HUSKY

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“We want to make good records, so def­i­nitely we feel pres­sure,” he says. “There’s just so much that hap­pens, to write and pro­duce and record and mix and all the art­work and all the pub­lic­ity that needs to hap­pen to make a record. It’s a huge process.”

With For­ever So, Husky climbed to an envi­able posi­tion, build­ing a large home­town fol­low­ing and scor­ing a record deal with the Seattle’s revered indie imprint Sub Pop. The record alsosent Husky off on a hefty inter­na­tional tour­ing cam­paign. Fol­low­ing 18-months on the road, Rucker’s Hill was recorded in sev­eral stints, at a num­ber of sep­a­rate loca­tions, over the last two years.

“It was a com­bi­na­tion of using our home stu­dio and using other stu­dios,” Preiss says. “We stum­bled upon an amaz­ing stu­dio called Echidna Stu­dios out in Christ­mas Hills, over­look­ing the Yarra Val­ley. It’s a beau­ti­ful stu­dio with big open spaces and some great acoustics. We did a lot of the demo­ing and the writ­ing and the early record­ings of the record out there. We also worked with Syd­ney pro­ducer Wayne Con­nolly out of his stu­dio at Alberts in Syd­ney. The gear is amaz­ing there. You’ve got access to all these great instru­ments – key­boards, gui­tars, vin­tage micro­phones and vin­tage pre­amps. We also recorded my upright Kawaii piano at home. We worked out of Sing Sing. We moved around a bit.”

Beyond the logis­tic neces­sity of piec­ing together Rucker’s Hill in var­i­ous loca­tions, doing so has diver­si­fied the record’s personality.

“The feel­ing, the vibe, the energy of the space that you’re in, all these dif­fer­ent things seep into those record­ings,” Preiss says. “I feel like the ses­sions we did out in the hills have a dif­fer­ent feel­ing to the ses­sions that we did at Alberts. I think it does vary the kind of sounds that you end up creating.”

Rucker’s Hill pos­sesses a lively sense of free­dom, which recalls late-‘60s/ early-‘70s folk-rock. The band’s styl­is­tic per­sua­sion is matched by their choice of record­ing technology.

“We def­i­nitely lean towards older vin­tage gear,” Preiss says. “That includes instru­ments – we love vin­tage gui­tars, we love the old vin­tage key­boards and the early ana­log synths. That goes for micro­phones and pre­amps and ampli­fiers and all that sort of stuff. We just pre­fer the qual­ity that kind of equip­ment cre­ates. I think the way that we record is pretty organic,” he adds, “par­tic­u­larly given the way that a lot of artists record these days. I think what we do is pretty true to the way that bands have recorded and been recorded for the last how­ever many years.”

This pref­er­ence for a less arti­fi­cial record­ing approach doesn’t mean Husky are opposed to dig­i­tal tech­nol­ogy. Much like For­ever So, Rucker’s Hill was recorded on Pro Tools. How­ever, this time around they refrained from lay­er­ing instru­ments ad infinitum.

For­ever So was a very textured-folky-dreamy record,” Preiss says. “There were lim­i­ta­tions with that record in terms of per­form­ing it at our live shows. We def­i­nitely learnt that we needed some more lively tunes that are more dynamic, which would cre­ate a more dynamic show. I think that we were con­scious of that with Rucker’s Hill.

Along with front­man Husky Gawenda and Wayne Con­nolly, Preiss is cred­ited as the record’s co-producer. Per­haps being a mem­ber of the band is enough to qual­ify as co-producer, but Preiss explains he had an instru­men­tal role in bring­ing the record to life.

“You’ve got to wear a dif­fer­ent cap for the pro­duc­tion gig. You’ve got to see things from more of an objec­tive over­all per­spec­tive, as opposed to the per­spec­tive of a ‘keys player in the band’. At the time [of record­ing], I was very into George Harrison’s All Things Must Pass. Par­tic­u­larly for gui­tar tones, I ref­er­enced that a lot. I’m always lis­ten­ing to Beach Boys, for how they arrange and get all these beau­ti­ful tex­tures into their songs. I was going through quite a big Elvis phase at that time as well, so I was into a lit­tle more sim­ple arrange­ments and sim­ple textures.”

Now that the elon­gated record-making task is behind them, and Rucker’s Hillis avail­able for pub­lic con­sump­tion, Preiss can reflect on the entire process with pro­nounced enthusiasm.

“We made For­ever So in iso­la­tion,” he says. “At the time we had very lit­tle going on in terms of any kind of recog­ni­tion for what we do. We did so much tour­ing and so much learn­ing and devel­op­ing as indi­vid­u­als, and as a band. It was really excit­ing to sit down and be able to start afresh and make a new record. Out of all of the things that we get to do, cre­at­ing new music is the most excit­ing part.”