Behind the feel-good fun of Keli Holiday, the new project of Peking Duk's Adam Hyde
After launching with its debut single earlier this year, Keli Holiday's new track Where You Feel makes it two-for-two.
If you had to describe Adam Hyde in one word, the word that would probably come to your brain the quickest is 'fun'. As one-half of Peking Duk, Hyde has been behind some of Australian electronic's most lively and festival-ready records of the last decade, and on the live stage, the duo - the other half made up from Reuben Styles - are always capable of taking the energy up to 110%, regardless of whether it's in the form of a headline show or in the early afternoon of a US festival, where only a handful of people likely know their names.
Fun is at the core of a lot of things Adam does, whether it's as Peking Duk or as a keen supporter of Australian music regardless of whether it's pop, electronic, rock or hip-hop - he's someone keen to rally behind anyone clearly having a good time. Likewise, it's an ethos-of-kinds behind his new solo project Keli Holiday, which launched with its debut single We Don't Have To Know earlier this year - months after Duk's other half, Reuben, launched his solo Y.O.G.A. project, through its semi-self-titled debut EP, You're Only Great Always.
Born after an extensive North American tour with Peking Duk, Keli Holiday came after Adam began experimenting with music of his own, music as inspired by acts like New Order and Joy Division as it was by the more dance-focused acts Peking Duk are often listed alongside. In the burst of inspiration, he carved out 12 tracks in just four weeks - which you'll be hearing on a forthcoming debut album, still to be announced - sharing them with Golden Features' Thomas Stell who then forward it onto The Presets' Kim Moyes; both adding their own flourishes and touches to the work, making it what it is now.
We Don't Have To Know was a brilliant note to kick everything off; one that really seems to amplify what Adam Hyde wants to bring through Keli Holiday. There are bursts of Hyde's signature high-energy charm - I don't think that's something you can ever take away from his work - but it's warped and morphed around this kind-of dance-rock backing, almost like a modernised LCD Soundsystem with a bit of a heavier dance music emphasis. For many (seemingly including Hyde himself), it offered a source of escapism, and an opportunity to venture away when you were stuck in the walls of your home.
Keli Holiday's second single Where You Feel, unveiled today, keeps that trend continuing. Those nods to classic acts like New Order and Talking Heads rear their faces again, with Adam's spirit meeting the talent of Alex Lahey, who adds a further dimension to the track's already quite layered sound. "I added the salt and she added the sugar. I recorded the guitar chords and it felt right, without an ounce of force - it all fell into place and felt right," he says on the track.
Like much of Keli Holiday's material, there's a sense of freedom within Where You Feel which is capable of plucking you away from your worries, transporting you to the world it was made amongst - California's sun-soaked coast - even if you're thousands of kilometres away in real life. "Where You Feel is sweet Mexican cola in a song, it’s the sweat dripping from your cheeks, it’s day drinking in the streets of sunny California," he continues, talking about the refreshing euphoria you can feel within the song's backbone.
As mentioned the two new tracks are only a taste of what's to come, and to better understand the project and what he has in store, we had a quick little chat with Adam about all things Keli Holiday, and how Where You Feel came about. Take a dive into the new single below, and read the interview underneath:
Mate! How has everything been going? How has it been getting back on the road and doing Peking Duk shows again?
Considering the state of the world, everything‘s been going well. I count my blessings every day.
To be able to play shows and festivals over New Year’s in New Zealand was such a surreal experience I’ll never forget it then I’ve come back to LA to work on music non-stop.
Keli Holiday is obviously something that emerged from the chaos of Peking Duk’s release and touring schedules - which on their own are quite hectic. Was there anything that led you to take a bit of time to work on a solo project? Where did the idea of launching Keli Holiday come about?
The funny thing is I never really took any time off to work on this project. It all came out of me whilst tired from a long Peking Duk tour in the States and a heavy break up. I was listening to a lot of New Order and Joy Division records which my Dad used to play a lot in the house when I was a kid but I didn’t really fuck with them as a kid like I do now, and I’d just bought this shitty little guitar and gone through a shitty break up so thought why not record something or anything that I’m feeling.
I laid down some guitar ideas and sang over them then programmed some drums and before I knew it I had 6 or 7 cohesive ideas sitting there. I never really thought about releasing any of it until I went over to my boy Tom (Golden Features) spot to listen to some music and talk shit - the ideas I had written were kind of a secret to myself that I was scared to share but something about Tom makes me want to show him every idea I have, the dudes a genius. So I did. He loved them and said I should reach out to K.I.M as he’d just produced the DMA’s record and it was on the same tip so why not reach out. He connected us and we got cookin and now there’s a whole album of holiday to enjoy.
Is there anything you’re hoping to show, bring or do through Keli Holiday that people won’t find in everything else you do?
Keli Holiday's music is lullabies from my mind that feel more personal. It’s whatever's in my head put into sonics. Some of the joints off the album are about best friends dying, some are about the brutal darkness of heartbreak and others are about kicking on so it's all the bad and the good that happens in life... The yin and yang.
We Don’t Have To Know was the first taste of the project, and now we have Where You Feel coming as the second taste. Can you tell us a bit about the creation of this track and its meaning?
Where You Feel was born on a sunny Los Angeles day. I walked into fellow Aussie Tony Buchens studio to jam with him and Alex Lahey was sitting out the back sipping on a Topo Chico in the sunshine. She was so lovely. It was the first time I’d met her and we clicked right away. The Mexican supermarket on the corner inspired the whole vibe of the song…Alex said let’s talk about how good Mexican cola is and boom we laid down the opening line “Sweet Mexican cola, salty like the sweat dripping from your cheeks”. The rest just flowed
It links you up with Alex Lahey, who is one of the many collaborators you tapped in the creation of Keli Holiday - K.I.M and Tom being some of the others. Was there anything that spurred you to make this project a bit more of a collaborative affair?
It came from such a secluded, intimate and lonely place that I never intended to show it to anyone, but once Tom (Golden Features) linked me with KIM, I realised that the more minds to make these ideas shine the better and the more people I showed the more I realised that people were really fucking with it and wanted to be a part of it which got me more hype to keep writing ideas. I needed other people's energy to charge up my own and it definitely got me into a rhythm and flow that felt natural, fun and exciting and I'm stoked with the music that has come out of it.
It’s interesting the range of collaborators you have too; people like Alex Lahey are obviously quite far-distanced from Kim and Tom, who are more in the dance space. What do you think having that kind-of range in collaborators brings to Keli Holiday?
It’s the perfect marriage in my mind. It’s the two worlds I come from - rock and roll and sweaty dance music. It feels right to me and I definitely am going to explore it further.
Was there anything that really inspired you to bring that with the project?
I just want to share these records that I've had so much fun creating with some amazingly talented people. I would feel like a lazy rude c*nt to just sit here and not at least show people these tunes.
Peking Duk obviously have a world-class live show. Are you doing much to prepare for Keli Holiday’s introduction to the live realm?
I was just in Mexico City and got booked at Marvin Festival so I recorded a Keli Holiday set for them and recorded some other special sets which I'll announce soon. That was dope as I got Latin percussionists and incredible musicians from Mexico involved so they are like new versions of some of the songs. I’m ready to bring Keli to the stage asap, just name the spot and I'll pull up.
What else do we have to look forward to from the project in the next little while?
After Where You Feel I'll be putting up some special acoustic performances of some of the music from the album online and then I'll be putting out more of the music plus visuals plus bringing Keli Holiday to the stage! I can’t wait.