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Peking Duk


Thanks to their festival-dominating live sets and genre-hopping tunes, Canberra locals Peking Duk are fast becoming one of Australia’s most talked about electronic groups. The pair wrap up their National tour at Villa Nightclub next week before flying off to conquer the States in September. PENNY LANE sits down with co-producer Adam Hyde to talk about the Duk life.

You can tell you’ve created a killer track when it’s played everywhere you go. Peking Duk’s Adam Hyde should know.

“One day we walked into a shop and High was playing,” he says. “We walked out of the shop and inside the shopping centre it was also playing. We went back to the car and it was on the radio, then we changed the radio station and it was on the other radio station! That was sort of like ‘This shit is crazy now’.”
For a song that Adam says is essentially a dance track with vocals put on top, High hasn’t done too badly. After getting some serious air time on Triple J, the song was quick to pop up on commercial radio. Soon after, it went double platinum in Australia, and gold in New Zealand.

“I didn’t think it would cross over the way it did to pop – like it was in the charts with Beyonce,” says a stoked Adam. “We never originally intended for it to have that impact at all, so it was a great feeling to see that Indie kids love it, pop kids love it, and youngsters love it. People nowhere near the age of entering a club yet love it.” Case in point: “We were in Mt Hotham the other night playing a show. This little girl was with her family eating lunch at this bar we were in, and she kept on looking over. She got her dad to come over and ask if she could have a photo. She would have been like 14 or something tiny. She was a massive fan,” says Adam. “That’s when pop radio really gets your music out there. That girl would have never heard that music if it wasn’t for those commercial stations picking it up.”

But radio can’t take all the credit for the duo’s success. Adam and fellow Duk Reuben Styles have definitely put in the hard yards, although their definition of hard doesn’t seem so extreme when they’re partying it up at events like this year’s Splendour in the Grass.

“It was like a little festival within the festival,” says Adam of their performance. “It was out of control. We spent a bunch of money on pyrotechnics, so there were flames and all of this CO2.”
Special guests 360, Yeo, SAFIA and The Kite String Tangle formed the mini line up, while a tent full of fans came along for the ride.

“Big festivals like Splendour in the Grass, Groovin’ the Moo, Stereosonic, Big Day Out, things like that, that really raises your profile more than anything,” Adam says. “Every week we’d play a show in a different city on tour, and the kids who came to see us would jump straight on the net, like our page and start commenting. If you put what you’re about into live sets, I think it translates really well across the audience – they get a feel for you and if they like it, then they’ll follow you.”
Adam and Reuben are certainly making an impression on stage. Thanks to their performance at Splendour, Peking Duk now has more than 70 000 followers on Facebook alone.

The boys have always been about live music, in one way or another. Before Peking Duk, Reuben was playing bass for a local band called Rubycon, while Adam was recording hip-hop beats with his mates in Canberra. It was during this time the pair was introduced to EDM, and where their crispy chicken journey began.

“We had a friend who showed us a mix tape with a bunch of fidget house records,” says Adam. “He gave it to me and Rueben and we fell in love with the music. We started going to clubs and stuff, and we just wanted to make that kind of music. That sort of evolved to what we are making now.” What that is is a little hard to define.

“We started out as strictly club music and now it’s kind of the opposite in a way. It’s sort of anything goes, whatever we’re feeling. It might be a dance track or it might be soul or slow jam. Whatever it is, I guess it’s whatever we’re feeling at the time in the studio, and there’s no real rules or boundaries when it comes to our music.”

Seems there were no boundaries when it came to picking the duo’s name either. “When you’re partying, sometimes you can look like a duck when you’re peaking at that time in the night,” explains Adam. “We used to say it amongst our friends as a sort of joke, and one night we were sitting there and we had to come up with a name and I looked over at Rueben and there he was peaking, and looking like a duck. And then we were like, let’s call ourselves Peking Duk. We never really said that ‘This is going to be our name, we’ll stand by this’, but it just sort of stuck over the years.”
Peking Duk’s sets have always been a mix of dance music, hip-hop and rock and roll, but right now, the DJs are on a whole different music-making wave.

“I’m going to be completely honest with you – I don’t even listen to dance music anymore,” Adam says.

“With some of the stuff I’m writing and some of the stuff Rueben’s writing, it’s got a lot more depth to it. Not saying that dance music is shallow in any way shape or form, because we love dance music, we really do. But I think at the moment it’s very oversaturated and there’s not too much stuff that’s that interesting.”
Adam and Reuben are changing that. They’re next single is a collab with Ben Woolner from SAFIA called Take Me Over and is set to be a doozy.

“We’ve also got another B-side track called You Got Me featuring Yeo,” Adam says. “We’ve got a bunch of demos that are ready to go, we’re just trying to figure out what to do with them.” An album is potentially on the cards, but the boys have to get through their Peace, Love & Sweatiness tour first. And then, Adam says, “We’re going over to America in September for a couple of months, and doing a tour out there, and then Stereosonic. So we’re just going to keep doing what we’re doing and have fun with it all.”



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