By Gareth Mohen
Performing in the UK and Europe was the perfect opportunity for Australian band Hungry Kids of Hungary to test drive songs for their upcoming album.
The pop-rock outfit stormed the continent in May and June expanding their European fan base, especially at the Pinkpop Festival in Landgraaf, the Netherlands, where the band had already received extensive airplay.
“We had reasonable expectations over there (the Netherlands),” said lead vocalist and guitarist .
“We thought we might get a few hundred people at our stage watching us.
“Then we got on stage and there was about somewhere between eight and 10 thousand people in the crowd.”
The new-found following gave the band a whole new audience to perform their songs to and measure different reactions to their music.
“A lot of the time it feels like going back to the start when you play in a new country,” said McGrath.
“Some of the places we were playing we were relatively unknown so we were downsizing in venues and crowd numbers. But we still found the response to be really positive.”
McGrath said the Pinkpop Festival was the perfect opportunity to meet some of the masters of rock.
“On the day a couple of the guys from our band started hanging out with the guys from Soundgarden and the guys from Mastodon. We’ve got some closet metal heads in our band and yeah they went and had a good old chat with those guys.”
The European tour was bookended with performances at Koko in Camden and the Bull and Gate in Kentish Town.
These and other UK gigs were enjoyed by a stronger contingent of Australian fans.
“It’s good when you’re on the road for a little while to speak with another Aussie,” said McGrath.
“They’re everywhere in the UK, but they’re a little bit more scarce in places like Paris and Germany.”
Surprisingly for Hungry Kids of Hungary, Paris turned out to have a secret Australian fan base.
“We weren’t aware until between the songs we could hear (Australian) accents amongst the cheering.”
The band also used time during their tour to mix tracks in Berlin with Simon Berkelman (previously from Philadelphia Grand Jury).
“He’s settled in Berlin and got a studio and he’s working with a bunch of bands there.
“Currently we’re in Sydney finalising tracks for the new album.
“We’re just going to figure out which bits we use from Berlin a little bit down the line.
“I wouldn’t say the new album is a major departure.
“At the end of the day we’re still a pop band and there are elements of the way we write songs still in play on this album. But I think the overall approach has been a little different. The first album was written over about three years while we were still really in development stages and I think you can hear it. It’s fairly eclectic.
“This time round, we’ve been working together a while and we wrote all the songs within a year. I think it just sounds a little bit more focussed.”
The band has also fuelled their hunger for vinyl records by securing a vinyl pressing of their new album with their label.
“We’re all total vinyl obsessive and really into our parent’s record collections and music from the sixties and the seventies. We really wanted to get a more vintage sound and organic sound to the recordings so we worked a lot to tape and we tracked most of it live.
“I think it’s a little less shiny and pop-y this time round. It’s got a bit more warmth and a bit of a classic feel to it.”
Fans should stay tuned for the imminent release of Hungry Kids of Hungary’s follow up to their debut album Escapades.