Multi-instrumentalists Luke Dubs and El Gusto (aka Angus Stuart) were in bands together from a very young age -- 16 and 11, respectively. Their first proper band was called Funk Injections, following the rule that funk bands require the word "funk" appear somewhere in their name, and included El Gusto's sister on bass. When a group of local rappers, including Urthboy from the Herd, were impressed by Funk Injections' abilities, the two groups briefly incorporated, performing for a while under the name Explanetary. After El Gusto returned from a trip to the U.S. in 2000 with a set of turntables, the two tried jamming together with Dubs playing keyboard, sans vocals. The combination worked so well that they realized they didn't need anything else and Hermitude was formed.
Signing with the Elefant Traks label founded by the Herd, Hermitude released the vinyl-only Imaginary Friends EP in 2002. The collection of esoteric instrumental soundscapes, with two vocal cuts provided by Urthboy and Ozi Batla, sold out and has never been transferred to CD, making it a collector's item. A year later their first album, Alleys to Valleys, was released. The name referred to their moving between Sydney and a recording studio called Sound Heaven in the Blue Mountains, owned by El Gusto's father, which allowed them to literally be hermits half the time. The other half of their time they spent coming down from the mountains to try out their new material in the clubs of the city.
The popularity of Hermitude's debut allowed them to earn support billing with touring international acts such as their idol, DJ Krush, and then record Tales of the Drift in 2005. A more percussive, Cuban sound was created, inspired by El Gusto's time spent there in his youth. Their first world tour followed, and the duo spent much of their time recording in studios wherever they traveled. That material was collected on the Rare Sightings EP in 2007, initially sold at venues on their return tour of Australia. The CD sold out during the tour and had to go back to press before copies could be released in stores. ~ Jody Macgregor
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