Folks not dead – at least it’s not if you’ve heard Ruckers Hill, the latest album from Australia’s Husky. Catchy and heartfelt, it’s forty-nine minutes of soul cleansing, head clearing folk warmth. It’s been calming down Australians for the past year since its release there, in 2015. Now us Europeans can finally put away the Xanax, lorazepam, and plethora of home made rescue remedies, because Ruckers Hill has just got its full UK release, via Embassy of Music.
To celebrate we caught up with front man Husky Gawenda, to talk influences, the writing process and Australia.
You have a very calming and relaxing sense about your music, do you find you have that calmness when writing and recording?
Sometimes I find peace and calm whilst writing, whilst working on ideas, playing and singing in the quiet and aloneness of my room or with the band. But often there is a sense of urgency, an adrenalin, an edginess. It is certainly not always a flowing process. Sometimes it is, but sometimes it’s kinda painful.
Your lyrics are highly visual and the band helps paint a beautiful backdrop to the story being told. Is there any writers or artists that influence you in writing lyrics?
Leonard Cohen, Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Paul Simon, The National, Elbow, Jonathan Wilson. I think all of these artists, in their way, have influenced my writing. There are many more too, too many to name.
Husky and Gideon promoting anxiety cures / via @huskysongs
What did you guys listen to growing up?
A blend. A lot of American 60s and 70s folk singers and rock bands. Lots out of the UK too like Led Zeppelin, Cream, the Beatles of course. Then there was Nirvana, Soundgarden, Guns n Roses, Jane’s Addiction. There were stages of Blues and Jazz. All sorts of stuff.
With so many influences, how do you define which genre the band fits in to?
I don’t think we fit neatly into one particular genre. We certainly have folk elements and indie elements and rock elements and pop elements and then there’s lots of other stuff in there. I find the genre game hard to play. I guess that’ for the music writers to play.
There’s a simple yet emotive presence about your sound that is beautifully done. Is there a motive when recording or writing to try to capture certain feelings/paint certain pictures?
It’s not usually very clearly defined, what it is we are trying to achieve. But we’re always aiming to give the listener an experience, a feeling, we want to help transport people. But we don’t set out with a particular aim or destination, we just know we want to go somewhere and take people with us.
100 different volumes of The Little Book of Calm.
What is the music scene like in Australia currently? How does it differ from the rest of the world?
There’s a lot of great music here. I’m not sure that it’s particularly different, in terms of the big picture, from the rest of the world. I think it follows the same trends as everywhere. But we have a great scene here, lots of great musicians and writers and Melbourne in particular has a great live scene. So it’s an amazing place to be making music.
Ruckers Hill is now out in the UK now via Embassy of Music.