Hush Pup: The WL17 Interview

Purveyors of: Whisper-crooned daydream tunes.
File next to: M83, My Bloody Valentine, Tennis
Playing: WL17 Night 3, Sunday Feb. 19 @ The Garrison. Get tickets here!

Hush Pup is a dream-synth pop duo made up of Ida Maidstone and Steve Scott. Based out of both Toronto and Victoria, BC, the pair offers an unburdened sound that is impossible to not find relaxing. Wavelength’s Devin Calow caught up with them after they returned from a little R&R in Cuba.

So you just came back from Cuba. I hear it’s like stepping back in time there, and a good place to visit if you like meeting stray cats. Any exciting adventures you’d like to share?

Ida: Yes, Steve and I just got back from Havana last night! It was a trip to celebrate my dad’s 70th birthday. We saw many stray cats and dogs, ice cream-coloured buildings, and ate shrimp and lobster and guava daily. One amazing moment was waking up on my dad’s b-day and walking out into our living room to a Korean superstar and her twenty-person crew filming a makeup commercial including my dad, his girlfriend, and my aunt. They and the celeb had their arms around each other and were repeatedly reciting the line, “Beauty for life.” It felt like a mojito dream.

Your sound is obviously heavily influenced by the ‘80s and ‘90s. If you could collaborate with anyone from that period (dead or alive) who would it be?

Ida: I’d have to say Tom Tom Club and Cocteau Twins of course.

Can you pinpoint a moment, or turning point, when you decided performing music was what you wanted to do with your lives?

Ida: There was a period of time in seventh grade when I used to lie and say I was sick so I could stay home and sing along to my CDs when no one else was around. I felt pretty uncomfortable at school, but singing was bliss.

Steve: I was four-and-a-half years old when I saw New Kids on the Block’s video for “You Got It (The Right Stuff).” I guess I just wanted to be like Jordan Knight. Those moves. I was hooked.

Being from both Victoria and Toronto, what do you guys find is the biggest difference between the two cities?

Ida: I think the biggest difference is the role that nature plays in day-to-day life versus the role that social interaction plays in day-to-day life. You can find both in both places, but interaction with nature comes more naturally in Victoria and social life comes more naturally in T.O.

Your video for “Hisyo’s Jungle” may win the award for most adorable music video of all time. Is the black pug featured in the video the band’s official mascot? Is this Hush Pup in its most physical form?

Ida: I love that pup! Never got to meet him or her, but I feel like the little pup’s vibe really represents the ethos of our band, haha. I think Little Hush — I’ve just decided that’s the puppy’s name — belongs to our friend Galen Milne-Hines who made the video. I cried when I first saw that video. The song is about a journey and Little Hush is totally on a jungle journey.

It was announced recently that the historic Silver Dollar Room in Toronto has been saved by the city and will be re-opening after some renovations. How important is it to you as an artist to hear that the the government is acknowledging the importance of live music venues?

Ida: It’s extremely important. It’s so crucial for the arts to have spaces to exist in. Spaces that are inclusive and encourage creativity, diversity, and community. Spaces that facilitate in-person interactions. Without these spaces, music scenes can’t exist. There is a lot more support that needs to be put into place for musicians and artists of all kinds in Canada. Toronto, like many cities, needs to deal with issues of rent control.

Wavelength Music provides emerging artists from across Canada with a platform to showcase their talents. Who are you excited to see at this year’s anniversary festival?

Ida: Yes, thank you Wavelength for always curating great bills! We’re stoked for our night! Phèdre are a personal favourite. Their music has facilitated many YMCA workout sessions. Also super excited for Strands, Han Han, Vallens, and DIANA.

What can your fans expect to see when you take to the Garrison stage on February 19th?

Ida: Glitter, hair in our faces, and some new and re-imagined songs.

— Interview by Devin Calow