In 2017, Peking Duk have shown no signs of slowing down. Adam Hyde and Reuben Styles’ never-ending stream of hits have captivated an international fanbase, with an infectious recipe of feel-good melodies, electrifying synths, and some of the catchiest melodies you’ve ever heard. With this distinct musical flavour held firmly in their hands, they’ve come back from the ARIA’s winning Song of the Year (Stranger feat. Elliphant), 130 million streams online, and the world itching for their long-awaited debut album.
That carefree nature their tracks radiate? I could hear it as Adam Hyde told stories of the places, legendary people, and ridiculous experiences their music has led them to.
Their latest single, Let You Down, is an anthem for those with a tendancy to fuck things up in a relationship. “It’s loosly based off the movie Candy, from Heath Ledger’s perspective. We felt like the happy melodies would be far more interesting with a sad story told through the lyrics.” says Adam. And those cheerful melodies were Adam’s impressive vocal debut, complimented by Icona Pop, the Swedish duo of ‘I Love It’ fame. So how did these two seemingly worlds-apart acts link up?
“We actually met Icona Pop on a flight from LA to Miami about 3 years ago, we were really hungover, and we didnt know who they were. They were really hung over too, and they’re like, “What did you guys do last night?” and I’m like “Oh we DJ’d at this club, what did you get up to?” And they’re like, “We saw these DJ’s at this club, they had long hair.” and then they realised “Oh my god, that was actually you!” We laughed it off, realised they were Icona Pop, and we stayed in touch. We went to Stockholm a few years later to record, and coincidently they were recording in the studio next to us. We hung out for a bit, showed them some new music, and then about a week after that, we wrote Let You Down. As we wrote the chorus, we were like “We need a big, female vocal for the chorus”, so we hit them up, and they sent something back in a matter of days, and it was just perfect, and that’s what you hear on the record.”
Recently, they’ve dropped the accompanying music video, which follows the hilarious misfortune of a young couple who just can’t seem to catch a break. Nazeem Hussain, who plays the lead male, said on the video, “I got to play a guy whose significant other would rather set herself on fire, jump into traffic, out of a car, and off a cliff – than fall in love with me. My ego was not bruised in the slightest in the making of this video.” Weirdly, the story is much more relatable than it seems on first glance. “Many people are in relationships where they know they are bringing the other person down, and then the hard part is telling them to leave so you don’t let them down.” says Adam.
Mid-way through the year, Peking Duk made a daring step into their next chapter. Transitioning from a DJ set to an almost entirely live performance, the duo debuted what was dubbed the “best set of Splendour 2017” (Pedestrian TV) at the awe-inspiring Amphitheatre during Splendour in the Grass. Alongside their live renditions of hits past and present, they brought AlunaGeorge, Ivan Ooze, Nicole Millar, and Vera Blue on stage to throw down, balanced with elements of the huge DJ sets they’re known for.
“It was more a matter of when, not if, for us. We didn’t start out writing these songs for a live setting, so when we wanted to make that transition, we had to fucking dissect it to be able to play it on guitars, drums, and strings, using samplers and keyboards. It was a long process, but it was definitely worth it in the end, now we’re just looking at making it bigger and better.” says Adam.
We don’t know how much bigger it can get. Following a wave of dates throughout Asia, the duo will bring the magic back to North Byron Parklands, guiding Falls Festival punters into 2018 with a bang. And Adam sees magic in the festival itself.
“Falls and Splendour in the Grass have something about them that is so fucking beautiful. I don’t know what the word is to sum it up, but I think the people that go to these festivals are just so great, you don’t see too many dickheads – everyone’s there for a good time, you know? Sure, there are some people there to be seen, and take pictures for their Instagram or whatever, but the majority of people are just genuine music lovers, and thats exactly what music festivals need.” he says.
As essentially a professional globetrotter, he’s noticed the differences between the Australian and American electronic scenes. “I think Americans are really into trends. There are some absolutely amazing American musicians, don’t get me wrong, but I feel like EDM in America is such a marketable thing, so there’ll be a big trap boom or a dubstep boom. It’s so genre-based that it sorta starts to get a bit shit, to be honest.”
“A lot of DJ culture is so cliquey in that genre sense, which is cool, but I think it’s kind of like high school sometimes. Again, in saying that, there are so many fucking talented people in America. But it oversaturates it, and then it means that trend is gonna die. I’ve never really fucked with chasing trends, because by the time you try and do it better than the people you’re jacking your shit off of, the trend is gonna be done.” he says.
Their long awaited debut album feels almost mythical at this point, but Adam reassured that 2018 will be the year. And they’re pulling out all the shots, with a range of unexpected styles, influenced by both their travels and love for all genres. “The opening song is like a psychedelic rock, acidy, Tarentino-like, picturesque song that we did with Cloud Control, which is dope. It’s definitely different to what people would know of as Peking Duk.” Adam told us.
In an interview with Cyclone of The Music, he says, “It’s been a taste of a lot of different places. It’s pretty much us accumulating all the different shit that we’ve experienced along our travels. We spent a lot of time in New York and LA after that and we really got immersed in hip hop and doing a bunch of experimentation with that and blending it with our sound. And then we went over to Stocktown and London. We got a lot of inspiration from Britpop in London and tried to fuse that with our stuff.” he said to Cyclone.
Having invested so much time and experimentation into making their debut release as close to perfection as possible, it’s probably best to expect something far beyond what you know of as Peking Duk. Until then, we’ll stay tuned.
Peking Duk are bringing punters into the New Year at Falls Festival 2017/18 across the country. See details right here.