As readers have likely gathered by now, we really love electronic music, and one of our artists to keep an eye on in the near future is London’s AUGUST. In just over a year the man behind the moniker, Steve Hughes, has gone from severing ties with a previous project and starting anew to catching the attention of BBC Introducing. Having just unleashed his most recent single ‘Animal’, we thought it best to pin him down for a chat. Oh, and the kind soul also picked the best new electronic music that you should be listening to at the moment. Other than himself, of course.
Your name is rather tricky to Google! Tell us why you decided to call yourself ‘AUGUST’; do you have any regrets?
I had a song called ‘August’ that I always liked the title for but the song wasn’t very good. It was also in August of last year that I decided to try something different, so it felt like a natural fit. Finding a name is the hardest part of being an artist! It definitely would be nice if it was easier to Google but overall I’m pretty happy.
We’ve been loving your latest track ‘Animal’ over here. Tell us about what inspired the song? Do you have a love/hate relationship with London?
Thanks! I genuinely love London but it’s an intense place. I was on a night out in East London and I could see a sense of relief on people’s faces to be enjoying a night out, but also the strain of living in such an expensive and competitive city. I tried to turn that tension into a song. Animal is about trying to find salvation in both the beatitful and brutal experiences of living in London.
How did August begin? Did your friendship with collaborator Ed Carlile start with the band?
Yeah, Eddy and I were in another band together and I just started writing these songs with a slightly different direction. When we started we were just experimenting with different sounds and textures, but pretty quickly we felt like we were making something that we loved. Eddy was creating these beautiful electronic soundscapes that felt a little more delicate than what we had been doing before but felt like they were fitting well with the songs and the vocals.
You seem to have had a lot of false starts with your previous project; how does it feel to be getting some traction with your latest band?
It’s been a fun start. For me the key is to be able to release the music that you love and feel proud of, as that’s all you can control. If it gets a good reaction online, then obviously that’s wicked too.
Your list of inspirations is diverse and includes Brutalist architecture, Irving Penn photography and Disney films! There are some surprising ones there; how exactly have these influenced your sound?
What connects these three diverse influences is their power and simplicity. I love how disney uses very simple story lines, with simple imagery to make films that power the imagination and emotionally connect across different generations. Their genius is to reduce an idea to it’s simplest form and then make it speak. For me that’s what I’m trying to do in my song writing. Similarly I’ve been really drawn to brutalist architecture because the movement used cheaper, basic materials, using really straight lines to make these massive iconic buildings. I’ve tried to encapsulate in quite a few songs the power of these huge buildings that can feel both cold and austere yet so aspirational and beautiful. Irving Penn is just the don!
Your debut track ‘Sword’ was an understated hit and cemented you on the blogosphere. You have a unique sound; is August a shared vision for everyone involved?
Thanks, it feels a little like we’ve stumbled upon something by accident but at the moment we have a clear direction of where we’re trying to get to both sonically and aesthetically.
We asked you to curate a playlist of new electronic artists that are on your radar currently. Do you think that there has been a resurgence of electronic bands and artists as of late, and if so why?
It’s feels like electronic music and electro pop/indie has been going pretty strong over the last 5 years. I think it’s partly because music now is less genre driven, so you can use sounds and influences across a wider spectrum. So for bands to use synths and 808’s instead of real instruments is no problem anymore. Also I guess radio is hammering electronic and EDM music so people are surrounded by those types of noises.
You’re playing The Finsbury as part of Blogtober later this month. What does your live show entail and how do you engage people who have never heard of you before?
Live we have a four piece band and we slightly cater the live sound towards more of a live experience, for instance songs probably feel a bit more energetic and not quite so held as they do on record. We try to be faithful to the recordings but have license to let them grow playing live.
We can’t wait to hear more from August, is there an EP or album in the works that we can look forward to?
Yes, we’ve got another single and an EP coming up very soon.
AUGUST’s latest single ‘Animal’ is available now.