All Grown Up

6 June 2012 | 6:15 am | Sam Hobson

"We’re really into those early-‘90s dance sampling methods... using old African samples and vocal choirs to create this anthemic effect without actually having to create a big arena rock song.”

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New Zealand duo Kids Of 88 spat onto the scene in 2009 with their song, My House, a declamatory burst of excited and unabashed electro-pop. Their introduction was loud and wonderfully garish, but also very smartly pop-minded, and it paved a clear path to the release of their debut album, last year's Sugarpills, on which My House officially featured.

Two weeks ago, the band debuted a new single, along with the news of a follow-up album called Modern Love. A different organism entirely from My House, their new song, Tucan, portends of the band taking something of a different direction. Tribal, spacey and meditative, with McCarthy's vocals hushed and in a lower register, Tucan feels like something within Kids has grown up. Agreeing, singer Sam McCarthy explains.

“In regards to it being the first cut from our new album, I suppose we hadn't really released anything for a long time, and the music we were making in the last year-and-a-half or so had begun to [change]. We just wanting to skew [the single] to being satisfactory still to the people who got into our band through our pop bangers and whatnot, [but also] to show a lot more of our influences, and really just be producing the type of music we were feeling.

“The way that Tucan came about was how we make most of our songs, and that's with the heavy emphasis on the beat production. We listened to a lot of Gold Panda, and a lot of Burial; stuff that's really spacious, but with a heavy emphasis on the rhythm section. We're really into those early-'90s dance sampling methods, and hip hop sampling methods, using old African samples and vocal choirs to create this anthemic effect without actually having to create a big arena rock song or a dance anthem.”

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Having in just a few years established a rather large fanbase, however, McCarthy notes that, while he doesn't feel 'limited' in how far the band can take their experimentation, he's nonetheless aware while he's writing of what people expect, what their fans want to hear.

“We have to respect where we came from,” he admits, without reproach. “We've always listened to different kinds of music, and always been really interested in different sounds – and the way that the band came together was almost like a mild explosion, and we ran with it – but, because it produced such great opportunities, and such amazing response from the public, [we realised] it was something we should channel, something we should [stick] with.”

But, he continues, within that expectation there's plenty room still to move.

“The way that I always see it is that I like to always consider the people that do listen to our music. You never want to isolate them; if anything you want to broaden the spectrum of the audience who can listen to your music. A lot of our old songs [existed] within quite a narrow band of pop music, and we want to broaden that to encapsulate a bigger audience.

“We do still have the more banging tunes that are ready to be released on the album,” he reassures, “but, for the meantime, we just wanted to release something that was a lot more soothing, and something that people didn't expect, because the album is going to be different, and we wanted to set people up to realise that we are doing something different, but that it's different doesn't at all mean that it can't still be good.”