AU ABROAD

the AU interview: Reuben Styles of Peking Duk (Canberra) talks Stereosonic, the origin of their name and David Hasselhoff


Photo by Daniel Boczarski, backstage at Lollapalooza

From touring the USA, electronic duo Peking Duk are gearing up for this year’s Stereosonic playing among the likes of Armin Van Buuren, Axwell & Ingrosso and DJ Snake. They have undoubtedly killed it these past couple of years with the success of their singles “High”, “Take Me Over” and now with their new single “Say My Name”. We had a chat to Reuben about the origin of their name, David Hasselhoff and of course Stereosonic.

Stereosonic is soon! What festival is a personal favourite to play?

I don’t know! Electric forest in Michigan was amazing. It was definitely the coolest festival setting I’ve ever seen. It was like you’re at a bush doof but three times as many things to do, and really cool stuff in the forest. You weren’t able to see 50 metres in front of you, so every 50 metres you’d walk there’d be a whole array of new things to discover. Obviously Coachella and Lollapalooza were just as crazy in every way. There are a lot of great festivals! But Stereosonic is definitely the best festival we have ever done. You get five shows all in the space of a week, so it’s pretty exciting.

"Say My Name" is a different style to your previous music, why the change?

Well I guess it’s just one of the styles that we’ve been experimenting with lately over the last six months. There are a lot of tunes with a lot of different styles and "Say My Name" just felt right to put out next, there wasn’t too much thinking involved. "Say My Name" was just the one where we all just decided yes, it’s going to be that one. No more planning than that, we just put it out.

Will the rest of the album follow its style?

Well no, I guess we’ve been working on a bunch of styles. We’ve got a lot of tunes in the works and they’re all from various styles, we’ve got a few rocky ones, there’s a few hip hop type ones and I guess a few funk ones. We’ve also got a bunch of real electronic ones and we were left wondering which one we put out. I guess it’ll follow suit where it doesn’t sound like "High" or "Take Me Over". A lot of the songs will incorporate that Peking Duk sound towards the end of the song like at the end of "Say My Name" there’s that big synth that goes a long with the la la’s. I guess it’s our little reminder that it’s us.

Peking Duk... how did you come up with the name?

We were with a bunch of friends, always going out and partying. It was like when we were 19 and we had this thing where if people were really off their chops, I guess at the peak of their night they would start doing the duck face. Some call it other things but we would call it Peking Duk. “Look at Brenton, he’s Peking Duk right now” yeah it was really just a case of one too many beers, and when you’ve had too many beers you don’t want to be caught Peking Duk. It was hilarious we’d be like look at him she’s Peking Duk or look at her she’s Peking Duk right now. I guess working on electronic music; it reminded us of the clubs that we went to when everyone was Peking Duk. We sort of just did it for a laugh we never thought we’d put out more than one song. *laughs* but we’re still doing it!

What inspired you to choose electronic music?

Well I guess we only really knew about rock and hip hop our whole lives and i guess jazz and classical and funk but we only really got into it at the end of high school, about 08-09. We kind of just discovered electronic music and it was around the time of bloody beetroots and we kind of realised it wasn’t all the same music that you’d hear at a $2 drinks night club. We were pretty excited to discover all these new sounds and new acts. We went to this club (it was called Lot 33) in Canberra and got very acquainted with that sound and that style, and immediately Adam and I were like... How do you do that? What are they even doing up there? We were just so confused by how awesome it was. As soon as we could we went out and bought a pair of turn tables and production software. We honestly spent ages messing around with Reason (producing software); they have a lot of good synths!

Peking Duk - Say My Name (Live Tour Video)

SAY MY NAME (TOUR VIDEO) IS HERE!official video ft a v special guest drops in a couple weeks.get the track here: http://pekin.gs/buysmn

Posted by Peking Duk on Wednesday, 26 August 2015

But a friend of ours got us into Ableton and it really changed the game for us. That was the point when we really just got obsessed... because everything was so much easier! Like to map things out and you could just drag samples directly into the program, it changed everything and we just became obsessed. Next minute we had a song ready to put out, we didn’t really know if it was good but we put it on iTunes, it didn’t really get much attention but it was really fun the whole process of it all. When we first started it was so nightclub but as we’ve progressed it’s really getting less and less club and more whatever goes.

So do you feel like you’re making the music that you wanted to make now?

Yes, definitely. It’s really going back to the rock and hip hop roots.

We’ve all seen the David Hasselhoff video, how did that come about?

Yeah that was pretty crazy! Adam was out in LA and started drinking with a few friends from Australia. I was off somewhere else and Adam started drinking with these guys and ended up going a little bar crawl. Right at the end of the night, one of the of the guys was like “oh yeah by the way I manage David Hasselhoff”.

The next day we were thinking about all the things we’d done with like how we got Karl Stefanovic to do Stereosonic last year, how are we remotely going to top Karl Stefanovic. Put simply... you can’t top him, you just have to find something as good and we wracked our brains and then Adam was like “Oh yeah I was drinking with the hoffs manager last night” and straight away I was like this is the best thing in the world. So we hit him up and his manager straight away loved the idea and said yeah and within a week they’d sent us that awesome video.

What are your goals/plans for the next year?

For the next year I guess keep making tunes and keep playing shows! We’re definitely working on an album but we’re perfectionists so instead of just putting out everything we have we’re going to write some more and then write some more and then do a big trim back. If there’s a song we’re 90% on then maybe that song won’t make the album. I think the album is definitely going to be a big piece of us.

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Catch Peking Duk at Stereosonic joining Major Lazer Armin Van Buuren, Axwell & Ingrosso, DJ Snake, Galantis, Clean Bandit and more. Tickets and more details are available here: http://stereosonic.com.au/. To find out more about what the band are up to, head to the Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pekingduk