Make room Berliners, much-loved Australian indie-folk rockers Husky are moving into the hood. With their Ruckers Hill European Tour finishing up at Privatclub, Berlin on 31 May, band mates Husky Gawenda and Gideon Preiss will set up shop to enjoy a second summer of gigs, songwriting and soaking up the creative spirit of Berlin. Lead singer and guitarist Husky Gawenda gives Annelise Ball a few updates on the plan.
indieberlin: Husky, what’s going on right now?
Husky Gawenda: We’re about to leave for our Ruckers Hill European tour starting in Zurich and we’ll then spend a couple of weeks touring around Europe with our last show in Berlin on 31 May. From there, we’ll find somewhere to live, do some more local shows, including supporting James Vincent McMorrow in The Netherlands on June 7, and then head to the US in July after our second album Ruckers Hill releases there in June 2. We’ll also be writing and working on new material.
indieberlin: How do you do all that at once?
Husky Gawenda: Writing new stuff comes fairly naturally to us. It’s always exciting to think about the next body of work and where we want to take our sound. That adventure is always exciting, so it’s not such a difficult thing to do. We had a period in 2012 when we were touring so much; it was hard to find extended periods of time where we could get our heads into the writing. I think we’ll have a good balance between touring and studio time in Berlin. It’s a great city.
indieberlin: You were in Berlin in early March doing Berlin Sessions, Sunday Sessions and FluxFm Sessions. What went down?
It’s the type of place where you bump into people on the street who tell you about a gig, an art exhibition, or a party
Husky Gawenda: There’s heaps going on in Berlin, you get that sense immediately, you don’t need to be there very long. It’s the type of place where you bump into people on the street who tell you about a gig, an art exhibition, or a party; then you bump into someone at the party you’ve seen on the train, who tells you about some recording studio you might like. It’s that type of city; you stumble upon all the things you’re interested in quite easily.
It’s a cheap city in general too, especially for a big awesome place. It means lots of artists and musicians can go there and survive. So, you end up with a city full of artists and musicians from all over the world. It seems like a pretty great place to be based to write, tour and meet lots of like-minded people.
Sometimes I wonder if it’ll be too much fun though, we want to make sure we concentrate and get the work done.
you could easily sit around drinking all day and night
indieberlin: Don’t get too drunk and spend too much time in beer halls.
Husky Gawenda: The beer’s amazing, and you could easily sit around drinking all day and night drinking, easily, but that’s not what we’re going to do. We’re pretty excited about the new stuff we’re doing; the writing and jam sessions we’ve had so far have felt good, even though it’s early days, so I think we’ll be working pretty hard.
It’s nice to come across a little part of music history and feel a part of something bigger
indieberlin: You’re playing a show in Hamburg. I know you’ve played there before and I want to know; what’s it like playing on the Reeperbahn?
Husky Gawenda: We’ve played there a few times before; we’ve played at the Reeperbahn Festival and we also played our own shows at a club The Beatles performed in. (Husky performs on extensive search of his 2012 emails to confirm the place was Beatlemania). It’s nice to come across a little part of music history and feel a part of something bigger. We’ve got friends in Hamburg; the band BOY who we toured with a few years ago, so we’re looking forward to hanging out with them and catching up.
indieberlin: Is it true you’ve got one of my favourite Kiwi artists Marlon Williams touring with you?
Husky Gawenda: Yes, he’s doing our Cologne, Hamburg, Munich and Berlin shows with us. I’ve had a jam with him and sung with him, so I know he’s great. I think he’s going to hitch a ride with us in our tour van.
indieberlin: What’s it like for you right now heading off on such a great adventure?
Husky Gawenda: My approach is to not think too hard about it, and kind of only think about what’s happening when I get on the plane. We’ll both miss home; we’ve got a life here in Melbourne we really love, plus our music and our fan base here is really important to us, but we’re not going forever. Time flies when you’re having fun.
indieberlin: In your opinion, how hard is it for Melbourne bands to progress given the distance we have to deal with?
Husky Gawenda: I think the scene is amazing in Melbourne; there’s so many great songwriters and artists and there’s so much going on all the time. So, in that way I don’t feel restricted at all. People can find us online in so many different ways.
But, if a great gig comes up in Holland or Germany, you can’t just jump in the car and drive there, or jump on an hour-long cheap flight. It makes it tough to build an audience, because so much of your audience is built through your live shows. We’re giving Europe and the US a bit more of a run, and the only way to really do that is to be there.
A few years back, the things we’re doing now were just figments of my imagination
indieberlin: Must come at a cost though?
Husky Gawenda: Yes it’s true, but we’re lucky, it’s not such a bad life hanging out in Berlin for a summer. Having my music take me all over the world is something I’ve always wanted, but it’s not always easy. Things have to go on hold and that can be difficult. But like anything worth doing, these are the sacrifices you make. A few years back, the things we’re doing now were just figments of my imagination. Living in different cities and having my music take me there was something I only ever imagined.
indieberlin: Do you feel a little freer in your performance when you’re away from home?
Husky Gawenda: When you feel a little more anonymous, it’s natural to feel a bit freer and less self conscious, but I’ve done a fair bit of gigging and performing so I’m okay with it now. Generally when I’m on stage now, I can give myself over to the songs wherever I am.
indieberlin: I haven’t seen you stage diving yet; I definitely want to see a Husky stage dive at some point.
Husky Gawenda: I tell you what, that’s going to be one of my goals from now on.
Berlin, hold Husky high up in your arms when he stage dives at Privatclub Club on 31 May. Ticket info at www.huskysongs.com.
Interview by Annelise Ball
Noel Maurice is one of the founders of indieberlin. Originally from the UK via a childhood in Johannesburg, he has been resident in Berlin since 1991. Describing himself as a ‘recovering musician’, he is the author of The Berlin Diaries, a trilogy detailing the East Berlin art and squat scene of the early 90s, available on Amazon and through this site. Noel is currently completing his second novel. As well as running indieBerlin, Noel is also active as web designer, chatbot creator and business communication coach.