Interviews

Keli Holiday is on a never-ending heartbreak holiday

Keli Holiday is making the emotional 80s fever dream we’ve been waiting for.

Adam Hyde from Peking Duk has a new solo project that has given him the chance to be more honest and vulnerable in his creativity than ever before.

Adam’s new single off my mind isn’t your average breakup song. It sarcastically tells listeners that everything is fine, summoning a whirlwind of emotions but of course, it’s done in an electric manner that Keli Holiday will soon be known for perfecting.

HAPPY: Okay, so let’s talk about off my mind. It’s fricken awesome, I just wanted to start by saying that.

ADAM: Thank you. That means a lot.

HAPPY: I’m so glad and what a phenomenal music video, it’s the first thing I wanted to ask you about because it’s like this 80s fever dream and I’m obsessed with it, I love it.

ADAM: I like that, thank you.

HAPPY: Yeah, how much fun was it to shoot?

ADAM: It was really fun. Really, really fun. I like that, what you said – an 80s fever dream. I guess it is a fever dream, the whole kind of… the whole kind of concept of Keli Holiday, in general, is kind of like one long 80s fever dream, so I think you hit the nail on the head there.

HAPPY: Haha, cool.

ADAM: I hit up my homie Taylor Bonin and I was like ‘hey, I need to shoot a video for this song, fairly quickly because I was heading over to Australia.’ But then my flight got moved because of… I actually got kicked off the flight by the government because of COVID stuff. But we rushed together this clip, he’s like ‘come over to my house, I’ll dress you up as The Wedding Singer and you know, let’s… let’s do it.’ And then I went over to his house in Los Feliz in Los Angeles one afternoon, had a few beers and then we just kind of like had a bunch of fun, and sung through it and danced through it. Yeah, it came out really good actually…. so good – I’m glad you dig it.

HAPPY: Oh man, of course, I am actually glad to hear you say The Wedding Singer as well because I just re-watched it and I was going to ask if it was an influence.

ADAM: Oh… It’s so good. Yeah, The Wedding Singer was… The Wedding Singer was 100 per cent the reference point for that and I feel like The Wedding Singer should be the reference point for a lot more music videos and just life and vibe in general.

HAPPY: Yeah, yeah absolutely, could not agree more. How fun was it when you got to smoosh the cake? It looked very pleasing.

ADAM: That was. That was like aesthetically…. that was like, you know, eye porn. Like that Instagram account, I don’t know if it’s still around actually, this was ages ago, but it was called If You High and it was stuff to look at when your high, like really visually pleasing things. And I remember before I did it, I was like ‘I’ve only got one shot at doing this, so I’ve got to make it perfect’. And as I was doing it, I was really quite captivated by how pleasant it was. It’s so nice just smooshing things like that – it was great fun. It was an honour.

HAPPY: Good. Good, also the red suit you’re wearing, I’ve seen a couple of photos of you in a red suit for Peking Duk and I’m wondering how many red suits do you own? It’s impressive!

ADAM: Ah, I wish I…. I actually wish I owned a red suit – I don’t own any of them but I need to get one now that you say that, but shoutout to Ally Mullen a good friend of mine in LA and she was like ‘alright if you’re going to do this, you need a sick suit.’ And she went out last minute, like the night before and went to this like Hollywood warehouse and found this old Wedding Singer suit and she’s like ‘boom, this will look good on you, give it a go’.

HAPPY: Wow.

ADAM: And then I tried it on and I was like ‘this is it, man. This is the one’. And it all worked out.

HAPPY: Perfect. That’s really cool, everything did work out because it really is great. Back to the actual song itself and your whole project, I know you said the project was born from the mind of a man living off nothing but New Order records. I feel like I can hear that, but would you say that New Order is a heavy influence on the project?

