Words by Oliver Marshall
Peking Duk are home after a huge set of shows across the U.S., and are about to get straight back on the horse with a mammoth national tour across Australia, as well as slots at this year's Splendour in the Grass.
The boys (Reuben Styles and Adam Hyde) have been busy writing new songs and touring hard. We caught up to talk new music, and all about their upcoming Australian dates.
Reuben Styles, one half of Peking Duk, says he can’t wait to get out on their Australian tour, and is especially excited to be playing both regional and city shows this time 'round.
“We’ve been wanting to do a tour like this where we get to do all the regional shows and all the capital cities in one,” he said.
“In the past, we’ve done regionals, and we’ve done cities, and you know that some people can think they’re missing out if we’re just hitting capitals. It’s good to be able to scoot around and hit everywhere, and make it easy for people who want to come down and have a little boogie.”
The tour is called Clowntown and, as Reuben explains, it’s a philosophy for how they want their shows to go.
“Clowntown has become a bit of a way of life for us. It all started a couple of years ago up in the Gold Coast — Adam (other half of Peking Duk) was like, 'Are you down to clown?' and I was like, 'What?'. He was asking the cab driver, and he was like, 'I don’t know'. Then I realised it was 'are you down to have fun', to have a boogie with the boys. The cab driver was like 'no sir, thank-you sir', then dropped us off, but let’s just say Clowntown was the place we wanted to end up at every night,” he said.
“Hopefully everyone we come across on the way to Clowntown was down to clown, otherwise they weren’t coming to Clowntown,” exclaimed Styles.
The Clowntown tour will also feature rising stars in the urban hip-hop game Ivan Ooze and Mallrat, so when put to Reuben if there was a chance of Peking Duk crossing over into hip-hop genres, there was a surprising response.
“Yeah, we got a couple of demos in the work that have rappers on the verses, and it’s something we never thought about closing the door on, but we even have a song that I’m not going to say is country — it feels very western, more in a Tarantino style, more spaghetti western, not like fucking big Americana rubbish,” he says.
So, new music is coming, but when quizzed on whether there will be an album, the answer was less clear.
“Potentially, I don’t know. It’s a really good question — I do love albums, I love in every way how an album can take you to different places throughout its structure,” said Styles.
“As Spotify will prompt, there is a big green button that says 'shuffle play', and already that’s taken away half the artistry of the album, when you don’t play it from the intro to the ending,”
“I guess what I’m getting to is we probably will do an album (laughs), but I guess it’s sad, 'cause I know however much time we put into it, it’s not going to mean as much as it could have 10 years ago,” he says.
Album or no album, the songs in the works sound pretty exciting, and Reuben even gave away a few teasers for who might feature on upcoming tracks.
“We may be collaborating with a few people. One of them may be Al from Cloud Control, one of them may be AlunaGeorge, and one of them may be Daniel Johns. Okay — I’m going to say at least one of those names will be on a song coming out,” Styles teased.
After all that, it seemed appropriate to talk about Reuben’s new found philosophy on downstairs grooming.
“Turns out trimming your pubes is totally unnecessary, when you grow them long enough, you can start to dread-lock them — you can bleach them. If you trim them too short, what can you do with them? Once they’re bleached white, you can make them any colour you want!” he exclaims.
You can catch Peking Duk at one of their national Clowntown gigs, including a stop-off in Adelaide on May 18 at Fat Controller (event here), and Splendour in the Grass over winter. Keep an eye out for new music on their website here.