OTW #457: Stubborn Heart

Electronic Soul
Ones To Watch - Stubborn Heart

Ten years of making radar-evading sounds precede Luca Santucci and Ben Fitzgerald, our protagonist duo, and Luca even admits to a brief flirtation with “death-folk”.

One day, they decided to press a particular track on vinyl. A white label was made for ‘Need Someone’, printed in an unsteady, condensed font. Their email address below; a hanging tit of a gesture. Two hundred copies were dropped into Rough Trade. “We stopped trying to think about what people might want to hear and we started making music for ourselves,” begins Luca. “I knew ‘Need Someone’ was a good track. We tried to do it in one take. Capture some feeling and emotion.” Suddenly, major labels swooned, but the duo chose XL. A spell with subsidiary label Kaya Kaya resulted in the ‘Need Someone EP’, before a switch to One Little Indian for the album release.

Everything from pop to brostep has been slapped across the personified face of Stubborn Heart, like dead pilchards in a Monty Python sketch. The reality of their sound is very simple, and very different. They are two individuals with a penchant for Northern Soul, a wizard-like wield of loop software, and one broken heart that begs to manifest lyrically. The  result isn’t ‘bro-step’, it’s electronic soul  for the effervescently forlorn. The kind of music to sway stylishly to, teary eyed, in a smoky club, or a devastated disco, whilst repeatedly screaming the names of all your exes.

Their finished album reflects their production. Ever-changing sounds that can flit from stonking bass and clapping percussion to calculated moments of sudden chill, all led beautifully by the fulgurant heartbreak that haunts Luca’s vocals. Yet it wasn’t as smooth a process as it all sounds: “I drove Ben crazy; I had to keep going back and kept changing things... He just put his foot down; ‘No, this is it’,” concludes Luca.

Words: Joe Zadeh
Photography: Cameron Alexander

WHERE: London
WHAT: Electronic Soul
GET 3 SONGS: Need Someone, Better Than This, Starting Block
UNIQUE FACT: Ben used to have his studio in Whitechapel, making demos for all the local Grime and R'n'B kids.

BLUE JACKET BY WON HUNDRED, BLACK JACKET BY CARHARTT WORK IN PROGRESS,
ALL OTHER CLOTHING ARTIST’S OWN

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