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On Compliments From Mark Ronson, Being A Tea Boy And Getting Haters

14 September 2015 | 11:47 am | Cyclone Wehner

"If it comes down to us playing in front of volunteers, we've got mad respect for those people."

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Following a triumphant return to Splendour In The Grass, complete with outrageous video intro from The Hoff, Adam Hyde and Reuben Styles, aka Peking Duk, hung out in Sydney with Mark Ronson — the pop genre-buster among their "main influences". "It was crazy," enthuses Hyde. "He was like, 'I like your stuff, man' — and that was cool."

Meanwhile, the nu-house DJ/producers are conquering the US, this year premiering at Coachella one Friday afternoon, joined by Los Angeles hip hop pals OverDoz. And, yes, says Hyde, they did check out their compatriots AC/DC — kinda. "Reuben went and saw AC/DC. I was actually passed out in our caravan at the time, but I was... conscious — I was very tired. I heard the whole set and it was tight as anything. I'm very proud to say that AC/DC killed it." Tonight Hyde is speaking from Chicago, where Peking Duk are hitting Lollapalooza. He claims to be "very well rested" but, though cheerful, the jetlag is obvious.

"Me and Reuben had sex one night and had a baby called Benjamin Joseph."

In the lead-up to Stereosonic, the down-to-earth Duks will play Sydney's exclusive Optus RockCorps 2015 extravaganza in Luna Park's Big Top alongside See You Again MC Wiz Khalifa. Hyde, himself once a wannabe rapper, is "stoked". The charity-based Optus RockCorps scheme, in its third year, encourages young people to volunteer in local communities with the reward of tickets not otherwise available for purchase. Hyde, who used to be "a tea and bikkie boy at an old persons' home" promises that Peking Duk will do their bit. "We always aim to put on a good show, so whether we're playing in front of 20 people or 10,000 people, we always put our all into it. If it comes down to us playing in front of volunteers, we've got mad respect for those people. So we're gonna try to bring it as hard as we can possibly."

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Peking Duk often muck around in interviews, and Hyde is playfully evasive when asked about their much-anticipated debut album on new global label Sony Music (he offers strange allusions to Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight). The triple j faves lately aired another brilliant single in the glam-rock disco stomper Say My Name, inspired by Arctic Monkeys, not AC/DC. Hyde concedes it's a departure from 2014's mega-hits High (featuring Nicole Millar), which won the ARIA for Best Dance Release, and Take Me Over (SAFIA's Ben Woolner). They've even had (a few) "haters". "It's always been like that. Ever since High or Take Me Over, people are gonna be like, 'I want Take Me Over or High 2 — I want that next song to sound like that'. But the music that we're making for the album is so different to everything that we've made before... It's like a segue to the sort of shit that we're making — not to say that we're making that exact same style for the album at all." There's been speculation about the identity of Say My Name's mysterious Canberran vocalist Benjamin Joseph, rumoured to again be Woolner. Hyde isn't betraying secrets — he's back to teasing: "Me and Reuben had sex one night and had a baby called Benjamin Joseph."