The artists’ message to kids everywhere is simple: social media is not all its quacked up to be.
Adam Hyde and Reuben Styles of Australian dance duo Peking Duk have achieved so much this year. They’ve been nominated for five ARIA Awards, performed in numerous shows and festivals like Lollapalooza and Coachella, and are about to release their own children’s book.
You read that right.
The book, entitled DJ Duks, is a cautionary tale of two ducks who get caught up in living the music industry high life. Though able to hang out with celebrities, drive fancy cars, and gain lots of followers on social media, the two realise that there is also emptiness that comes with that lifestyle.
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Thanks for the support everyone! Can’t wait for you to see the book. Here’s the cover art by our good friend @alexlehours. You’d be quakkers not to get your hands on a pre-order now! Keep an eye out for some more sneak peeks #comingsoon… ??#djduks #childrensbook #pekingduk
“So many kids out there, especially teens are going through heavy depression due to them being force-fed images of models on yachts on their Instagram feed which they feel inadequate when they compare their own lives up against,” Adam told Lost At E Minor.
“In reality none of that stuff they are seeing is real… The reality is that what’s more important is cherishing what IS real. Friends, family, beautiful moments throughout life not spent through a lens on your phone.
“If we can even get this message to a few kids when they’re young maybe it will change the way they see social media as they grow older. If we can change any kid’s views on that, then we feel our job with this book is done.”
The book, which comes out this month, was illustrated by Sydney artist Alex Lehours, who has worked with brands like Armani Exchange, Converse, and National Gallery of Victoria.
Continue on below to see more of our interview with Adam and Reuben as they discuss the inspiration and process behind DJ Duks.
Where did you get the idea to make a children’s book?
Reuben: “Roughly a year ago Adam and I started to notice unusual tendency occurring amongst our younger friends and families… How addicted to Instagram everyone is!
And it results in people feeling extremely blah about themselves. They’ll follow hundreds of exorbitant people and see their day-to-day smiling, their yacht-chartering, and in general, their ridiculous lifestyles. It’s great to look into their worlds but when it’s all you see it starts to look normal. That’s when regular-joe life appears to be lesser and can really affect both confidence and happiness.
We simply wanted to make a book for young children that explains how unimportant social media is, and how none of these high-profile Instagram people are genuinely as happy as they pretend to be. Obviously it’s not going to be the one thing that changes a kid’s perception but even if it’s 1 in 100, every little bit will help. Hopefully kids now will hear this sort of message hundreds of times before they become teenagers.”
Can you give us a little insight into the creative process that went into making DJ Duks?
Adam: “Reuben and I wrote a rough story about two cute little duks getting caught up in fame and losing what’s most important in life – family and friends…. essentially a place you call home with people that care about you and you care for.
What we initially wrote was a million stories in one and was far too dense to be a children’s book so we had some legends from BMG help us consolidate the core of the story – make it short, sweet and straight to the point. After the editing session we were stoked to realise we had an honest story with a strong and meaningful moral to it that is accessible by both children and adults.
We then went on the hunt for the perfect illustrator and found the perfect person for the job – Alex Lehours. He nailed the vibe of the story through his art perfectly and also turned it around incredibly fast like a true pro. The final product is what you will see once it’s out mid-December!”
What was the most difficult part about writing a children’s book? Also, how many drafts did you do, and how long did the entire writing process take?
Reuben: “The most difficult thing was trying to keep it simple. We had no idea how to convey such a message through such short amounts of words. Alex Lehours was amazing in helping us make as many words with pictures as possible. Pretty much every draft was just a trim down in words from the last.”
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Head to djduks.com and pre-order your ‘Banger Bundle’ now for pre-Christmas delivery. The ‘Banger Bundle’ includes a first edition book signed by @pekingduk made out to your child, headphones, 2 x rubber Duks, a keychain, a sticker pack and a custom display box all for AUD$99. Tag a friend who needs this in their child’s life. ? ?
What do you hope for this book to become or mean for parents and their kids?
Adam: “We’re just trying to do our bit in teaching kids that what you see on social media and how you are perceived on social media is not the be all and end all – in fact it’s the complete opposite. So many kids out there, especially teens are going through heavy depression due to them being force fed images of models on yachts on their Instagram feed which they feel inadequate when they compare their own lives up against.
In reality none of that stuff they are seeing is real… The reality is that what’s more important is cherishing what IS real. Friends, family, beautiful moments throughout life not spent through a lens on your phone. If we can even get this message to a few kids when they’re young maybe it will change the way they see social media as they grow older. If we can change any kid’s views on that, then we feel our job with this book is done.”
Reuben: “Hopefully this message is something parents feel as strongly about as we do. The amount of enthusiastic feedback we’ve received about us taking on something like this with the message we want to spread is overwhelming.
Hopefully, though, the meaning behind it is strong enough to stick in the back of kids minds whilst they grow up, and hopefully the new words and story are exciting enough to be read over and over by the same parent to the same kid as a great bedtime story.”