Primarily based in Glasgow, electro-band HYTTS are making the breakthrough after honing their sound whereas residing and dealing in Dundee. David Pollock finds out extra.
Though they met as youngsters in Glasgow, the trail which lead Scottish electro-pop duo HYYTS to begin making music collectively and ultimately win a report contract with Warners was solid by the 2 years they spent in Dundee of their early 20s.
“We met at an undisclosed Glasgow soccer group recreation, I gained’t say which one!” explains Adam Hunter, the band’s singer and lyricist, who’s initially from simply exterior Troon.
His musical companion Sam Hunter (they’re no relation, and use the surname HYYTS professionally) grew up within the small village of Gargunnock, close to Stirling.
“This was after we have been 10-years-old, our dads knew one another and we turned finest pals,” he continues, telling of a friendship which continued even after Adam moved to check musical theatre on the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in Glasgow.
“Then I went to London to attempt to turned a singer-songwriter, and it didn’t go nicely – I used to be getting dangerous gigs and dealing in a pub six days per week to afford residing there.”
In the meantime, Sam settled in Edinburgh and received work selling gigs and golf equipment. “I placed on actually unusual, obscure techno and home nights in Cabaret Voltaire in Edinburgh and the Tunnels up in Aberdeen,” he says.
“They often drew crowds of about seven or eight, however I met some full characters by way of doing it, and discovered lots – and doubtless additionally misplaced lots of mind cells.
“I ultimately went into producing, although, as a result of, I do know it sounds conceited, however I used to be sitting there listening to this music and considering, ‘what if the tune did this or that as an alternative?’
“With numerous expertise listening to this music, I questioned why I didn’t simply attempt it myself. That led to the place I’m now.”
Adam explains that the pair had all the time meant to dwell collectively and work on music as a duo, however the alternative didn’t come till he met Dundee-based singer-songwriter Gary Clark, ex of one of many metropolis’s most well-known Nineteen Eighties pop bands, Danny Wilson; now a prime songwriter-for-hire.
Clark had simply moved again to Scotland from Los Angeles and was engaged on the soundtrack to the 2016 movie Sing Road, which he invited Adam to work on.
“I’d been writing songs for years, I knew it was what I wished to do,” explains Adam. “Gary mentioned, ‘why don’t you simply come up right here to Dundee and work with me full time?’ So I advised that Sam come up and get a job in a bar, so we may dwell collectively and hustle one thing.
“That’s what occurred; Sam produced music on his laptop computer which me and Gary weren’t allowed to listen to, then after we did, we have been like, ‘that is wonderful!’ That’s how the band was born.”
We’re chatting with the pair on a convention name, with Adam at dwelling in Glasgow and Sam on a prepare, the place his reception is holding up admirably.
But nonetheless, it’s the clearly extra gregarious Adam who does a lot of the speaking for the duo (whose title is pronounced “heights”, not “hits”).
Their music is a fiercely up to date mix of Sam’s Chvrches-style electro-pop and Adam’s clear, soulful pop strains, amid which he’s not afraid to discover deeper topics.
“Opposites attracted with us,” says Sam. “Adam’s received a large flavour for large pop, generally verging on the tacky, however he’s all the time actually on prime of pop music.
He’ll ask in the event you’ve heard this or that new pop tune, whereas I’m listening to bizarre, 30-year-old industrial techno from Yugoslavia or wherever.
So we meet within the center to make this barely wonky, cool sound.”
Dundee was a large studying expertise for the duo, and was instrumental of their rising to the purpose the place they may signal a take care of one of many greatest labels on this planet.
They arrived within the metropolis in 2016, when each have been simply into their 20s, and left two-and-a-half years later.
“It was an odd time in our lives,” says Adam. “When Gary requested me to come back up and work with him, I knew it was the dream – to receives a commission and make music! Then Sam received a job in Brewdog in Dundee, and we made lots of pals.
“We lived within the pub for these years, which was lots of enjoyable, nevertheless it took its toll at occasions. We turned pals with our hairdresser, which is an odd factor, however I had this lengthy, psychological hair…”
“He had ‘Hermione Grainger’ hair,” interjects Sam, clearly nonetheless amused by the considered Adam’s previous tonsorial exploits.
“I had ‘Hermione Grainger’ hair, yeah,” concedes the singer. “So within the pub sooner or later, this man from the cool hairdresser (Exhausting Grind) noticed it and mentioned, ‘I wish to take you to the hairdressing world cup!’ Which is a psychological factor to say, proper?
“He began slicing my hair in all these bizarre, other ways and posting pictures… we by no means really received to the hairdressing world cup, however we did change into pals with him.”
Away from the salon, the pair additionally made pals on the Dundonian music scene, together with the band known as Mannequin Aeroplanes (who are now Magnum House), and Gary’s brothers Equipment and Scott – promoter and proprietor, respectively, on the not too long ago and really sadly closed Clark’s on Lindsay Road.
“For a big a part of the time, lots of our pals in Dundee have been 50 and 60-year-old males,” laughs Adam, with fondness for these occasions in his voice.
