Hurts are an English synth-pop duo formed in Manchester in 2009, consisting of synthesist Adam Anderson and singer Theo Hutchcraft. Their first two albums, Happiness and Exile, both reached the top 10 in several countries.
Adam Anderson (left) and Theo Hutchcraft (right) in March 2014
Anderson (born 14 May 1985 in Manchester) and Hutchcraft (born 30 August 1986 in Richmond) met outside Manchester's 42nd Street nightclub in November 2005, standing by while their friends got involved in a fight. Too drunk to join in, they began discussing music instead; realising they had similar tastes, they decided to start a band. Over the next few months, they exchanged music and lyrics via e-mail, before forming Bureau in March 2006. They performed their first gig as a quintet in May at The Music Box in Manchester, and were shortly afterwards signed to independent record label High Voltage Sounds. They released their first double A-side single "After Midnight"/"Dollhouse" in November, which was made Single of the Week on Xfm. In 2007, Bureau disbanded and Hutchcraft and Anderson formed the band Daggers soon after. They signed to Label Fandango and in October released another double A-side single, "Money"/"Magazine", which, despite failing to chart, was nominated for the Popjustice £20 Music Prize.
Throughout 2008, Daggers continued to build a following and began working with producers Biff Stannard and Richard X, but after a disastrous A&R showcase in London in September, Theo and Adam returned to Manchester to reflect on the band's future. They recorded a mournful ballad called "Unspoken" together and they immediately realised that this was the sound that they wanted to develop as a duo. After informing the rest of the band that it was finished, they went on a short break to Verona in Italy, where they claim they discovered a musical genre called "Disco Lento". Daggers split on 30 January 2009.
Now called Hurts, the duo recorded an amateur music video for a song called "Wonderful Life", with a female dancer who had responded to an advert they placed in a post office in Manchester. After they uploaded the video to their YouTube channel on 21 April 2009, it quickly went viral and has since had over 38 million views. In July, the band was signed to Sony subsidiary RCA Records as well as RCA imprint Major Label Records, run by their old friend Biff Stannard.
Although Hutchcraft and Anderson had decided to not do any gigs until they had enough songs, they began uploading demos to their Myspace page, and on 27 July 2009, they were named Band of the Day by The Guardian. On 7 December, they made the longlist of the Sound of 2010, an annual poll of music critics and industry figures conducted by the BBC. Following spot plays on BBC Radio 1 of "Wonderful Life", Hurts were invited to record at London's Maida Vale Studios on 9 December for Huw Stephens' radio show, where they performed "Illuminated" and "Silver Lining".
2010 began with Hurts finishing fourth on the Sound of 2010 poll, behind Ellie Goulding, Marina and the Diamonds, and Delphic. On 7 January, Zane Lowe premiered the song "Blood, Tears & Gold" as his "Hottest Record in the World", and another self-made music video debuted online three days later. Having released a limited edition 12" vinyl picture disc of the Arthur Baker remix of "Wonderful Life" on 18 January, Hurts performed their first ever gig as Hurts on 22 January at the Michalsky Stylenite in Berlin, followed by St Phillips Church in Salford on 22 February. This was quickly followed by gigs at Wiltons Music Hall, London, and in Berlin and Cologne in Germany.
In March, "Wonderful Life" was released to radio in various European territories; as manager Matt Vines explained to Music Week, the aim was to launch the band simultaneously across Europe and Asia. "It's an internationally focused campaign. We're looking at tours across Europe to back up the work we are doing in the UK." The single became a radio hit in countries such as Denmark, Cyprus and Russia throughout the spring. On 10 March, their first UK single "Better Than Love" was premiered on Huw Stephens' show on BBC Radio 1. After a nationwide tour with the NME Radar tour, the song was released on digital download, CD and vinyl formats on 24 May, and debuted at number 50 on the UK Singles Chart.