ADAM: Yeah, 100 per cent, like New Order and Joy Division, are, you know, kind of the same band, minus Ian. It’s like, sonically, thematically, it all kind of just really spoke to me over the certain period of time as I was going through, you know, a hellish breakup and I was really exhausted and run down from always being on the road with Peking Duk. I remember just this music really speaking to me, more than it ever had before because I had grown up with it being played in the house by my dad, but like when I heard it like that, I don’t know, it really spoke to me and then that was kind of the catalyst for me to go home and I guess create whatever was on my mind and how I was feeling. And then through that, sonically the influences were clear that it was Joy Division, New Order, The Cure, a lot of British stuff, like The Libertines, and stuff like that definitely came through, like, you’ll hear that on the album when it comes out, for sure.

HAPPY: Yeah, yeah. Very cool. They’re great bands to be influenced by and it’s come out really well. You’ve put a very modern spin on it but it’s definitely still got that kind of evocative feeling that those bands have.

ADAM: Thank you.

HAPPY: It’s very cool

ADAM: Thank you. When I was talking with Kim about, you know, the overall view of the album, it’s kind of like, okay well, it’s suddenly cool here because it’s not straight rock and roll and it’s not straight electronic and it’s not straight indie, it’s not straight pop, it’s kind of, kind of got its own little world, where it’s like synth-laden, whilst also guitar-heavy. I don’t know, I like the world that it sits in, musically, I think it’s exciting and it’s real, it’s all genuine and honest and I think that’s the most important thing at the end of the day.

HAPPY: Yeah definitely. As you had mentioned, it’s coming from a break-up, you said how real and vulnerable this way and that it’s the most vulnerable stuff that you’ve made. Did it make it tough collaborating, having to open yourself up to your friends?

ADAM: That’s a good question. That’s a really good question. It was funny too because I didn’t know Kim prior to us working on it at all. That’s a really good question. I thought about that, it was something that crossed my mind quite a lot and then I thought to myself, ‘fuck it, what have I got to lose?’ Throw myself out on the line to dry, you know what I mean? Like just, if I’m going to do it and I’m going to release this music, I’ve got to be as real to myself and as real to everyone else as I can be, there’s no point even hiding it – it’s written in the lyrics, you know, let it all show, let it all hang out.

HAPPY: Yeah.

ADAM: And I guess I just kind of surrendered to the powers that be and let the creative… the creative party take its course, you know.

HAPPY: Good. Good job. It’s great.

ADAM: Thank you

HAPPY: This might be totally psycho question, I’m glad you liked the last question because this might be nuts, and maybe you’ve been asked it before, but can you tell me where the name Keli Holiday came from?

ADAM: Yeah, that’s not a nuts question at all. I was thinking about Ned Kelly, and like the Kelly family on a holiday together, like, because that was just a family of outlaws and misfits, that I always thought about the concept of them on a holiday, like a family holiday, like a family vacation together, smiling, and, you know, having a great time. I just… something about that seems fascinating to me, it’s so twisted, you know, it’s like hell in paradise, type thing and I think, I don’t know I was just kind of thinking of a name and that thought kept crossing my mind and I was like ‘Kelly Family Holiday… Kelly… Kelly Holiday. Keli Holiday!’. And then yeah, then I was kind of like stuck with it and my mum was like ‘that’s the worst name I’ve ever heard. You suck’. And I was like ‘well, I’m going to do it anyway’. And then I did it and I’m happy with it. I think it’s good too because it’s a character, that’s sums up that character Keli Holiday….

HAPPY: Yeah

ADAM: That’s his schtick, he’s like trying to be on a never-ending holiday, but he’s so heartbroken, he just keeps, you know, he just…. he’s kind of crippled by his own heartbreak, even though he doesn’t want to show it.

HAPPY: Yeah. I’m really glad I asked that now because that’s awesome and yeah, whether it was intentional or not, I think that that’s the perfect name for the character.

ADAM: Yeah. Thank you.

