Ex-Allusondrugs guitarist Damian Hughes has launched a brand new, brain melting space rock project Hypnosister, and it’s here to stand out. You can stream Hypnosister’s debut single and lyric video ‘Bother’ right here exclusively on Upset.
Hi, Damian! What have you been up to since you left Allusondrugs?
I started creating Hypnosister right away. I write music constantly, making songs at home, collaborating with other artists and writing on the road. I haven’t stopped touring, even though I left Allusondrugs, I can’t stay off the road for very long because touring is part of who I am, it’s in my blood.
What’s the story behind Hypnosister?
I’ve been completely absorbed by music as long as I can remember. As a kid, I would soak up any music I could find. When I was a toddler, my mum would play Nirvana and Sex Pistols records, and that sound remains deeply engrained in me to this day. I would listen to my uncle’s music collection (Beethoven and Jean Michael Jarre) and my Grandad’s music collection (The Beatles and The Monkees). I would even put on video games just for the music, not playing, just listening for hours. I was obsessed with music; I lived in it. I always had an urge to create but had no idea how or where to channel it until I started playing guitar and writing songs at age 11. At that point everything made sense, and it was clear that my purpose in life was to make music. I realised early on that I didn’t fit in with other people. I grew up in Castleford, a dismal ex-mining town in the north of England. It’s a place doesn’t really nurture creativity or new ideas, people there generally feel beaten down and apathetic since the Tory government left it to rot in the 80s after it decimated the coal mining industry. So I didn’t have many friends in school and was bullied a lot, which just pushed me deeper into music. It wasn’t until I learned about Chromesthesia (a condition where people experience sound also as colour and shape) that I understood the depth of why I was so deeply obsessed with music, I was experiencing it in ways that other people couldn’t. It made it so easy for me to get into the weirdest and wildest corners of music and draw from artists like Aphex Twin, Cardiacs, My Bloody Valentine, Captain Beefheart and Swans. Music isn’t just a listening thing for me; it runs much deeper. The creation of it works on many levels, sound, colour, texture, shape and emotion. Hypnosister contains elements of everything from guitar pop to IDM music; I call it space rock!
You’ve just released your debut single ‘Bother’, streaming now on Upset – what’s the track about?
Growing up in a place like Castleford really limits people’s ability to conceive of a life outside of working a dead end job and spending your weekends drinking, so any ideas of breaking out of that lifestyle tend to just get scoffed at. Society in general works in a way that prevents young people from realising their potential, making sure that any new ideas are rejected. ‘Bother’ is about facing that rejection, being told that what you have to say doesn’t matter and that you have nothing to offer and all the feelings of hopelessness that come with that. Then breaking out of that apathy and realising your worth, not allowing yourself to be dragged down by the negativity that is ever present in the world we live in right now.
What music do you draw influence from?
A LOT of music! Like I mentioned earlier, Nirvana and The Beatles are big influences. Their music is so simple but so emotionally rich that it makes it really easy for anyone to relate to it. I’m influenced by a lot of artists whose music goes a bit deeper too, like Cardiacs, My Bloody Valentine, Bjork, Aphex Twin and Tori Amos. I get a lot out of music and art that explores new areas and pushes boundaries; it gives me more desire to step out of my own comfort zone and take my own art to brand new places. There’s a lot of new music around right now that inspires me, Youth Man and Vukovi are a couple of my favourites.
The track is released via Sleep All Day Records…
Sleep All Day Records is my label that I set up to release my own music, I wrote, recorded and mixed the music myself so I thought I should release it myself. I think in an industry that’s always changing and evolving it’s good to be able to do things yourself.
What inspires Hypnosister?
I get inspiration from everywhere. Obviously, music and art inspire me, I’m constantly in search of anything outside the box that pushes boundaries. But I draw from a lot of other places. I’m inspired by dreams a lot; I’ve dreamt full finished songs before. I once dreamt I was watching through a window, as an atom bomb destroyed a town, there wasn’t any sound except this song that had just materialised out of nowhere playing in the background. People inspire me too; I believe that all people have the potential for so much good and so much empathy. The world is set up to prevent it, dividing people and creating a lot of hostility, but I believe it’s a part of the human spirit to come together and lift each other up. In the past year, we’ve seen a lot of people coming together to help each other in the face of adversity and atrocity, it gives me hope and inspires me to no end.
What else can the world expect this year from Hypnosister?
More music! I have a lot of songs recorded, and even more, songs written, which I’ll be putting out slowly on Sleep All Day Records over the next few months. The next step for Hypnosister, when the time is right, is to take the music to the stage.