Following success on Greek radio, Hurts were invited to perform at the MAD Video Music Awards ceremony in Athens in front of 11,000 people on 15 June. Also in June, Kylie Minogue recorded a verse and backing vocals for the song "Devotion", which was to be included on the band's album. Hurts recorded a performance of Kylie's 1994 hit "Confide In Me" for newspaper The Sun's website, and has since been a regular inclusion on their gig setlists. Kylie later returned the compliment by recording a performance of "Wonderful Life" in Radio 1's Live Lounge.
Throughout the summer, Hurts performed at several music festivals including V Festival and T in the Park in the UK, Pukkelpop in Belgium, and SWR3 New Pop Festival in Germany. "Wonderful Life" was released in Germany on 6 August and it debuted at number two on the German Singles Chart. It was released in the UK on 23 August, where it debuted at number 21, becoming their first UK top 40 hit. The album Happiness, which had been recorded at Sunshine Dance Studios in Manchester and Pellerin in Gothenburg with producer Jonas Quant, was released on 6 September. It debuted at number four in the UK Albums Chart, selling 25,000 copies in its first week on sale, which made it the fastest selling debut album by a band in 2010.
In October, Hurts embarked on their first full headline UK tour, performing in Brighton, Leeds, Glasgow, Manchester, Birmingham, Bristol, and London. Their third UK single "Stay" was released in November, reaching number 50 in the chart. Meanwhile, in Germany, "Wonderful Life" was certified platinum for sales in excess of 500,000 copies, and they were awarded the BAMBI award for Best International Newcomer. They were also nominated at the MTV Europe Music Awards in the Best Push Artist category. Hurts ended 2010 by supporting Scissor Sisters on their UK arena tour in December, and released a Christmas single called "All I Want for Christmas Is New Year's Day" for free download on iTunes.
Happiness climbed back into the UK Top 30 albums chart in February 2011 following a second nationwide headline tour, several TV appearances including on The Graham Norton Show, and winning Best New Band at the NME Awards on 23 February, where they also performed "Wonderful Life". A fourth single from the album, "Sunday", was released in the UK on 27 February and it debuted at number 57, whilst the second single in Germany, "Stay", reached number three. In March, Hurts were awarded Best International Newcomer at the ECHO Awards in Germany. A fifth single, "Illuminated", was released in the UK on 9 May, entering the chart at number 159, though it had already reached number 68 in September 2010, following its use on trailers for television channel Sky1.
On 26 June, Theo and Adam performed on the John Peel stage at the Glastonbury Festival, and their full set was broadcast on a loop on the BBC Red Button channel. Readers of music magazine NME voted their performance as the best of the festival, putting them ahead of headliners U2, Coldplay, and Beyoncé. They were later voted "Band of the Summer" by the same magazine. In June 2011 they announced a remix of the track "Lonely Lisa" by French singer Mylène Farmer.
"Blood, Tears & Gold" was released as the third single in Germany on 7 October, peaking at number 39. A deluxe CD/DVD edition of Happiness was released on 31 October. The album eventually sold 400,000 copies in Germany, earning it double platinum status. It sold 150,000 copies in the United Kingdom, and spent a year on the UK Top 200 albums chart.
Hurts embarked on their first full European tour in October 2011, performing in Ukraine, Czech Republic, Poland, Germany, Lithuania, Estonia, Finland, Russia, Belarus, Serbia, Croatia, Italy, Greece, Austria, Switzerland, North Macedonia, and the UK. They said in interviews that they planned to start writing and recording for their second album after they have completed the tour, but that they might find it more difficult than their first. On 4 November 2011, Hurts played their last show of their 'Happiness Tour' at Brixton Academy where Kylie Minogue joined them on stage to perform "Devotion" and "Confide in Me". Hurts have confirmed more festival shows for summer 2012. In 2012, Hurts played the Summerwell Festival, Romania (11 August), Open Air Zofingen, Switzerland (12 August) and the Pildyk Friends Festival, Lithuania (14 August).
