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'With Destruction Comes New Life': Husky Share The Making Of Their New Album

6 August 2020 | 1:28 pm | Husky

Melbourne group Husky are dropping their new album, 'Stardust Blues', this week. Keyboardist Gideon Preiss takes us through the making of the album in this exclusive studio diary.

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Me in what is perhaps my happiest state - behind the piano, a bottle of red at arm's reach. I recorded this piano a lot on the record. It featured on every song. It’s a beautiful big, old beast of an antique. 

It’s actually a restored pianola, also known as a player piano - a piano that plays itself via pre-written musical manuscripts. Seeing a pianola playing by itself is very haunting. If you listen carefully enough, you can hear the ghosts of the past creaking around inside the songs. 

I’ve often thought that one of the gifts of being a musician is that it gives you a way to express things that you can’t say in words. Bass player and guitarist Jules Pascoe, and one of the architects of this record, is a quiet and gentle man. But when he puts this classic '60s Beatles' Hofner bass in his hands, he becomes an entirely different person.

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When you hear a great drummer and bassist play together, it’s magic in motion. They take on one another's characteristics, yet remain uniquely their own, pushing and pulling and falling in and out of step. When this dance is particularly magical, they almost blur into one another. 

Engineer and producer Matt Redlich is a formidable force - to which this picture can attest. Here he is surrounded mostly by analogue equipment, including the vintage Neve console and the 24-track tape machine, just outside the frame of this shot, on which the record was captured. While this photo has him frozen in a moment of seriousness, what it doesn’t show is how quickly his serious side can become playful, silly and positively hilarious. Underpinned by a deep technical understanding, he is forever exploring new sonic frontiers. That’s the kind of captain you want steering the ship. 

It’s the moments in between; Gus texts, Holly drinks a beer. 

Husky records a 1980s Eko electric guitar while I look away absently. We spent many hours tweaking, shaping and perfecting guitar tones on this record. While we captured a lot of dreamy and spectral guitar tones as we’d done on previous Husky albums, we also experimented with much heavier guitar sounds on songs like Dirty River and Foxes Of Caulfield

Myself, Husky, Matt, Jules and Holly outside the Westbury Hotel just weeks before its destruction. The Hotel was an old rambling mansion in Balaclava that was a sort of artist commune and home to many artists over the years. Myself and Husky lived there up until it was knocked down to make way for a bunch of new apartments. Much of the record was written within these walls. 

Husky, rugged up in his bedroom at the Westbury Hotel, recording his Gibson ES-390. The Hotel was so cold, often colder inside than out. Most mornings, we’d wake early and have a chat over a morning coffee, our breath like streams of mist cutting through the cold air. 

Possibly the only photo of the four of us recording at the same time. This is how we captured every song on the record. 

Me and Husky on one of the last nights at the Hotel before it was pulled down. In the final weeks and months of the Hotel we turned the space into a living and breathing art project. We knew that this was an end of sorts, that the painted walls would soon come crashing down. But with destruction comes new life. We decided to turn this final chapter of the Hotel into a celebration. Pictured here, you can see part of what we called 'the dream room’. 

Stardust Blues is out tomorrow, Friday 7 August. Head here for more info and to pre-save.