Middle Kids’ Hannah Joy On Touring, Recording & The Band’s “Reflective” New Music

Sydney’s Middle Kids have been taking the Aussie indie-rock scene by storm. The 3-piece released their debut album Lost Friends in 2018. This album was named number 5 on triple j’s Top 10 Albums of 2018 and featured hit single ‘Edge of Town’, which currently has more than 25 million streams on Spotify (and has been stuck in my head for the better part of a year!).

There’s a lot going on in the Middle Kids camp. This year, the band released a new EP, entitled New Songs For Old Problems. It was produced by the band’s own Tim Fitz and recorded at the band’s Sydney studio. Also, Hannah Joy and Tim Fitz announced they were expecting a baby.

The band have just come back from recording their follow-up album in the US and are currently completing a headline tour around Australia. We caught up with Hannah to chat about the band’s tour, recording the new album while pregnant, and The Great British Bake Off.

Music Feeds: Congrats on the baby!

Hannah Joy: Thank you!

MF: Have you been playing the baby any music?

HJ: [laughs] Well, we’ve just finished recording the album, so he has heard these twelve songs over and over again, the poor dude. He must be like “okaaay”. I actually am like, so curious as to what it sounds like for him. Or how loud it is. I’m like, scared. Please be okay in there!, while I’m like, yelling at the top of my lungs [laughs].

MF: So, how has that been going, the recording in the US?

HJ: Awesome! We weren’t sure if we would be able to like, get an album done before the baby came, but we did, so we’re like, so freaking stoked. So, it just means now we can kinda like, start releasing some music early next year and get in the flow of that. We worked with a producer in a studio, which we’ve never done before. We always kind of make our records at home, so we’re kind of stepping out, levelling up.

MF: How is it different from your previous releases, and how is it similar?

HJ: It is different in that, it’s actually a bit slower in tempo. I think with our first record it was like, kind of intense, it was just like “arrrggh, all of the things”, and I think that this is probably a little more reflective, and there’s more kind of, space and quiet moments, which has been pretty cool.

MF: There was a picture posted on your Instagram last week of you guys hanging out in the studio with Cold War Kids. Is that a hint of an upcoming collab or tour?

HJ: Well, they have become good friends of ours because we did our first big American tour supporting them. And, so we actually got Nate to come in and play on a couple of things, which is pretty cool ’cause he’s like a pretty whacky musician, so yes, there’ll be a bit of a feature there.

MF: Do you have any other features on the album that you can disclose at all?

HJ: Not at this point, actually. Honestly, I don’t even know what I could say [laughs]. Like, you know I’ve just got that… But yeah, nah, not at this point.

MF: What kind of music have you been listening to, personally, at the moment.

HJ: Actually, honestly, in the past few months, I haven’t been listening to much. Oh God, yeah, I really haven’t been… I think I’ve just been so locked in that writing zone that I’ve barely listened to a single thing.

The one record, actually, while we were over in LA… there’s this guy called (Sandy) Alex G. He is freaking awesome, he just released a record, and I actually did give that a couple of spins over the last couple of weeks, and that’s amazing.

MF: Have you been watching anything on Netflix or reading any good books, or any other media you’ve been consuming?

HJ: Actually, yes! So, there is this show called The Great British Bake Off.

MF: Oh, yes!

HJ: DUDE! It is like a balm unto my soul! I don’t know how to watch it in Australia, I don’t have the right platform, I guess. So, when we were over in America we’d just be in the studio and then I’d come back after a big session and I would just put this on, and it would just like, kinda, wash over me. And I’ve just been dreaming about cakes! But actually, since then, I have been making my own bread rolls, ’cause they’re amazing.

MF: Ooh, okay! What kind of bread rolls?

HJ: They’re like delicious, soft, dinner rolls. Oh my gosh, they’re so yummy! But, yeah, I’ve been watching that a lot. Like, just kind of, more… pretty numbing things to watch. A lot of Seinfeld. But, nothing too intense while we were making the album, because you just kinda want to escape a little bit, I think.

MF: Do you have any particular standout songs on the album so far, that you’re sort of thinking will be singles, or are a particular favourite of yours?

HJ: Um, I don’t know, to be honest, it’s still fresh. But I think like, there’s a lot more… kind of more keyboards on it, which is really cool, which I’ve been loving. But, yeah, I don’t know about standouts… yet.

MF: Still gotta take some time, listen back on them and stuff?

HJ: Totally! I still feel like I’m actually just getting to know it again, you know?

MF: You’re touring Australia this month. What are you most looking forward to about your upcoming headlining shows?

HJ: Well, we are so excited to be playing these particular venues! I mean, some of them are like, my favourite to go to as a listener, so that’s gonna be super fun. And like, it’s just cool, when you play bigger shows you get to like, have more fun with like, cool lights and cool moments. So, I think that’s gonna be really fun, and I mean, it’s gonna be cool that I’m gonna be freaking huge. Like, I have no idea how it’s gonna go, but I just think like, it’s gonna be really fun just kind of rolling around on the stage [laughs].

MF: That’d definitely be a really interesting experience!

HJ: And I think because the tour is shaped around this EP and this EP is a lot of fun and a lot of energy, I think we’re just gonna have like, a really good time, and I think our shows tend to be like, big sing-a-longs, so I think we’re just looking forward to having a sing with everyone.

MF: What do you do for downtime in-between shows, while you’re on the road? Do you like to read, do you like to sight-see…

HJ: Yes, we kind of do all of that! We love reading. We always find like, a bookshop when we’re in a city. Then, we will go for walks. Walking’s really good ’cause you’re like, travelling, sitting a lot, you gotta move. And then we also play lots of games, so like, Bananagrams, Yahtzee, Monopoly Deal – the classics. Anything that’s kind of more-transportable, actually. 500, great card game.

Especially like… I can’t drink. I try not to drink when I’m on tour, anyway. But like, we always just try and find other things to do. I mean, something cool about touring too is you get to see friends in different cities. And I just like catching up with people, and eating, obviously!

MF: That sounds really fun, that sounds like really wholesome touring experiences! So, obviously there’s the baby on the way, but what else is on the cards for Middle Kids in 2020?

HJ: Well, I think we’ll probably have our first single out early next year, and then we’ll get back on the road, you know? Probably head over to America around that time and start touring there. ‘Cause, you know, it’s like, when you’re trying to do America and Europe, you’ve just kinda gotta keep doing laps. So, yeah, then hopefully the album will drop midway through the year.

MF: It’s coming to the end of the year now, so I try and ask this question, but I understand if you don’t have an answer as it’s November. Do you have any New Year’s Resolutions in mind?

HJ: New Years Resolutions! Oh my gosh, I haven’t even thought! One thing I would love though, which I doubt, would be to keep my vegetable garden alive. It always dies ’cause of touring, and I just… this crop, I just really want it to live on. But, I don’t know if that’s ever going to happen. I don’t think you can be a gardener and a touring musician… I think you’ve gotta pick one.

Middle Kids continue their national tour this week in Sydney. Remaining tour dates below.

Middle Kids ‘New Songs For Old Problems’ Tour 2019

Thursday, 14th November

Enmore Theatre, Sydney (AA)

Tickets: Handsome Tours

Sunday, 17th November

Forum Melbourne (18+)

Tickets: Handsome Tours

Thursday, 21st November

The Tivoli, Brisbane (AA)

Tickets: Handsome Tours

Thursday, 28th November

HQ Complex, Adelaide (AA)

Tickets: Handsome Tours

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