Interview: Melbourne indie duo Husky discuss shark encounters, new LP ‘Punchbuzz,’ and more

husky interview

Australian indie folk duo Husky have woven a rich tapestry of moods and influences on their new LP, Punchbuzz. The album was informed by a year spent in Berlin as well as a return to Melbourne, where Punchbuzz was recorded. The result is an album that conjures European sunsets, the view from the window of a transcontinental train, and bonfires on the beach. For proof, listen to the wistful, driving Punchbuzz single ‘Ghost’ below. Punchbuzz is due June 2nd on Nevado Music.

Husky are the duo of Husky Gawenda and Gideon Preiss. Husky Gawenda answered an email interview with Culture Creature; read his answers below.

Culture Creature: How did Husky evolve on Punchbuzz?

Husky Gawenda: In their earliest stages, the songs were coming out punchier, more up-tempo, with a slightly darker edge. So we had to treat them differently. It meant exploring different feels, different kinds of drum and bass approaches, different guitar sounds and synth sounds. Sonically and musically we explored further than we have before; we were more open, more free. As a result, Punchbuzz is a very different record than our first two.

You wrote parts of Punchbuzz while you were overlooking Berlin from a 13th floor apartment there. Can you describe that view and Berlin’s impact on your music?

A lot of the lyrics began on that balcony. It faced the sunset. So I’d watch the sun go down and the sky overlooking the sprawling city turn electric shades of pinks and oranges and reds. And then I would write into the night, in between our nightly escapades into the dark belly of Berlin. It’s a nocturnal city and that dark, enthralling, thrilling tone of the city made its way into the album, I think.

You also worked on the album in a Melbourne hotel that has been described as a teeming artists’ collective. What was the scene and community like there?

I moved into the Hotel when I arrived back from Berlin and have been there ever since. Most of the record was written and demoed there. There are always interesting people coming and going: artists, musicians, eccentrics. Colourful days and nights. Parties. Feasts. Fires. Friends. A creative electricity in the air.

How would you describe the collaborative relationship between yourself and Gideon Preiss?

We’re very close collaborators. The songs either begin with me and then go straight to Gideon to begin fleshing them out, or they start with us both and then get fleshed out lyrically by me. We build them together. Imagine them together. And then we labour over them together until they are living, breathing, moving things.

Can you share a memorable surfing experience?

I surfed with dolphins a couple of months ago. They come out in the summer, when the water is warmer. It was early morning. I was out alone for about an hour before the other surfers woke up and joined me. But in that hour, not long after sunrise – the water glistening and the sky a soft, hazy blue – I spotted a pod of dolphins coming towards me. We surfed together for a while, until some other surfers came, and off they went.

You have a song called ‘Shark Fin.’ Have you had any memorable shark encounters while surfing?

I went out for a surf one morning when a giant rotting whale carcass had washed up on the beach. I could smell it from up on the lookout where I’d parked my van. I spoke to a couple of old surfers who were checking out the swell who said they were in the water that morning and said they saw a few big shadows passing underneath them headed for the whale. The sharks smell it from miles away. Those surfers had been surfing there for 40 years and never seen a shark before that. My friend and I looked at each other, nodded, knowing full well that we had better give the surf a miss that day. Then we hopped in the water and had a great surf. The only shark I saw was my mate who kept catching my waves.

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