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Middle Kids on their homemade debut album 'Lost Friends'

“We felt a lot more comfortable in that environment. We did it like a patchwork quilt, and built it slowly in different places.”

Middle Kids’ new record isn’t a live album, but it’s not quite a studio album either. When the Sydney trio couldn’t find the right vibe in the studio, they started recording at home instead.

“We’re used to making the songs in our house, doing it in our time,” says vocalist Hannah Joy. “We felt comfortable in that environment. We did it like a patchwork quilt, and built it slowly in different places. It retains some of that same organic sound, but you can feel the growth and the movement.”

After recording guitar, bass and keyboards at home, the band rented a house outside rural Portland, New South Wales, where they finished the percussion tracks. The result was Lost Friends, a slice of classic indie-pop, driven by Joy’s tender vocals and memorable guitar riffs.

“This is an optimistic album,” Joy says. “The big theme is trying to find peace in all the craziness of life. We’re often shocked that life is painful. It’s beautiful and amazing, but often you feel shocked that life is hard. But it’s been crazy since the dawn of time. So much of our work is to find the joy, to find the hope, in the midst of the craziness.”

The question of whether Middle Kids’ next album will be recorded in an actual studio is still up in the air, Joy says. This time, the band was prepared for the recording process to be a slog, but was surprised to find the music emerging smoothly.

“In many ways, the album came together pretty easily,” Joy says. “We loved making this album. It was a really wonderful experience in terms of the way it came together. Maybe it’ll be more challenging with our second album.”

Leading up to the album’s release ‘Mistake’, a single riding the line between indie and post-rock, had already snagged some good press. But Joy says she isn’t too fussed one way or the other about reviews and star ratings.

“We do hope [the media] like it, but it feels more meaningful when you can see that it’s connecting with people,” she says. “That’s a good litmus test: when we’re playing shows, are we making a connection? A lot of the songs on the album are quite sing-song. They’re meant to help you lift your voice, so, when people do that, you can tell that they’re feeling something.”

While the record showcases Middle Kids at their best, it’s on the live stage that the trio really shine. Despite being Sydney natives, Middle Kids have a real affection for Melbourne intimate live spots like Howler and The Corner Hotel.

“We love playing Melbourne,” Joy says. “There seem to be more of those smaller, cooler venues in Melbourne, and people like going to see live music. The energy’s good. Because it’s a home crowd in Sydney, the energy’s a little more rowdy, and Melbourne are more respectful.”

Their upcoming run of shows – including stops right across the States, before returning to our shores for Splendour in the Grass, and then darting over to Europe – will give the band some time to mull over the question of their next album.

“It’s cool when you get to record and tour, because you get new musical ideas when you’re on the road,” she explains. “I’m excited to start consolidating that. I reckon we’ll keep trying in the studio, because we want the sound to grow. We don’t want to get stuck. As soon as we feel that that’s the case, we’ll get a new space. We are very much a self-recording band.”

Lost Friends is out now via EMI. Catch Middle Kids at Splendour in the Grass, taking over North Byron Parklands from Friday July 20 until Sunday July 22.