in January/February 2013 which sold-out in record time and saw them satisfy the hip hop needs of over 5000 people. Due to unmatched demand Hermitude did three sold-out shows in both Sydney & Melbourne. In March Hermitude put the icing on the cake by winning the Australian Music Prize, one of the country’s most prestigious music awards.
Through The Roof
Recently Hermitage premiered their latest track “Through The Roof” which is the debut track to their new upcoming album. There is no name of the album as yet but we know the boys are in the studio putting some finishing touches on the project which is set to be released sometime in May.