Photo credit: youtube.com
Hudson Taylor is Harry & Alfie Hudson Taylor, an Irish pair of brothers. Since their days of busking & videos on YouTube, they have gone on to tour for the past three years, most notably opening for Jake Bugg and the Rolling Stones. They recently came to Exeter for a gig to promote their yet-to-be-released album, Singing For Strangers, and I managed to catch them up just before. Down-to-earth, personable and friendly, (& very interested in Singapore), interviewing them was like chatting with a friend. With their good looks and winning harmonies (as I found out later during their concert), Hudson Taylor is definitely a band to watch out!
This is your first headline tour – how has it been like?
Alfie: We’ve been touring for about the past three years but this tour feels like our biggest tour so far, because our album’s coming out and people are more familiar with the songs. It definitely feels like people are coming to see us, which is a really cool feeling.
Our past few shows have been unbelievable; we haven’t had a bad day yet. Every show has been totally different in its own little way. We had a show in Edinburgh which was in this venue called The Caves. We unplugged everything, played in the crowd. That was really fun. We got to play Shepherd’s Bush Empire in London, which is crazy.
Harry: It’s big, like 2000 people.
A: It was our biggest ever headline show. We also get to travel back to Ireland next week.
At this point we launched into a conversation about where we were from – me from Singapore, them from Dublin. After enthusing about Dublin – the vibe, atmosphere – Harry declared that they would “love to go to Singapore sometime”.
How would you describe your music in your new album “Singing for Strangers”?
H: It mainly centers around us – myself and Alfie as brothers – just playing guitars and singing in harmonies. The style of music is singer-songwriter folk with a little bit of live energy involved. The songs we write are about what’s going on in our lives.
What is your favourite song in the album & why?
H: My favourite song is Don’t Tell Me, because I really enjoyed the experience of writing it. Alfie wrote it; it’s about marriage, equality and gay rights. Every time we sing it live, I love playing it. I really enjoyed recording it as well.
A: I like Don’t Know Why, which is one of our bonus tracks, and I don’t know why I like it.
So I saw on Youtube that you guys have a live stream series called “Streaming for Strangers”. Where did you get the idea from?
H: A few years ago we used to be on BlogTV, which is a live stream – at that moment in time people sign in and watch you. It’s really nice to get instant feedback, its lovely.
A: So we could be playing for 800 people in our living room.
H: It’s a good way to try out some new songs, and straightaway you can see what people think.
A: It was always interesting to go on and say “Where’s everybody from?” and you would get (insert scrolling sound effects by Alfie & Harry) “Singapore! Australia! Dublin! Exeter!”
Do you guys get stage fright?
A: Sometimes we get nervous, depending on the gig, and who’s there.
H: It’s usually if you know there’s someone in the audience who’s really important, that might affect you. But I think we got over our normal stage nerves quite a long time ago from busking.
A: Playing on the streets in Dublin, and we actually did it today in Exeter, beside Urban Outfitters, below the mural.
Oh & did you get quite a few people, and any who recognized you?
A: Yeah we got a good few people! A few people who were coming to the gig tonight saw us so they got two gigs.
Very nice! You guys played at quite a number of festivals last summer, like at Glastonbury and Indiependence. Any plans for this summer?
A: We’d love to keep on doing more festivals. I think at the moment they’re all starting to be booked. Hopefully if all goes well and our album comes out, we’re going to be so busy this summer doing them again. We love going to festivals just as much as we love playing them.
H: If we have time we try to see stuff as much as we can. Last summer we saw Kodaline – they’re really good live. I really like them. At Indiependence we saw The Coronas, an Irish band. We love seeing them; they’re good friends of ours.
So has there been anyone that you’ve seen live & just thought “I would love to be just like them”?
A: We got to see Sting & Paul Simon play together.
H: Yeah that was unbelievable.
A: We’re massive, massive fans.
H: I loved it. We saw this band as well called The Lone Bellow, an American band, at a folk festival. They’ve got a really cool live kind of thing going on.
A: A band called The La’s, they have a song called There She Goes (Alfie promptly starts singing a few lines). They have a really nice sound, tight harmonies, some electric-y stuff. We’d be interested in their live sound (H: although I don’t think they tour anymore).
Part II to be continued here.