Sunday ACL Fest Interview: Middle Kids

Elton John-endorsed trio captures feelings as they rock out

Photo by Maclay Heriot

Last year, the Sydney trio’s first single, “Edge of Town,” had Elton John declaring himself a fan and subsequently catapulted Middle Kids into the spotlight.

Singer-guitarist Hannah Joy bubbles with a warm enthusiasm. Currently, the 26-year-old songwriter for Sydney's Middle Kids feels only positivity. Last year, the trio's first single, "Edge of Town," had Elton John declaring himself a fan and subsequently catapulted Middle Kids into the spotlight – before the band had played a show or released an EP.

"I think [that song] captured a feeling or an experience for a lot of people," muses Joy. "The song embodies that feeling of freedom, but the whole story is about not being in control and not knowing as much about anything as you thought you did. I love all the instrumentation on it and being able to swing my voice around."

Joy, a classically trained pianist, had never been in a rock band or played guitar until she started Middle Kids with bassist Tim Fitz and drummer Harry Day.

"It's a cool new way of songwriting for me, because I'm still finding my way around a guitar," Joy explains. "It means that everything is a little bit more stripped back, simplified, and it's more about the melody and the lyrics."

This year's self-titled, six-song EP, released via Domino in North America, is equal parts elation pop and melancholy rock. Joy's priority for Middle Kids remains songs people can sing along to. Although the EP wasn't written until after the group catapulted into the spotlight, "Edge of Town" was still the songwriting catalyst.

"It wasn't, 'Oh shit, we need new songs' but, 'Oh, this feels so good and now there's this song, and this song!'" reveals Joy. "The songs were pouring out."

Middle Kids

1:15pm, Miller Lite stage

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ACL Fest 2017, Middle Kids, Hannah Joy

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