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Interview: Hudson Taylor

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2015 is set to be a big year for Irish rock duo Hudson Taylor, who finally drop their long-awaited and highly-anticipated debut album Singing For Strangers in March and head out on a sold-out tour to back it up.

Hudson Taylor

Brothers Alfie and Harry write songs with an air of classic folk-pop, laid-back and psyche-tinged like the best sixties acoustic sounds. Alfie explains the genesis of their sound,We grew up listening to a lot of music with a lot of harmony, and sort of folk music I suppose, like Simon and Garfunkel, the Everly Brothers and the Beatles… a lot sixties and seventies kinda stuff.”

From an early age the brothers started busking, dropping them into the process of performing and forming a strong part of their musical evolution.

“We are influenced a lot by busking and the covers we used to play when busking, because we used to play popular/hit songs, anything from the sixties to now… any sort of era”.

The first support act on their Singing For Strangers tour is a musician they’ve been long acquainted with, Jack Morris, and who has continually inspired them, Harry elaborates, “We’ve got a guy on tour with us at the moment, he’s opening for us, he’s about three or four years older than us, his name’s Jack Morris. He got us into song-writing, we used to just play covers before that, and a few years ago, he sort of got Alfie into songwriting, and then by virtue of that got me into it as well.”

In the live arena the band have certainly paid their dues, earning spots at Glastonbury, Reading and Leeds Festivals and supported the Rolling Stones in Hyde Park. Strangely none of these peaks, these don’t register in the bands career-topping moments, as Harry explains, “We’ve got a top five sort of thing, it’s interchangeable - it doesn’t really have an actual top one. We played a gig in Edinburgh the other-day which has gone into my top five just purely because it was so random, it was amazing, there was a power-cut, and so we just busked, we just played completely with no amp.”

Alfie adds, “We had a similar gig last year at Glastonbury when there was a power-cut in the middle of our set and that was also in my top five up there with that Edinburgh gig… so we like power-cuts. Also, we got to support the Rolling Stones in Hyde Park, which was absolutely mad, that’s a once in a lifetime thing.”

Their latest tour has sold out many of its venues, which came as a welcome surprise to them both.

“W’ve spent the last three years touring around the UK and supporting Jake Bugg and Kodaline and stuff and it’s nice to see that people who saw you support, come to see you headline, it feels like everybody’s sort of come together in a way,” explains Alfie.

Harry adds that “I can pre-emptively say that some of the gigs on this tour will be replacing my top five gigs… we’ve got one back home in Dublin at the Olympia theatre and that’s like our dream venue to play and we’ve sold it out, so I can already say that that’s probably going to be in the top five.”

Alfie highlights that their new album is “quite autobiographical”.

 “We’ve been working on it and writing songs for it over the last three, sort of four years, and when we play these songs we try and get ourselves into the headspace that we were in when we were writing the song.” As well as being inspired in their songwriting by “family, relationships, politics, sometimes… the weather… and moving to London.”

The duo had certain goals when creating their debut album, as, Harry explains, “We’ve been trying to capture the main sound that we create live at gigs, which has actually been really difficult. We finally came to a place a couple of months ago where we were like ‘yes we’ve done it’, we’d taken about four times to record some of the songs. We were trying to achieve ‘what you see is what you get’ - just trying to make it about me and Alfie’s vocals and guitars and make sure that the songs shine through and don’t get kind of cluttered with too much stuff.”

Alfie adds, “We have a good few sort of newer songs and we also have songs that we’ve released before that we felt needed a bit of a re-vamp or needed a re-record, so we’ve got tonnes of new versions of stuff as well that we’ve released before.”

The album has already been released in Ireland and the response was surprising to the duo.

“It was received so well, we couldn’t believe it. It got released in Ireland first because we’re from there and it’s a much smaller place so we’d done a lot of the promotion you do when you’re building up for a campaign and you have to sort of make your face known, so the next thing we could do was release the album and they were really ready for it, they couldn’t wait any longer. We’re delighted that we got to go there and spend a whole week just focussed on Ireland.”

2015 seems set to be a great year for Hudson Taylor, the pair have high hopes but Harry puts it very simply, “We’ll be happy if we’re just still making music at the end of the year and the year after that and the year after that…” “And the year after that… and the year after that…”.




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