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It Hugs Back

Article written by Mary B
Oct 19, 2006.

'It hugs back' consists of Dimitri(drums) Paul (bass) and Matthew (vocals / guitar) With a one way ticket to cult stardom beckoning, I thought that I would cyber catch up with them on their journey (just so I can bore people many moons from now by repeatedly saying 'I knew them when they were on the up')

SoundsXP: I love your name. Where did it come from? It makes me feel warm and snuggly inside. What is hugging back? And can anybody have a hug?

IHB: It’s a book that hugs back. And anyone can have a hug. If they read it nice and carefully!

SoundsXP: I love the video for 'Lights in the trees' Did you have any artistic input in it? It's a bit disorientating and there is some lovely pearly whites on show. Are they the bands own or were teeth models called in?

IHB: Nope, no teeth models were used in the making of the video! Our budgets wouldn’t extend to such niceties so we had to make do.. we used to make videos like this when we were younger so it was nice to get the chance to start again.. and its really nice to know you like it, we haven’t heard many responses to it!

SoundsXP: So this is an exciting month for you with the release of your first single. Tell me about the build up to it. Is it hectic? Are you nervous about the reviews it will receive/sales

IHB: Quite hectic, but there were a couple of delays with its release so all our touring was a little premature meaning we’ve had them with us on the road for a month before it came out. It is a very special feeling to see it sitting on the shelf in a shop though but I’m still yet to buy one! We are all really proud of the single, so reviews are interesting, a nice review is always a good thing but a bad review doesn’t change anything. I think being out of touch with what’s fashionable, especially in London where we play a lot, is hard in terms of reviews but it does also have its good points too…

SoundsXP: I love 'Miss being young' Is that ever going to be released? It's got a real 'dreamy/lie on your bed and listen' quality about it.

IHB: We made 'Miss being young' when we first started as a band so I’m not sure it is still in keeping with our sound… we were still finding our feet back then. We still are now probably, it’s only been 9 months since we got going. So at the moment, it’s there to download if you like but that’s probably all that will happen. Maybe if we’re lucky and we get to release a couple of albums and then me and Matt die early rock star deaths and Paul compiles the best of 'It hugs back' i’m certain it will be the first song on the record.

SoundsXP: You are being raved about at the moment with promises of 'cult stardom' Do you think that you could cope with cult stardom? Are there any prima donnas among you? You're not going to start asking for baths to be filled with Evian water or something are you?

IHB: We’d love to get the stage where we can make a living out of what we do.. but we like Fiji water, although Evian is a suitable substitute however.

SoundsXP: You did an instore gig at HMV recently. How does that differ to other gigs?

IHB: It was an odd one, so many things went wrong before we played.. my amp wouldn’t turn on, guitars were knocked over, we didn’t have any room to move but it was much better than most gigs, they gave us plenty of food and water! Playing and especially singing when it's really light is always quite odd, being able to clearly see everyone, I’m undecided if I like it or not!

SoundsXP: You have played Bush Hall. I think it is the prettiest venue in London. What is your favourite venue and why?

IHB: Our favourite, favourite, favourite venue is the Heavenly social. It’s a good size, a nice atmosphere, the sound's good and soundman, Paul, is the best and the people that run it are truely fantastic.

SoundsXP: You seem like such lovely, warm people. I want to drink hot chocolate with you all and toast marshmallows on a fire. Is there a darker side to you though? Are you the kind of people to take the last strip of toilet paper, without guilt, or are you really this lovely?

IHB: Um….

SoundsXP: I am giving you £50 to spend on records (see it as an early xmas pressie. I'm partial to Valentino perfume myself :-) Just thought i'd point that out. Available in all good stores, but I forget myself) What sounds would you buy with the money and why?

Lookaftering – Vashti Bunyan
Ys – Joanna Newsome (when its out)
Rubber Soul – The Beatles (I have it on my ipod and love it!)
Some more Stereolab albums.. especially the one produced by Jim O’rourke
The Sugarcubes album with 'Birthday' on it
John lennon – Double Fantasy

Branford Marsalis – Braggtown. I saw them play and it was amazing.
John Coltrane – A Love Supreme
Acoustic Ladyland – Camouflage

Matthew: Very good question!
A Stereolab album, sound dust and sound bites, I’ve wanted that for a long time but never seen it at good enough price!
The new Bright Eyes rarities collection
The new nrbq live album, at Ludlows garage, I’m happy to see them back.
The Daniel Johnston record with the song with the line 'go stick you’re head in a fire hydron' on it. I heard it in a record shop in Boston ages ago and I still remember it really well. I think it’s the world of Daniel Johnston one?
The new Justin Rutledge album, a devil on a bench in Stanley park. He is amazing.
And 'Naked city' by John Zorn. I think I should hear this.
Am I all spent out now?

SoundsXP: Sometimes your music reminds me of the Monkees and the Cure tag team wrestling against Bright Eyes and Ballboy. What do you want your sound to remind me of?

IHB: That’s exactly it. We’re happy someone’s got it!

SoundsXP: What next for It hugs back? Apart from cult stardom of course because that's a given.

IHB: Another single.. in the first half on the new year.. and a bigger release, maybe e.p or album towards the end of the year and 100 gigs! We’ve booked 50 gigs in 2006 so we’re going to double it next year. Hopefully! 2008… 200 gigs…

SoundsXP: And in 2009...400 gigs and in 2010.. 800 gigs...ok i'll stop there. With that many gigs on the horizon and with cds flying off the shelves I predict that IHB will be bathing in Fiji water by the end of this decade...

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