HAPPY: Very cool. Okay, so, everything you’ve released so far is coming from the album that’s being released in April. Are you going to be putting out anything else as a single before the album is released?

ADAM: I am. I’m putting out the next song with the album, which is very exciting. The next song is called Human Nature and it’s kind of like a revisit to the first song that I ever released with the project, We Don’t Have To Know, it’s more… but a bit more psychedelic. It’s very California, sunshine, kind of vibe. I think it’s going to be the perfect thing to drop the album with because the album has a lot of melancholic, you know, heart-break tales on it, so I think it will be good to kind of drop it with an uplifting… another uplifting song. So yeah, and the song has been going off at every live show that I’ve done so I’m really keen to get that out there with the album.

HAPPY: Cool. Yeah, and on that as well because you have been doing these live shows when you can, I imagine it would be a pretty different vibe to what you’re used to with Peking Duk. There is a bit more of that melancholy and the ‘lighters in the sky’ kind of vibe. Are you enjoying that, the difference?

ADAM: Yeah, it’s honestly been mind-blowing, and like you said it’s a whole new world, it’s a different world, and I mean, it was kind of just bizarre like the first show that I did, the first full live show, you know playing a full one-hour set, of unreleased… of music that no one had heard essentially…. to me was just like ‘help, what the fuck is happening? This is so weird’. But the main thing I was like alright, well then, the music’s got to really… it’s really got to speak… Yeah, but it was like, okay well then let’s see how this goes, and everybody was clapping, I saw some people crying with some of the music and I was like ‘this is crazy’. To feel that connection with the riff that no one’s heard, it felt very surreal and every live show since then has either been the same or it’s, you know, exceeded that feeling. I’m excited to just keep doing more, to be honest. It’s a world that I’m looking forward to exploring deeper and further. I’ve written so much more music for the project too that it really is just the beginning of it all.

HAPPY: Yeah I was wondering that actually as well, if you are sitting on a whole bunch of new stuff that’s not even on the album?

ADAM: Yeah, I am, like I’ve got heaps and heaps of stuff. Like I’ve already got the outline for album two, kind of there sound-wise, which is very exciting. Yeah, being able to explore in this new world with Keli Holiday is like… Just it feels really, I don’t know, really like honest to myself, which is nice, you know, and I think that’s important, that’s all we can do as humans is be as honest to ourselves and as real to everyone around us as we can.

HAPPY: Yeah, yeah. And it’s really cool to see that, I’m mean, it’s so clear, you know, having fans crying at songs they have never heard before…

ADAM: Yeah. Crazy

HAPPY: … like, it just touches people. It’s awesome

ADAM: Yeah, it’s mental. Absolutely mental.

HAPPY: That’s really good. That’s pretty much everything I want to know right now but I do have a really stupid question – I know we’re talking about Keli Holiday, but I gotta ask, did you know that today is national Peking Duck Day?

ADAM: It is?

HAPPY: Yeah. Yeah, like for the dish.

ADAM: Oh. I was like ‘damn, we have a day?’ Damn, how cocky am I? I didn’t know that actually, that is exciting stuff. Shoutout to the dish itself. We once did a whole day of press in China, in Peking, which you know is Beijing…

HAPPY: Oh my god

ADAM: …and every interviewer, they were lovely, they were all lovely, they all brought a little container of Peking Duck for us to try and the day went for like seven hours and we… every single interviewer brought us a thing of Peking Duck, it was hilarious. It was so bizarre. Shoutout to Peking Duck for inspiring the name of Peking Duk, I guess.

HAPPY: That’s awesome. That’s very, very cool. That’s everything from me, thank you so much for your time.

ADAM: You’re a legend Chloe, thanks so much for having me.

HAPPY: No worries, I’m very excited to hear the album.

ADAM: It going to be fun, very fun.

 

‘off my mind’ is available on all streaming services now.

Keli Holiday’s debut album KELI will be out on April 8.

Interviewed by Chloe Maddren.

Photos supplied.