“We turned pals with all of Gary’s pals, so we mainly sat down at Clark’s consuming pitchers of lager and speaking to those older guys in bands. It was a bizarre factor for 2 21-year-old guys to be doing, nevertheless it was fairly cool.
“We’d go right down to the pub they usually’d be taking part in Stylish or Kool and the Gang, after which the subsequent tune could be from the Common White Band, and also you’d assume, ‘oh, they’re from simply down the highway!’
“Dundee is the type of metropolis the place you’re conscious of the tradition, simply strolling across the streets, as a result of it’s such a creative place. It’s birthed all this nice stuff.”
“My complete reminiscence of staying in Dundee is simply blurred into one huge pub scene,” smiles Sam, his band-mate having lined all of the bases.
“I believe Adam lined it fairly nicely, although.”
The unique cause for the duo’s transfer to Dundee had revolved round Clark’s hopes that Adam – as a singer, dancer, actor and musician – may be capable to seem in a movie he was planning, however as cash proved difficult to get collectively, the duo’s personal venture started to assemble steam.
They performed their first gig as HYYTS at Clark’s, supporting Mannequin Aeroplanes.
For Adam, the present was a breeze; for Sam, not a lot: “I’m an enormous nervous wreck anyway, so a bunch of individuals watching me making an attempt to carry out was simply nuts. It’s eased up since then, although,” he says.
Regardless of his preliminary stage fright, the gigs constructed up steam, together with a small tour of the Highlands and Islands with a band known as Lovesick and Dundee’s St.MARTiiNS.
Tayport-based music industry veteran Paul Smernicki turned their supervisor, after which a accident moved them up a stage.
“We’d weirdly performed a gig in entrance of Boy George’s supervisor,” says Adam, “and he mentioned he wished us to assist George on the Hydro in Glasgow. We have been like, ‘yeah, no matter’, then two months earlier than the present he known as us up mentioned, ‘proper, right here’s the contract’ – we have been really doing it! It was perhaps our fifth or sixth gig, which was simply unbelievable.
“It was weirdly simpler than lots of the smaller gigs,” he continues, “and it picked us up a few followers. We now have a extremely loyal ‘wine mum’ fanbase, which is class, the type of fanbase each band needs. I’m not even being sarcastic, they bring about letters and badges to our gigs, it’s improbable!”
Smernicki advised the duo to quite a lot of labels and suggested the pair to be affected person about any curiosity, however they went on a tour of Japanese Europe supporting Morcheeba, and earlier than it was even over they’d been supplied a take care of Warners.
“It got here out of nowhere, so we tried to speak to a bunch of people that may know if it was the appropriate factor to do,” says Adam.
“Particularly as a result of lots of people these days say that labels aren’t the powerhouses they was once – however then you definately see the cash you’re supplied and also you assume, that’s the dream.
“If I get to make music and don’t need to work in a pub, then that’s the dream.”
Regardless of a sound which might match completely amid the Radio 1 daytime playlist, there’s been a brand new depth to the HYYTS sound with each single they’ve launched.
This autumn’s Lonely Individuals (which bears the telling strains “who am I? / I’m not ashamed to say that I don’t know”) got here with a social media marketing campaign named #NotLonelyPeople, which aimed to deal with the loneliness of the pandemic amongst their followers, whereas the newer SOS was about male psychological well being.
“Weirdly, we each went by way of a interval of fairly poor psychological well being towards the top of our time in Dundee,” says Adam.
“We’re each actually fortunate to not be in that place anymore, however you don’t need anybody else to undergo it. We all know how vital it’s that we had one another, and pals that seen the indicators and mentioned, ‘we’re right here for you, you’ll be able to speak to us’.
“Lots of people don’t have that, however even the little issues can actually assist. You can also make a distinction with a tune, particularly now that a couple of persons are listening to ours’.”
Having labored as a music therapist with aged dementia victims and inmates at Kilmarnock jail whereas HYYTS have been getting up and operating, Adam has private expertise which backs this up.
“An important factor is speaking to those that come from completely different locations and have completely different experiences from you,” he says.
“I’ve had a fairly good life and by no means needed to fear about my subsequent meal, by no means needed to fear in regards to the issues lots of the folks I used to be working with needed to rising up.
“Simply since you may come from a tricky neighbourhood and also you’ve grown up in a nasty approach, although, and I would come from Troon, we each know Neil Diamond songs.
“So we’re going play guitar and sing, and are available collectively and concentrate on the similarities slightly than the variations, ?”
The massive plans forward for HYYTS – touring, a concentrated physique of labor introduced collectively in a debut album – are on maintain in the meanwhile, as they’re for everybody else in the course of the world pandemic, and the pair agree that retaining in contact with their followers by screened performances simply isn’t the identical.
For the second, nevertheless, this excellent pop group for the 2020s nonetheless wish to be there for his or her every-growing military of followers in any approach they’ll.
HYYTS’ latest singles SOS and Lonely Individuals will be heard on YouTube, Soundcloud and different streaming providers. For more information, see the band’s Twitter, Fb and Instagram pages.