In September 2012, Hurts confirmed that recording of their next album was underway, with producer Jonas Quant. Their second studio album, Exile, was available on 11 March 2013. A video-teaser on iTunes contained a new track from Exile called "The Road", which was released on 14 December 2012 on YouTube. In autumn 2013 the video got a nomination for UK Music Video Awards as the Best Music Ad - TV or Online. An audio-only video of "The Road" was also uploaded.
The lead single from the album, "Miracle", premiered on BBC Radio 1 on 4 January 2013. A music video directed by Chris Turner was uploaded to YouTube on 4 February, but was permanently removed shortly after. A second video was shot and appeared online on 28 February. The single reached number 23 in Germany and number 120 in the UK.
23 February, it was confirmed that Elton John took a part in recording the track "Help" for the new album. Exile was released on 8 March 2013, achieving a top ten position in ten countries worldwide, debuting at number three in Germany and number nine in the UK. "Blind" was released as the second single on 20 May, and "Somebody to Die For" followed as the third on 21 July. With the release of "Somebody to Die for" they included a cover version of "Ohne Dich" from the German band Selig. The band continued their Exile Tour across Europe in October and November 2013 and March 2014.
2015 – 2017: Surrender
In May 2015, Hurts released a new single titled "Some Kind of Heaven". The release was produced with long-term collaborator, Jonas Quant. On 15 June, the album title was announced via their Facebook page. On 6 October 2015, Hurts released the music video "Wish" directed by Bryan Adams. Surrender was released on 9 October 2015.
Songs that inspired "Surrender": Fleetwood Mac-Seven Wonders, Depeche Mode - Never Let Me Down Again, Queen-Another One Bites The Dust, Michael Jackson - Stranger In Moscow, Sam Smith, Nile Rodgers, Disclosure, Jimmy Napes – Together,The Weeknd - The Morning, Michael McDonald - I Keep Forgettin (Every Time You're Near), Mayer Hawthorne - Wine Glass Woman, Massive Attack - Unfinished Sympathy.
As part of the Surrender Tour (from 11 February 2016 to 16 March 2016), the group gave 24 concerts: 11 February - Glasgow, 12 February - Manchester, 13 February - London, 15 February - Luxembourg, 17 February - Brussels, 18 February - Amsterdam, 19 February - Cologne, 21 February - Munich, 22 February - Zurich, 23 February - Milan, 25 February - Prague, 26 February - Vienna, 28 February - Poznan, 1 March - Riga, 3 March - Kiev, 5 March - Moscow, 6 March - St. Petersburg, 8 March - Helsinki, 10 March - Tallinn, 11 March - Vilnius, 12 March - Minsk, 14 March - Warsaw, 15 March Berlin, 16 March - Wiesbaden.
At the end of the tour the band released a video for the song "Nothing will be bigger than us", consisting of live concerts of Surrender tour in Moscow and London. In this way, the band expressed their love and gratitude to their fans.
The first single called "Beautiful ones" from the new album was released in 21 April 2017 (it is noteworthy that on this day exactly a year ago died one of the most favorite idols of Hurts –Prince). The video for the song was shot in Kiev and was released along with the single as well, on 21 April 2017.
In the video "Beautiful ones" frontman Theo Hutchcraft made in the image of Drag Queen , which mercilessly beat. In an interview for the glossy magazine Fault, he admitted how difficult it was to shoot in a new way:
"It was hard. I had to make my dinner in them. It’s really hard, especially with ones that high! I had to walk around my house a lot and I had to learn how to run fast in them! But when I ran, I couldn’t stop, so the problem was that I was running full speed but people had to catch me because I was like ‘I can’t stop, I can’t stop.’ So there was someone who had to like catch me at the end. It was a fun process".
The main message of the song is to be yourself, not to be afraid of your own "I" and every day to live j with confident step. On 1 September 2017, the band released another single with a video titled "Ready to go". The video was shot in the small homeland of the band - the North of England. The song was a kind of growing gospel-choir, and the video is permeated with an emotional plot. Hurts liked the positive response of the fans to the song and video, and they expressed their gratitude on instagram :
"Thanks for the kind words about READY TO GO! Love that you love it.
