Text: Alec Coiro
Photo: David Meran
I love how important playing live is to the electronic music outfit Hearts Hearts. They manage to maintain the ensemble element that gives their music a human, emotional feel (its “heart” if you will) without veering off into the questionable realm of live electronic music of the Jean-Luc Ponty variety (to cite an extreme example). The other reason to love Hearts Hearts is the combination of intensity and complexity in their compositions. Watching the video for Sugar/Money (which is having its U.S. premier right here and right now), you can see that the band gets lost in this intensity just as much as the lister. In addition to sharing the video, the band also talked with us about how they construct their music, where that passion comes from, how they got together, and their plans for a U.S. tour.
Your videos consistently (although not always) foreground the live aspect (in contrast to electronic music created solely in a computer) and the ensemble nature of your music. Can you tell us a bit about why those aspects are important for you?
The live aspect is a really important part of our music! We love the energy when performing on stage and we wanted to capture some of this energy in our videos.
Goods / Gods is your second album after the inaugural Young. What did you set out to do differently on this follow-up album?
Young was our debut and naturally we first of all had to figure out a mutual, creative and constructive working mode. That might also be the reason why we sometimes took safe decisions while working on Goods / Gods all of us had become more self-confident but also more confident in each other. Therefore, we were fine with bolder and edgier decisions, which hopefully sometimes can be heard on the album.
Moreover, Young had its very own aura to it, a darker vibe that resonated throughout the album. We tried to avoid repetition on Goods / Gods. We wanted to try out new and different influences, bringing in new sounds and instruments and give it a lighter and also brighter sound. Goods / Gods is more immediate than Young, a brighter album with dark edges.
What attracts you to the slash (/) that you frequently use in your titles?
During the writing process we often found ourselves trying to combine elements and ideas that at first glance wouldn’t fit well together. We were inspired by those in between spaces and undefined borderlines in meaning and it made sense to include this symbol in each title on the album.
The slash is a universal, interesting punctuation mark and its multifunctionality is really fascinating as it both serves exclusive and inclusive purposes. It has the strength to combine but also to separate elements or fractions. It’s a key symbol in so many different fields, like programming, mathematics, phonology but also frequent symbol for trivial purposes like emojis.
Goods / Gods is more immediate than Young, a brighter album with dark edges.
How long have you known each other? What brought you together as a band?
Hearts Hearts started in 2012. David and Daniel had written some songs before that but were looking to bring in new people. We soon realized that we work really well together and over the following years we developed our sound as a group.
What is your songwriting process like as a group? Your compositions strike me as too complex to have just come out of jamming together.
Not at all! On both Young and Goods / Gods, jamming has been an essential part of the process. Writing, arranging and mixing the songs is a constant back and forth between jamming in the studio and working on the computer. One of us brings in an idea, recorded at home. Maybe somebody else already adds another sound before we take it to the studio and jam to it. Our setup allows us to record these sessions on the fly, so we can arrange the new material, add some new layers at home, jam again, arrange, mix, and so on.
Will you travel to the U.S. on tour?
We’re definitely planning to tour the states next year!