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Hungry Kids of Hungary Stay Close to Home for Debut Disc
Queenslanders finally drop their debut after a pair of promising EPs
For Brisbane-based indie pop quartet Hungry Kids Of Hungary, the three-year path to their debut album was paved with transcontinental correspondence, two EP releases, and a stack of national tours supporting the likes of OK Go, Little Birdy and Bertie Blackman.
Escapades took shape in the suburban home of producer Matt Redlich, with whom the band recorded their second EP, last year’s Mega Mountain. Over cold drinks on a warm Brisbane day, singer/guitarist Dean McGrath and singer/keyboardist Kane Mazlin reflect on a recording process that began in January 2010 and concluded six months later.
Ultimately, the band were faced with a choice: record with a familiar face in a comfortable, inexpensive environment, or return to Tony Buchen’s studio in Sydney, where the band recorded earlier single “Let You Down”.
As an indie band faced with financial realities, though, the decision to remain Brisbane-bound seemed simple. ”We love Matt’s recording space,” says McGrath. “It’s underneath his house; it’s just cosy, and suits us down in the ground. There’s a pool out the back. We started recording in January – when it was far hotter than this – so we could do takes and then go for a swim. I was interested in doing something different and pushing us out of our comfort zone, but I think the right decision got made in the end.”
The band also found that removing time and money constraints had a positive effect on their songwriting. “We actually did some pre-production this time,” reveals Mazlin, in reference to an exhaustive process of rehearsal, deconstruction and rearrangement of each song.
“Sometimes you end up putting it together exactly the same as you started,” says McGrath,”but I think it’s a dangerous thing to have an album’s worth of songs ready and then just recording those 12. The cool thing about stretching it out over a long time is there’s four songs on the record now that weren’t written at the start of the recording process.”
Hungry Kids formed in mid-2007. Drummer Ryan Strathie had played in separate bands with both Mazlin and bassist Ben Dalton; McGrath was a mutual friend. As McGrath and Mazlin share vocal duties, the band agonised over Escapades‘ tracklisting. “It was always going to be a little tricky for us to make everything flow,” says Mazlin. “But I think we managed it.”
When asked to pinpoint the band’s sound, McGrath is laconic. “Pop’s the simplest way to describe it. It’s what we do. I think it’s unnecessarily complicated to give it a whole bunch of sub-genres.”