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Middle Kids

Forever Growing Up

Jul 21, 2017 Middle Kids
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The band name chosen by Sydney, Australia trio Middle Kids also describes the upbringing of singer Hannah Joy and multi-instrumentalist Tim Fitz. “Tim and I are both middle kids,” Joy explains. “I think it’s common to find middle kids being a little bit unsure of their place in the family. It’s cool, though, because you get a bit of love from both sides and end up having to fight to find who you are.”

As a band, Middle Kids, who also include drummer Harry Day, have few reasons to be unsure of themselves, already gathering momentum thanks to their anthemic first single “Edge of Town”a charming, confident track filled with anticipation, due to Joy’s mesmerizing lilt. “‘Edge of Town’ is a story about the experience of trying to get a hold of your life, or figure out what it means to be a human, and then something happens which makes you realize how little you know or how little control you have over certain things,” explains Joy. “It’s meant to tap into that anxiety, but it’s also meant to give a sense that it’s going to be okay and there is actually freedom in not being in control all the time.”

The song caught the attention of Sir Elton John, who then played it on his Beats 1 radio show and added it to his Apple Music playlist. “We felt pretty stoked and surprised,” says Fitz. “He’s one of the greats, so it meant a lot.” Middle Kids also caught the ear of iconic indie label Domino, who released the band’s self-titled debut EP in February. The six-song EP is a mix of catchy, brooding melodies and haunting, jazz-tinged ballads. Middle Kids fuse modern indie-rock with ‘70s Fleetwood Mac accents, with Joy’s vocals echoing a combination of Stevie Nicks and Courtney Barnett.

Joy met Fitz through mutual friends in 2014. Fitz was already working on his solo career, but he began producing Joy’s own material and performing in her band, which led to them adding Day and forming Middle Kids in 2016. Joy is classically-trained, while Day has a jazz background, but the trio find common ground on their affinity for Pixies, Broken Social Scene, Pavement, and Britpop. “Bands from Australia have an interesting perspective because culturally we have been influenced by U.K. and America but being so far removed also means our own identity forms in quite a unique way,” says Joy. “Someone I am influenced a lot by is Neil Finn but you probably can’t hear that.”

Middle Kids have been hard at work on their debut album. Joy cites “gutsy records” such as Arcade Fire’s Funeral and The Strokes’ Is This It as some of her favorite debut albums and the band already has plans for a long career ahead. “Bands that have the ability to keep developing are really inspiring to us. Radiohead is obviously a really great example of this,” says Joy. “We are a young band so we really hope to be able to grow and find our voice over an extended period of time…. We think one of the most important things as a young band is to stay united as a team and learn how to communicate with each other. Also making sure that whilst working hard, remembering that there are other important things to hold on to like family, hobbies, health etc.”

The trio aren’t letting their initial success go to their heads. As Fitz puts it: “We’re pleasantly mystified by the whole thing.”

[Note: This article originally appeared in Under the Radar’s Spring 2017 Issue (April/May/June 2017), which is out now. This is its debut online.]


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