“The New HTRK album revolves around themes of submission, dysphoria, sentimentality, tech-noir and corporate life”
– HTRK website
Been listening to HTRK‘s new LP “Work (work, work).” It’s a great listen for late nights or early mornings. Any fans of How to Dress Well, Burial, Fever Ray or Holy Other will feel right at home. Ghostly International is streaming the album via Soundcloud (see below). I found the sleeve and vinyl design striking and simple. An interview with the band with The Quietus is after the jump. Enjoy and sweet dreams.
HTRK’s Work (work, work)
It’s here. Achingly slow 808 beats, eerie synth arpeggios, vaporous guitar noise, and Jonnine Standish’s androgynous, detached vocals, dripping with reverb.
The Quietus talks to the band about the sudden death of their friend and bassist Sean Stewart and forging on. Also, the band created a mix for Self-Titled which features “field” recordings that Sean made in his Berlin bedroom in 2009.
You can stream the album as well.
In the second Q&A installment, HTRK talk about mystery, fascination, aesthetic, perseverance and more. Part one is available here.
HTRK does not self-promote much in the “internet” age of new artists. Why is that?
Mystery and fascination are very big themes in what we do, maybe they are everything.
The visual component of HTRK seems as important as the music. There is the consistent use of the HTRK logo and your photos are quite memorable. Where does/did this complete sense of vision come from?
We talk a lot about whether things feel right, mood wise. We are very strict if things stay or go, whether it be a sound or a piece of text. Much of our conversation comes out of observing other artists and talking about things they are doing that we don’t like, before working out what we want for us. We find it hard to let go of every aspect of our visual image – we’ve done it all ourselves up until now. I think that’s why we don’t usually do music videos, we’ve scrapped several…
Our idea with our first press shot was to create an image that gives you everything (our naked shot) – so there wouldn’t be any need to do another ever again – but we also wanted to leave people a little intrigued in regards to the story behind it.
The idea of setting yourselves up as a gang has always felt a little humorous, as much as we enjoy the romance of it as well. There are certain visual things you need to do for people to register that you are a real band. We also enjoy playing with the rock band cliché or subverting it. The HTRK logo is a comment on the idea of a band being a global corporation and also giving our audience (and more importantly ourselves) something symmetrical and strong we can trust. We have one masculine hard lined logo we go to war/work with. The motivation came from the excitement of the graphics on techno 12” releases in the early 90’s. Record label logos centred on the cover was all you needed. They had subliminally adopted a German military approach. A truth in repetition. This idea we’ve adopted is very anti-rock as well, no photo on the cover, which we thought was funny for a rock band.
Purity or decay? Experience or Innocence? Elaborate if you will.
They can’t exist without the other, they have equal weight. You can’t fake either state, can you. I find them equally interesting in different ways. Innocence is beautiful but I like people more when they tell me the bad stuff.
Is HTRK working on new material and what sort of differences can we expect within that material as a duo?
We are working on new material and don’t know what to expect yet, but mentally we will always be a trio. Seans beauty, strangeness, discipline and wickedness will never leave us in the music we make within HTRK.
Is HTRK the most rewarding and most difficult thing in your lives?
To quote Sean: “Late nights, no mornings, taboos, last year, 6-month plans, ex-girlfriends, kissing boys, touching, feeling, going down, waking up, pretty girls, Palestine, America’s Most Wanted, comics, families, friends, fender basses, reverb, South East Asia, reunions, holidays, haloumi, Thai chefs, geeky girls, various degrees of chubbiness, tranquil settings, timelessness, nokia phones, managers who go missing, engineers who have heart attacks, labels who forget who you are, friends who wish they could, baths, berocca, asian grocers, peruvians, blondie, pomegranite, lips, ambiguity, large desks, library lamps, cigarettes, foucault, female cops, tagalog, religion, excellent moisturizing cream, honesty.”
Nigel and Sean said to each other that there should be no sentimental feelings towards HTRK if one of them decided to leave. And Nigel has said to me that I shouldn’t be sentimental towards HTRK. I’ve said to Nigel that after keeping our relationships in order, HTRK is everything.
09.07 San Francisco, CA @ Public Works
09.11 Los Angeles, CA @ The Echo
09.14 New York, NY @ Home Sweet Home
09.15 New York, NY @ Sleep No More
09.17 Brooklyn, NY @ Secret Project Robot
10.12 Krakow, PL @ Unsound Festival
10.24 London, UK @ The Garage
10.27 Aberdeen, UK @ The Tunnels
10.30 Kortrijk, BE @ Sonic City Festival