Popular assumptions for ‘the middle child’: forgettable, quiet, self-doubting. Middle Kids – the indie-pop trio from Sydney – are none of those things, despite what the name might suggest.
Last year, their stellar and self-assured debut single ‘Edge Of Town’ saw them achieve global acclaim, as well as being picked up by surprising tastemaker Elton John on his Beats 1 radio show. To celebrate their new single and video for ‘Never Start’, we spoke to lead singer Hannah Joy about what it was like for the group to go from solo acts into a band, how easy it is to know when you’ve penned a hit, and why they deliberately shone torches in their eyes for their new video.
Was your progression of going from solo artists to a band fairly straightforward or did it take some adjustment? Has it taught you anything new?
“It was fairly straightforward in that we found ourselves naturally moving towards being a band. It did take (and still does take) some wriggling into but the wriggle produces a healthy dynamic. We have way more fun performing together.”
Do you get a positive gut feeling when you write a song that you know will be a hit like your debut single ‘Edge of Town’?
“I don’t think I am able to connect a good gut feeling to a song to then equaling a hit but I definitely listen to the inner response that says, ‘yeah this feels real nice’. Those songs do tend to resonate more with other people.”
Elton John said he was a fan. Surely you celebrated after hearing that?
“We definitely did a little dance and had a celebratory cuddle.”
You’ve said previously that ‘Edge of Town’ was about thinking you have everything under control and then something happens that undermines that feeling and you lose some of your confidence. A lot of people will be able to relate to this feeling, so do you think making your music relatable is a formula for success?
“Part of why music is so exciting is how it enables connection with different people. So I don’t really see it as a formula but more that music is a great instrument for human connection.”
What’s it like getting global attention for your music? Where do you plan to go from here?
“It’s been pretty wild to have our music creep out into the world. It’s encouraging to see the ability of the songs translating in different places. We are spending the a lot of the year touring overseas but also feel it’s important to keep working in Australia and building community here.”
Did anything inspire you to make your ‘Never Start’ music video in black or white? What’s the story there?
“We worked with this amazing director, Emile Freeman in London. He really had a clear vision for the video and was going for that Jean-Luc Goddard, new wave ’60s vibe.”
How many times did you accidentally shine the light in your eyes on the shoot?
“Well it was actually intentionally that we shone in our eyes – to get an angsty effect. It friggin worked because, yeah, it’s angsty have torches all up in your grill. So heaps of times!”