Hush Kids: Beauty All Around
Hush Kids’ self-titled record (available everywhere now) feels a lot like the day we interviewed them: early fall warmed by lingering summer rays and a wrap-around porch with a swing. Chatting with Jill Andrews and Peter Groenwald was just as soothing as their debut - they both exude a quiet, steady demeanor; they are curious and kind. Their creative bond is apparent, it’s almost like these two are long lost siblings from the ways in which they are so in step together: finishing each other’s thoughts and sentences. Listening to the record, all of this is apparent through their spacious and effortless melodies, synchronized harmonies, and heartfelt lyrics.
After a “songwriting blind date”, two songs, and a year and change, the two decided to form a band by Andrews’ suggestion. “...After the [second] song a year went by, and tons of life changes happened. I’m mixing this song and she’s got her guitar and she’s nursing [her baby] and she’s like “I think we should start a band”. I’m cool with being in the background; I prefer that usually but I had to say yes because she had obviously a lot going on. There was a lot of life everywhere, but I was like ‘Fuck yeah let’s start a band,’” says Groenwald. Andrews laughs and adds, “You didn’t want to feel like a slacker.” The two explained that initially their respective publishers set them up to write with the intention for writing for film and TV. In music publishing, writers are often instructed to keep music ambiguous so the chances of it fitting into a movie, television show, or ad are greater.
Andrews: “The first song we wrote - it’s called “Wake Up” and it’s on our album - it just felt really personal and really special. A lot of times when you’re writing for film and tv it’s like ‘Don’t be too specific, be super general, don’t mention any cities, don’t mention any times or whatever’. That kind of stuff just washed away when we were writing it and it just kind of felt like ‘Oh, this song feels special, like something that I would want to listen to.’”
Groenwald: “I kind of wish that we could peer into that; not knowing each other at all - it had to be a really interesting conversation that led us to feel comfortable enough to write that. That’s the other thing in a co-write situation; it’s not just writing a song...There’s a lot of normal [co-writes], and you get through it, and you clock out and then there’s some that stick with you. And this was one that stuck with us.”
Andrews: “I feel like I remember what the context was [for “Wake Up”]. It’s all about being present; about shutting your phone off and being present in the moment. I think that morning I was saying that I was feeling stressed - he has a child and one on the way and I have two kids - it’s not easy to be in the moment with them when there’s so many things going on. It was a conversation like that that sparked the song.”
The theme of connection and being present weaves its way through each of the songs on the record. Songs like “What’s Your Hurry”, “Wake Up”, “Beauty All Around”, and “Talking to Myself” all touch on the fragility of this life spent engrossed in screens and the longing to break free from the chatter.
After the decision was made to write with the “Hush Kids” project in mind, the songs continued to flow. Both Andrews and Groenwald attest the synthesis of the final product to their producer, Ian Fitchuk. “We just kept writing. We wrote with our producer, who is a better-than-good friend, Ian Fitchuk. When anything would slow down with our intention of [writing] he was a nice catalyzing force…I think that’s the best way to say it: he catalyzed something that was already there,” says Groenwald.
And there’s no doubt about that “something”. Hush Kids the album has already received critical acclaim in the few short weeks since it’s debut. The 10-song album is like a warm embrace and a breath of tranquility in a chaotic age. Listen to the album below and catch them live here.