The song is about living life to the fullest and shows the lighter side to our songwriting. It's a snapshot of our upcoming album DESIRE but also very much a standalone moment on the album itself. Pushing ourselves forward and experimenting with different emotions and types of song is something we love to do, so thank you for always being so receptive and supportive of that.
The video tells a story of passion, grief and the internal struggle that a lot of men face when dealing with their emotions in public. Something that is a particular issue in the North of England, where it was filmed. Special thanks to the local community of Horwich in Bolton and to everyone who made it possible".
In 22 September 2017 the single from the new album titled "Hold on to me"was released. The sound and text he refers to the earliest songs of Hurts.
And in 29 September 2017, the group Hurts presented to the world "Desire".
27 October 2017 in Novosibirsk, the capital of Siberia, launched a world tour in support of the album. In the first part of the tour the band played 29 concerts in different parts of the world, 7 of which took place in Russian cities:
27 October – in Novosibirsk, 29 October - in Yekaterinburg, 31 October - in Samara, 2 November – in Krasnodar, 4 November – in Voronezh, 5 November – in Moscow and 6 November – in St. Petersburg.
For the first time in the band's history, more than 12,000 people came to the concert as part of the tour - it was at a concert in Moscow, Megasport stadium.
Hurts liked the reception of Russian fans so much that they decided to return to Russia with the Desire Tour in 2018. 2 and 3 February 2018 group gave concerts in Vladivostok, 4 February in Khabarovsk, 6 February in Krasnoyarsk, and ended the second Russian part of Desire Tour in Irkutsk, on Lake Baikal – 8 February 2018. 3000 fans of the band came to the concert of Hurts in Irkutsk.
Theo was so delighted with the trip to Baikal that on his Birthday, 30 August, when he was 32 years old, he remembered this unforgettable adventure:
"Thank you for the wonderful birthday wishes. Very grateful to you all for the love you show. Here I am being battered by the icy winds on a frozen Lake Baikal in February. Just one of the many unforgettable moments I've been fortunate to have had this past year. There's a hole in my glove but there's happiness in my heart. If I don't say it enough, I love you".
Also in the second part of Desire tour group gave concerts in cities Taiwan, South Korea, Japan and China.
The final concert of the Desire tour took place in Bucharest (Romania) in 22 September 2018. The band performed at a local free festival, which gathered about 40,000 people.
Hurts thanked all fans for the warm welcome, for their support, approval, smiles and joy throughout the Desire-era:
Adam: "When I began making music at 21, Inever thought it would take me to a place like Irkutsk, or Vladivostok. Ipswich or Vauxhall perhaps. At a push. But these places are in the very far reaches of Russia. It's amazing to think our music has an audience that reaches so far and a real privilege for us to have an opportunity to come. No other British bands are doing what we are doing. Thanks to all who braved the frankly ridiculous low temperatures, in order to see us. Much appreciated. Love to those in Taiwan, China, Japan, Korea and Turkey. You treated us like kings".
Theo: "An emotional end to what has been an incredible year travelling the world. Thank you all for everything. All the smiles, the passion, the tears, the gifts, everything. We're doing things that no other British band is doing right now and that's all thanks to you and the journey you've taken us on. DESIRE was a record made in very unique and often difficult circumstances, but the support and encouragement you've shown has meant that it's been an absolute joy to perform. Special thanks to our fantastic band and crew for making it all happen. If I disappear for a while, it's not because I don't love you. It's not goodbye, it's just goodbye for now”.
- NME Radar Tour (2010)
- Happiness Tour (2010–2012)
- Exile Tour (2013–2015)
- Art on Ice Tour (2014)
- Surrender Tour (2016)
- Desire Tour (2017–2018)
- The Night Work Tour — Scissor Sisters Tour (2010)
Awards and nominations
- "Bureau". High Voltage Sounds. Archived from the original on 23 July 2012. Retrieved 30 August 2011.
