Middle Kids on “Today We’re the Greatest” | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Thursday, November 30th, 2023  

Middle Kids on “Today We’re the Greatest”

Vulnerability and Joy

Nov 24, 2021 Photography by Daphne Nguyen Issue #68 - Japanese Breakfast and HAIM (The Protest Issue)
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Sydney, Australia-based three-piece Middle Kids—comprised of husband and wife team Hannah Joy (lead vocals, guitar, piano) and Tim Fitz (bass, backing vocals, production), plus Harry Day (drums, backing vocals)—were catapulted into the spotlight in 2018 when they released their anthemic debut album, Lost Friends. It subsequently led to the band appearing before an audience of millions on shows such as Conan and Jimmy Kimmel Live! And outwardly they gave the appearance of a band taking everything in their stride.

Really?” laughs singer Hannah Joy as we chat about their rapid ascent. “I guess because it did happen so fast we didn’t really have time to be shocked, we kind of just got on with it. Reflecting on it all now it was actually pretty crazy!”

The band’s second album, Today We’re the Greatest, still has those soaring stadium-ready choruses, but it also feels like a much more intimate and mature album. “It’s important to stretch yourself, as an artist and also as a person,” reasons Joy. “I wanted to bring a vulnerability to the music. Lost Friends was bombastic and loud, but this album feels more raw and fragile. There’s a deep satisfaction in making an album that comes from that place. It’s certainly our favorite thing we’ve ever done.”

Today We’re the Greatest examines relationships and intimacy but is also about seizing the moment and appreciating what you have because time is fleeting. “I guess whatever you’re ruminating on in life,” Joy explains, “does directly impact what you’re creating. At the time I was pregnant and I was thinking about relationships and ways in which we can all have hope for the future, which is certainly something I’d want for our child. As you get older you realize relationships and friendships don’t just happen, you have to work at them. Often we have big dreams, which is cool, but some of the most meaningful things you can do in life is just being there for friends.”

The album was recorded in Los Angeles whilst Joy was heavily pregnant. “We were quite nervous going into that space,” she recalls, “but it was such a great experience and Tim got on with our captain [producer Lars Stalfors] so well.”

The album was wrapped up and Joy and Fitz then had to prepare for the birth of their first child, Sonny, who makes a surprise guest appearance on the LP. Joy takes up the story. “We were packing up after my 20-week sonogram and then Tim said, ‘Oh wait, I just need to record this sound.’ And the nurse was like, ‘What are you doing!’”

Fitz later wove the recording of their baby boy’s beating heart into the last 20 seconds of the album track “Run With You.” “Tim’s always listening to things and recording them,” says Joy. “At the time it might annoy me but I’m always grateful afterwards.”

Joy seems to be enjoying parenthood and balancing a career in music with the demands of a small baby doesn’t appear to faze her. “Rock ‘n’ roll may be wild but being a parent is even wilder,” she laughs. “Before corona, we were going to tour and bring Sonny along as I reasoned, ‘Okay so now I can just dovetail two sleepless activities into one.’”

[Note: This article originally appeared in Issue 68 of Under the Radar’s print magazine, which is out now. This is its debut online.]

Read our 2017 Pleased to Meet You interview with Middle Kids.

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