Hungry Kids of Hungary - Feeding Time

Alongside with the likes of Art vs Science, Kids of 88, Miami Horror, The Jezabels and many more, Hungry Kids of Hungary are representing Oz at the illustrious South by Southwest Festival (SXSW) in Austin, Texas. Dean McGrath, Hungry Kids' member and SXSW correspondent fills us in on the juicy details as his band of merry musos take the US by the horns.


"We did Canadian Music Week in Toronto, stopped off in New York for a couple of shows, doing South by Southwest, then off to San Fran, Houston…" McGrath rattles off a laundry list of American tour dates the band is currently making their way through. Although they return to Australia in April, the 'Kids are hungry for US success.


"It's a bit like starting over again" McGrath laughs, citing their shows before US crowds. "Nobody knows you; you're playing small rooms to smaller crowds. You expect that…but the response has been good!"


Despite the band's youth (beginning in 2007), the four-piece have made a considerable dent in the oft-fickle Australian public heart. They've played the hell out of the nation's festival circuit - with appearances at Big Day Out, Sounds of Spring, Woodford, Southbound, and Falls Festival - and have supported the likes of Washington, Kate Miller-Heidke, Bertie Blackman, Philly Jays and Little Birdy. Not only that, they have wowed that major domo of local fame, Richard Kingsmill. Their 2009 single Scattered Diamonds was, as you may remember, a huge "TV song" that even graced the usually morose wards of Grey's Anatomy.


McGrath admits that, despite the band's hectic schedule, they still have itchy feet: "You never feel like the job is finished; you just keep making music and tour and play, it doesn't really extend far beyond that. We really want to get working on the next album, that's the funnest part. We've already started writing and we're really keen to start recording again. We keep fairly busy but we wouldn't have it any other way,"


"The material we are writing at the moment, it's a little bit different than the first record [Escapades, 2010]; we're not interested in making the same record twice" McGrath explains of the new sound the band are carving. "We have ADD, musically; we get bored easily. We're pushing the sound of the band into a different area, which is exciting for us. We're not gonna drop an electronic album or anything, though!"


"We've always just done what we want," he continues, explaining the band ethos. "Australia's been great, especially things like Triple J, and the level we've gotten to at home is great. We're extremely lucky. We've always just made the music we want to; we don't wanna cater to any specific sound. The last album is a mash-mash of songs anyway, I don't think it's gonna be too much of a stretch for people to appreciate what we're gonna do next. We're not gonna freak out and be completely unrecognizable…we're gonna try not to sound crap!"


Though the band is led by McGrath and his golden combination of vox and guitar, he relies on his band mates to make HKOH what they are: Ben Dalton on bass, Ryan Strathie on drums and, as he explains further, his song-writing partner - perhaps the Lennon to his McCartney - Kane Mazlin on vocals and keys.


"Kane and I write independently; we write demo songs, send them to the guys, workshop them. The basic bones of the song are me and Kane. Kane and I both go through really productive periods where we're writing lots then it might dry up for a while. When Kane's feeling a bit productive and writing songs, it kicks me into gear to write more. If Kane writes something that's awesome that I love, it inspires me to write great."


"There's such a sense of camaraderie amongst Aussie bands," McGrath notes on the bond between Oz bands touring OS. "There are certain bands in Australia that hang together a lot, a lot of that depends on where you live. We're good friends with a lot of bands from Brisbane like Boy and Bear, so we've been chatting here at South by Southwest. Everyone's just nice! It sounds like a cop out, brown-nosing, but in our experience in general, most of the people that we encounter are really easy to get along with,"


Though, despite McGrath's sunny demeanor and optimistic view on the life of a travelling musician, there is but one bug he does bear…


"The sleeping arrangements area is a bit difficult on the road. I'm on a blow-up mattress on the floor here in Austin. We've got six guys in one small hotel room…when the snoring starts up, it gets a bit hard to bear…"

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