Set to embark on a run of dates down the East Coast following the ever-growing success of their debut Forever So, Husky are one of this year’s fastest rising acts, the band receiving plenty of love from triple j as well as critics at large. Soft and subtle folk at its core, although fleshed out with some traditional rock instrumentation, Husky make personal music with a broad public appeal, much in the vein of fellow triple j golden children Mumford & Sons.
We caught up with the guys to discuss their inspirations and motivations as well as the success of Forever So and their upcoming shows.
MF: Forever So has been doing very well; how does it feel to have people responding with such positivity to your music?
H: It’s early days, but it’s a great feeling. I think it’s a real privilege to have people want to listen to your songs, your words, your music. When you’re writing and recording you have no idea how people will respond, so there is some sort of leap of faith you have to take, or risk you have to take. Not that you write and record so much with that in mind, but there is always the knowledge that at some point people are going to be hearing what you’re creating and you have no idea what they will think.
MF: What do you think it is about the music that has seen it resonate with so many?
H: That’s very hard for me to answer, being so close to the songs. They resonated with me while I wrote them and while we recorded them, so perhaps it is the similarities we all share as people that mean it resonates with some who listen to it. It’s a bit of a mystery to me though, why some things resonate and why some don’t. But I think if you do things from an honest place, they are more likely to, perhaps.
MF: What is it that draws you to making the kind of music you do? Where do you draw inspiration from?
H: There are so many things that inspire a person. How do you pinpoint them? For me, the inspiration stems from the songs and the songs generally stem from a feeling or emotion, often one that seems to come out of the blue, but can also come from a person I’m talking to or a book I’m reading or music I’m hearing or the sun streaming in my window. The feeling then leads me to the subject of the song and then once the song is born, the hard work begins: arranging it; producing it; performing it – the band and I put a lot of work into that.
MF: The music strikes me as being very personal; does a lot of it stem from your own experiences?
H:I think everything a person writes comes from their own experience, but that doesn’t mean I’m reporting the facts of my life. I can have an experience with a character from a novel, which triggers a feeling I had, say, years ago and had forgotten about. I might then write about this experience I’m having, with this character from this novel, which is laced with feelings and experiences from my own life, but is not strictly a personal anecdote. Still, I think you’re right that it’s personal. It feels personal.
MF: How do you tend to write, lyrics first or music first, and how much attention do you pay to making sure the two reflect where each other are coming from?
H: Most of the time, a lyric comes to me and inspires me to write a song. Then I start to compose the melody and chords around that lyric and continue to expand on the lyrics at the same time. So I’m usually writing the lyrics and the music at the same time and therefore they both influence each other and come from a similar place.
MF: Obviously a big part of your success has to do with triple j; how important do you think it is for upcoming bands to get support from them?
H: Extremely important! I don’t know the ins and outs of other band’s careers, but for us it has opened many doors and made some things possible that weren’t before.
MF: Was that a consideration when you first began writing the songs?
H: No. It was a conscious decision not to ever write in that way. Of course, you never know what’s happening subconsciously – perhaps our subconsciouses were planning this all along! To be honest, I’m surprised (very pleasantly) at the radio success this record has had so far. I wasn’t expecting it.
MF: Australia is a fairly difficult country in which to make a decent living from music, what with having such a small population spread out across such a vast landscape and all, so is heading overseas something you’re looking to start doing?
H: For now, we’re excited to release the record here and get out on tour around Australia. Heading overseas may happen and that would be great, at the right time. I’m trying to take it a day at a time.
MF: The music itself, though, strikes me as having a very Australian appeal, of having very Australian themes and inspirations; how do you think that might translate to audiences overseas?
H: Again, I have no idea how people will respond overseas. I think these things are mysterious. I’m told that Leonard Cohen had a huge following in Japan back in the day. My old man tells me he was at a concert there and they had his lyrics translated into Japanese on big screens. I find that surprising that Japan would respond so well to an artist like Leonard Cohen, whose appeal is so much about his lyrics and the subtlety therein. But it’s a mystery, and that’s part of what’s amazing about music. I hope they like us in Japan, too!
MF: You’ve got some dates approaching; how do the songs translate live? Do you tend to recreate the studio recordings or try and breathe something new into them?
H: We are a four-piece live. The record doesn’t sound like a four-piece. So we certainly don’t try to do exactly what the record does, and I don’t think that approach is necessarily the best approach. The live setting is so different; there is such a different set of rules and variables. But the songs translate well live and we work extremely hard on our show. What we can’t do live that we can do on the record, we make up for with the things we can do live that we can’t do on the record!
MF: What else should we look out for from you guys in the future?
H: I’m not sure. So far the journey has been nothing like I expected. So I think it best to expect the unexpected. But look out for us, we’ll be around!
Husky 2011 Australian Tour Dates
Sun Nov 6 – Republic Bar, Hobart
Thu Nov 10 – Clarendon Guest House, Katoomba
Fri Nov 11 – The Northern Star, Newcastle
Sat Nov 12 – The Standard, Sydney
Sun Nov 13 – Brass Monkey, Cronulla
Thu Nov 17 – Amplifier, Perth
Fri Nov 18 – Ed Castle, Adelaide
Sat Nov 19 – Shine On Festival, Lexton
Thu Nov 24 – The Corner Hotel, Melbourne
Fri Nov 25 – Karova Lounge, Ballarat
Sat Nov 26 – Mullum Festival, Mullumbimby
Sun Nov 27 – Mullum Festival, Mullumbimby
Thu Dec 1 – Joe’s Waterhole, Eumundi
Venue: (07) 5442 8144
Fri Dec 2 – Alhambra, Brisbane