Peking Duk Talk Their Debut LP, The Australian Takeover & Some Wild Adventures: Idolator Interview

Bianca Gracie | February 27, 2015 7:00 am
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We at Idolator are big fans of the current dance movement (Just Kiddin, Penguin Prison, The Knocks, Kygo, etc.), and the latest act to emerge on the scene is Peking Duk! The Australian natives have been steadily releasing fun music over the past few years, but are now picking up speed in America — thanks to songs like “High,” “Take Me Over” and their cover of Kylie Minogue‘s 2001 pop classic — “Can’t Get You Out Of My Head.”

The electronic music duo, comprised of Adam Hyde and Reuben Styles, sat down with us for a chat where they discussed their forthcoming album, recording in Mumbai and an interesting social “excursion.” Check out the interview, as well as their upcoming North American tour dates, below!

How did you two first meet?
REUBEN STYLES: It was actually at a skate park in Canberra, our home town. We were in year 7 or 8 in high school. Inline skating was my shtick! [laughs]
ADAM HYDE: Everyone knows everyone in Canberra. We went to different high schools but moved around in the same circles.

So why did you decide on music instead of becoming professional skateboarders?
AH: I actually really wanted to be a skater, but it didn’t really work out that way!
RS: I remember [pro skater] Chris Haffey, my idol, explained his salary in an interview once and I was like “Whoa!” Let’s just say it’s definitely for the love.

Who were your musical inspirations when growing up?
RS: Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix, Beck, Dr. Dre…Megadeath! The list just goes on and on.

Do you try to incorporate those sounds into your own style?
AH: All the time. The stuff that we’re working on now has hip-hop, pop and rock which definitely comes from our influences.
RS: Our music is a mutt, it has no definition.

So where did the name Peking Duk come from? Do you guys just like Chinese food a lot?
RS: It doesn’t have anything to do with food! After too many beers, everyone just starts doing really stupid duck faces. It was a thing we used to say to our friends like “Oh look at Jim, he’s peking duck right now” and it just became a thing. We associated it with nightclubbing because when we first started making music we were doing really clubby music.
AH: We were partying a lot and doing naughty things!
RS: [The name] is a reflection of that time and it just feels natural to be Peking Duk.

I love the Kylie Minogue cover you did of “Can’t Get You Out Of My Head,” and I wanted to know if there were any other pop divas who you’re into?
AH: For sure! Lady Gaga is sick, Adele is dope. I love some Rihanna songs, I’m not gonna lie! We’d be down for doing another cover.

I feel like there’s a new wave of up-and-coming dance producers like Kygo, Snakehips, Flume, and ODESZA. How do you think you fit into the scene?
RS: Ours isn’t on that tip so much, it’s a little more uptempo. They do more of the chillwave sound.
AH: Flume is a great inspiration and a friend of ours. He opened the doors for a lot of people to do that slower stuff. It’s good! There are a lot of producers out now who are doing some great shit.

Are there any artists that you’d like to collaborate with in the future?
AH: Yes! Kanye West, Julian Casablancas [of The Strokes], Drake. The wishlist is pretty much endless.

Did you feel it was easier for you guys to get into the U.S. market because this new dance scene is so loved right now?
AH: It’s definitely a good time to be doing dance music, because it is all on the come up. But we haven’t really broke into the U.S. yet.
RS: Each show has been really good, and the tour is about to start. That should be the true test.

How are people responding to your fame back home in Australia?
AH: It’s crazy back home. We want to try and translate that vibe here, that’s our goal.

You recently won the 2014 ARIA Award for Best Dance Release, what was your reaction?
RS: We didn’t even plan a speech or anything! I was drinking red wine at the time.
AH: It was the first award off the ranks, and we were like “Oh god!”
RS: We had to think of something to say. So I grabbed a bottle of water to wash the red out of my teeth. We were a frantic mess!

I wanted to know the thought process behind your visuals, because they actually have a plot compared to many videos out nowadays?
AH: Our videographer Jeff Johnson comes up with these concepts. We’ll send him the demos and he’ll come back to us with an idea, then from there we work it out. But he’s a genius! He likes to be a bit dark.
RS: And [the videos] are getting a bit darker too! He’s really showing his colors [laughs].
AH: But I think it’s good to have a some emotion in a clip.
RS: The first one he did with us was super funny, bright and bubbly. Somehow each video now is getting a bit more deep, the mood is really starting to strike!
AH: With dance videos, there are usually hot chicks at a pool party type of thing. So our stuff being different is good.

How is the album recording process going?
AH: We got to record in Mumbai, which was cool. We got to play the sitar and the tabla drums. We did a bunch of shows out there, and then we spent a week in the studio.
RS: They filmed Bollywood movies there; it was the most amazing studio I’ve ever seen in my life.

Are you bringing in any other producers in the studio with you?
RS: It’s more of working with guitarists, bass player and vocalists. That is more exciting for us because then we can be the producers.

How about what’s happening on the radio? What are your favorite tracks to listen to at the moment?
RS: I’m loving D’Angelo’s new album [Black Messiah], and SBTRKT’s album is really good.
AH: Meek Mill’s new song “B-Boy” is sick. FKA twigs is great too. There’s a lot of good music out right now. There was a little lull before, and now it’s picking back up.

I feel like there is currently an Aussie takeover in the music industry. First it was the UK kids, but now we have Sia, Chet Faker, Vance Joy, Iggy Azalea and more.
RS: It’s good! But something we don’t want to do is be like, “Hey we’re Australian too!”
AH: At the end of the day, music is music no matter where it comes from. Like Iceland, for example. They have so many amazing acts. Where’s the credit for Iceland?!

I follow you guys on Instagram and you seem to have some fun excursions!
AH: We had a good excursion last night. I feel like every night is crazy.
RS: We were at a speakeasy, and it was a strange experience. Just walking through a telephone box into a bar, it was cool. I think we’re going to employ someone to start documenting everything, because it’s pretty funny!


2/27 — Austin, TX — Stubbs (w/ Big Gigantic)

2/28 —Dallas, TX — House of Blues (w/ Big Gigantic)

3/4 — Montreal, QC — Petit Campus

3/6 —Detroit, MI —Elektricity

3/12 — Calgary, AB —Commonwealth

3/18 — Austin, TX —SXSW – Pandora Discovery Den @ The Gatsby,3:00 p.m.

3/20 —New York, NY —Webster Hall

3/27 —Miami, FL —Nikki Beach

3/28 —Toronto, ON — Tattoo

4/8 — Portland, OR —Whiskey Bar

4/10 — Indio, CA — Coachella

4/11 — Seattle, WA — Q

4/17 — Indio, CA — Coachella

6/25-28 —Rothbury, MI — Electric Forest

8/7-9 — Squamish, BC — Squamish Valley Music Festival

Interested in seeing Peking Duk in concert? Click here to purchase tickets for their tour.

Get an eyeful of even more pop music coverage, from artist interviews to exclusive performances, on Idolator’s YouTube channel.