- O'Brien, Paul (11 October 2006). "Bureau - After Midnight/Doll House (High Voltage Sounds)". Greater Manchester's CityLife. Retrieved 30 August 2011.
- "Twenty Quid Music Prize: tonight!". Popjustice. 9 September 2008. Retrieved 30 August 2011.
- "Hurts". RCA Label Group (UK). Archived from the original on 14 October 2011. Retrieved 30 August 2011.
- "Goodbye". Daggers' blog. Myspace. 30 January 2009. Retrieved 30 August 2011.
- Lamunu, Von Von (8 July 2010). "Hurts Interview". The Collective Review. Retrieved 30 August 2011.
- "Hurts' locker offers emotional rescue". The Independent. London. 11 June 2010. Retrieved 30 August 2011.
- "HURTS are signed to RCA". worrapolava.blogspot.com.
- "Hurts on Apple Music". Apple Music.
- Lester, Paul (27 July 2009). "New band of the day – No 593: Hurts". Guardian. London. Retrieved 30 August 2011.
- "BBC Sound of 2010: Hurts". BBC News. 7 December 2009. Retrieved 30 August 2011.
- "Radio 1 Programmes - Huw Stephens, Hurts in session and the nations unite!". BBC. 10 December 2009. Retrieved 30 August 2011.
- "BBC Sound of 2010: Hurts". BBC News. 5 January 2010. Retrieved 30 August 2011.
- "Hottest Record - Hurts - Blood Tears & Gold". Zane Lowe's Hottest Records blog. BBC. Retrieved 30 August 2011.
- "Hurts live: HIGHLY AMAZING". Popjustice. 23 February 2010. Retrieved 30 August 2011.
- "Radio 1 Programmes - Huw Stephens, James Yuill and Hurts exclusives!". BBC. 15 March 2010. Retrieved 30 August 2011.
- "Hurts spread the word". The Sun. London. 24 August 2010. Retrieved 30 August 2011.
- "'Happiness' fastest selling debut by a band in the UK this year!". Hurts blog. Myspace. 13 September 2010. Retrieved 30 August 2011.
- "Hurts top NME poll to find this year's best Glastonbury performance". NME. 2 July 2011. Retrieved 30 August 2011.
- "Hurts to play European tour in Autumn 2011". Ticketdetectives.co.uk. 8 June 2011. Retrieved 30 August 2011.
- "Hurts at Glastonbury: 'We need to get depressed before we can write new songs'". NME. 26 June 2011. Retrieved 30 August 2011.
- "Kylie A Surprise Guest At Brixton Academy | Kylie Minogue". Kylie.com. 7 November 2011. Archived from the original on 17 November 2011. Retrieved 25 May 2013.
- "Photo by jonasquant". Instagram. Archived from the original on 24 August 2015. Retrieved 4 December 2012.
- "UK Music Video Awards 2013 shortlists". 2 October 2013. Archived from the original on 4 October 2013. Retrieved 2 October 2013.
- Gordon Smart (23 February 2013). "Elton John to feature on Hurts track Showbiz Bizarre". The Sun. London. Retrieved 23 February 2013.
- "Hurts - Some Kind of Heaven (Audio)". youtube.com.
- "Hurts: Band Announce One-Off Intimate Headline Show At London's Scala". Inveterate. 3 June 2015. Archived from the original on 3 June 2015. Retrieved 3 June 2015.
- "Hurts, Everything Everything, Darwin Deez for NME Radar Tour 2010". NME. 2 March 2010. Retrieved 2 March 2010.
- "ART ON ICE 2014: Hurts ja Sotchin Olympialaisten tähdet muodostavat kaikkien aikojen mukaansatempaavimman kokoonpanon Tiedote". STT Info (in Finnish). 22 October 2013. Archived from the original on 5 December 2014. Retrieved 26 October 2013.
- "Scissor Sisters with special guests Hurts Newcastle". Metro Radio Arena. Metro Radio Arena. 10 December 2010. Retrieved 3 September 2013.
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