Interview With Nathan Hudson
July 8, 2016
Former Faker frontman, Nathan Hudson, embarks on massive 12-month recording session around the world for his new project, ‘Map of Stars’.
For his latest musical outing, ‘Map of Stars’, Nathan aims to write 2 songs, in 1 city, in 1 month, over the course of a year! This means he will be writing 24 songs in 12 different cities around the world over the 12 months; assembling new musicians in each city along the way.
Tell us how this idea came about and why you decided to pursue such an adventurous endeavor for your new music?
After ending Faker, I spent a lot of time traveling (mostly through the US), finding my way in and out of music, I worked at some dead end jobs in New Orleans (my first job in the US was walking the women to the stage at a Bourbon Street strip club), then I went to New York to try to work in film, and basically got lost. I was writing, but I forgot how to be in a band. When I decided I needed to be making music, it felt counter-intuitive to just be in one place and start again, particularly when my experience had been about so many different places. If I was gonna start from scratch I’d have to do something entirely different, you know? I was visiting family in Australia and realised I wanted to work with a whole lot of different people in order to figure out what I sound like now. So I got out of my comfort zone and on the road.
As you’re finding new musicians in each city, this will obviously change the sound from release to release. Have you anticipated how your music will change from city to city, and how will this work differ from your work in Faker?
I sincerely hope my music will change from city to city, but I have no idea! Maybe it’ll be like Groundhog Day and I’ll just find myself assembling the same band over and over and over again, but I don’t think so. I want more diversity in my music so I’ll endeavour to do something different each time, or I’ll go to increasingly different places, so that I’m forced to find something new!
Your first stop on the magical musical tour was LA, where you recorded 2 songs, ‘Getaway Car’ and ‘Heavens’. How did those songs come about and how did the recording process work?
Everybody who recorded on the LA songs (Brian Grover, Justin Goings and Patrick John Costello) I met at different times in bar and cafe environments, and we just struck up conversations with each other, usually to talk about music that was playing at the venue, or some such. Musically speaking, the chemistry was really straightforward. I would go on tour with that band in a second.
Recording happened in a very guerrilla fashion. We didn’t have a lot of time, so we basically had to bring a bunch of Brian’s recording equipment to Justin’s rehearsal space / practice room and record on the fly. There was the loudest band in the world playing metal down the hall that night, so we had to wait until their music simmered a little to get a take (like when it was just a pulsating rumble rather than the sound of a billion car crashes happening at once). Justin’s drumming was so thrilling to watch while we were under that pressure. Patrick, also had a few things on his mind, and stepped up to the plate fantastically, especially considering his wife was due to have a baby at any given moment during the process, fortunately he got the work done and was present for the birth.
I tracked vocals later in the week at Brian’s house, in his living room, while being taunted by his lovely cat, who I think is named after Ash after Ash from the Evil Dead films. I got a bit emotional that day. I was daunted because we only had about half an hour to complete Getaway Car and the lyric was patchy, so I just had to kind of make it up. Aside from being a fantastic musician (he contributed bass, keys and some baritone guitar), Brian basically saved me when I thought it was all gonna fall apart with a few tender but stern words.
Getaway Car is basically a manifesto for the project, but it’s also saying on a romantic level, if you wanna be with me and do this, you’ve gotta run, because I’ve never really been able to sit still and watch the world go by… Maybe I’ll grow out of that someday.
Heavens was really about me asking myself, "what kind of song would I write if I wasn’t gonna be in Faker anymore? (which I’m not, clearly)” and also being frustrated with losing so much time time to apps and social media feeds. The song for me is about finding something more than that, about seeing the world first hand.
If there was 1 city you could record in, a real city or otherwise, where would it be?
I don’t think I could pick one (which is probably why I’m doing this). I guess, New York or Berlin in the late 1970’s. So much music I care about was invented during that time. Otherwise, in the here and now, I really hope I get to Havana Cuba at some point.
In terms of fantasy cities, maybe the version of LA from the Blade Runner film, or Karhide from Ursula Le Guin’s Left Hand Of Darkness - a novel set on a world called Gethen, populated by a humanoid species who are “ambisexual" (with no fixed gender identity). City Of Lost Children. Valhalla… all those vikings. South Park would be fun too.
Where to next?
Montreal. I’ve never been there. I don’t know anybody. I don’t speak any french… It’s gonna be fun!
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