Interview: Husky

31 August 2012

Husky, one of Melbourne’s finest newcomers, now well and truly a part of the international music community, took the time to chat with James Burgmann shortly after their hour-long set at Melbourne Uni’s North Court. Overcoming extreme jetlag and fatigue, they managed to muster up the energy to discuss their amazing album, Forever So, fake moustaches, and Jack Kerouac.

How was opening for The Shins last night?

Husky Gawenda: I stayed to watch them after our set. But I was really jetlagged. We only got back from the US yesterday, all the way from Seattle!

Triple J unearthed really help boost you. Do you think movements like these are integral to maintaining a vibrant music scene?

HG: Yes! In America, Europe, and the UK there doesn’t seem to be that much grassroots kind of thing there. Having them doesn’t mean that every unknown band that deserves to be heard is heard, but it does mean that some unknown bands get heard. It’s hard to break through.

Gideon Preiss: With all the touring with been doing the last few years, you come across a lot of bands—great bands—who are struggling and doing it tough.

Where would Husky be if you hadn’t won Triple J Unearthed?

HG: That’s a good question! We were recording Forever So at my house in Melbourne. We were completely unknown; playing gigs and had perhaps a small following. We talked about what we wanted from the album. Our aim was fairly humble: we’ll just get on the road and play a few shows. We never imagined all this, touring the US and Europe.

With your popularity has come a heavier tour demand. Have you guys had to adjust to this lifestyle change?

GP: The answer is a definite “affirmative”.

HG: I guess our lifestyles have flipped completely. Before Forever So we were working part-time jobs, playing some shows as a band—but the other guys were doing gigs with other bands. These days we don’t have time for part-time jobs; we’re never here, we’re never home.

Opening for the likes of Noah and the Whale and Gotye must have made for some amazing experiences. What’s been a highlight?

GP: A lot of the experiences I’ve really enjoyed with other bands is just hanging out, those relationships you build over the length of a tour—they’re really special.

Forever So has a lovely instrumental texture, do you all function as multi-instrumentalists in the studio?

HG: Yeah. I played bits and pieces of instruments I don’t really play. Like I played a banjo on a song, but I don’t really play banjo at all. It was more a “texture”.

GP: You have to be versatile to some extent. When you’re making a record you’re not going to hire someone to play a triangle part!

What’s just over the horizon for Husky as a band, a new album?

HG: Definitely, maybe towards the end of 2013. We don’t have any firm plans yet; we’ve been on the road constantly all year and we will be on the road pretty much constantly for the rest of the year. But I’ve been writing while we’ve been travelling, so we’re definitely looking towards it.

Now, what does “Going to heaven with a fake moustache” mean?

HG: Well what does it mean to you?

It seems like a quirky, cryptic Kerouac-esque line, a Beat Poet’s touch.

HG: I’ve just been reading Kerouac’s The Dharma Bums.

GP: I’ve been reading On The Road.

HG: It means anything I guess. To me it means… [pauses to think] If you’ve been a bad person, to get into heaven you may have to wear a fake moustache, you may have to go in disguise. But these things are elastic, it doesn’t necessarily matter what I intended them to mean.

This record has been my most popular music-related gift in the past year. Do you think my Grandma would like it for her birthday?

HG: That’s a really interesting question. I’d like to imagine it doesn’t matter how old you are, that music or any art can speak to anybody of any age. From little kids who are just feeling the beat—tapping into something really pure—to old people who perhaps aren’t so hip, but they still feel that same thing, that universal thing we all feel when we listen to music.

GP: I think for sure, you should give it to your grandma! You don’t want the music you’re creating to only appeal to a hip kind of crew. You want to transcend that.

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