Published on April 17th, 2015 | by voxx0
Hudson Taylor Interview
So you started out as Harry + Alfie uploading YouTube videos. Do you believe this was a good way to get noticed?
I think it was a brilliant way to get noticed. How we first started was playing to a group of people on the beach on a family holiday and after playing to them a couple of times, well we were only there for two weeks and then when we left they said: “Put up a Youtube video and a Youtube account so you can start putting videos up.” So we were like, ok, we’ll give it a go, so we put up one cover and then we learnt all our first views were from Germany, which was pretty cool. We kept on putting up covers after that and then a few of our friends found out about it and it got shared around with a few people in like the very early days of Youtube. It was just a really good way to sort of see what was going on. We found with every video we put up it started getting more views and more shares and stuff like that, and it was a really good to gauge where you are. Then when we started writing songs it was the same. We could get a direct response to if people liked the song or not from what people were saying because you can read the comments and stuff, so it was very positive in that way. But I think it’s very important when you’re starting out, depending on your sort of music, to spread yourself out
as much as possible. Youtube is a really good platform beaucse it’s like your music being out without properly releasing it and selling it. You know, you can just do a one shot video and put it up, which obviously gets you shares, but we also like busking and doing the live music to get our point across as well. Spending time in many areas is never a bad thing. If you focus on one thing too much you’re just losing out on so much opportunity. So I think the best way to get noticed is to a bit of everything all together.
What made you change your name to Hudson Taylor?
Well as you know we started out as Harry and Alfie but that’s just our names. We’re actually brothers and Hudson Taylor is our second name, so when it came to deciding that we were going to start doing this seriously as a band things were different. Harry and Alfie was just a little bit of fun and because we needed a name to
so go out with but when we started putting the EP together and stuff we found Harry and Alfie didn’t really work because when you added all the instruments on like the drums and bass and piano and stuff so we thought that Harry and Aflie sort of excludes the other people in the band, and yeah it just worked out pretty well. Thankfully we have a second name that sounds like a band name. Initially we had loads of band names in the mix, awful names actually so I won’t repeat them. Then we just came up with Hudson Taylor which is pretty easy to find. It just clicked and caught on.
Cool, so you’ve supported some great artists such as Jake Bugg. Did you learn a lot from these tours?
Absolutely, yeah. I think just touring in general you learn so much, travelling and playing to new audiences every night. Jake was really sound and actually taught us a lot. I think the first tour we every did was with Jake when we were touring the UK and Ireland, and it was just something we’d never ever done before so it was a totally new experience for us but a really, really valuable experience as well. He actually invited us out again recently to tour with him again at the end of last year, which was absolutely buzzing. It was great playing for a different crowd every night and good to play to people who hadn’t seen or heard us before and will then go on about it. In everything you do if you just play the best you can, you can make the most out of it if you want to. The best thing was the opportunity to play in front of like 10,000 people.
We’ve had a listen to your debut album Singing For Strangers and your sound seems to have matured a lot since the early days. Is this something that was obvious to you when writing the album?
Well from the very beginning we’ve been quite folky. We have obviously developed over the years. We’ve experimented with many genres, we moved to London when we were quite young. We wanted to focus on really personalising our sound as well, and that has reflected on our music in a lot of ways. I feel that naturally, the more songs you write, the better you get and the more you understand it and stuff. And yeah the album, I think we had to be happy with it. We had a vision and there was a lot of trial and error. There were things we tried but they didn’t quite work. And then we had to record it again until we finally got it and we sort of knew what sound we were going for in the end and were really happy with how it turned out.
And how have your fans responded to the album so far?
It’s been really good and we actually got to release it in Ireland first where we’re from and that was really nice. It was really nice being able to release the album and also getting a better feel about what other people think about it. No one else had really heard from us for two years or really heard the songs as we’d been holding them back but it was nice to finally eventually get people’s opinions on it. We got to hear our songs on the radio though, stuff like that, that was pretty cool. And people have been really nice and said really, really nice things about it and we’re just really grateful to anyone who has listened. I’m so happy that the people who have been following us have waited so long as well who have been asking for an album for a long time. We wanted it to be out months ago but it has been really beneficial waiting because in that time we’ve got to tour and stuff and learned a little bit more. But yeah, the response has been amazing so far and that was when it was just out in Ireland so we were excited to see what happened when it came out in the UK. It was interesting the last time we toured the UK because the album wasn’t out here yet so we were just amazed how people knew all the words to the songs that we hadn’t released yet.We’re really interested to see where it goes from here.
That’s good then, but have you also received any negative criticism and if so how do you cope with that?
We’ve not really seen much negativity around it to be honest. It’s been really nice and that. Negative stuff, you’re always gonna get it, in anything really, especially online where anyone can give their opinion about anything. I think you just have to stay true to what you are. I mean, one person’s comment isn’t going to make me change everything I do. It’s really just, you know, the nature of it I suppose. So you shouldn’t take it to heart and don’t even respond. If you can respond do a James Blunt on it and think of something really witty to respond back. But yeah, We’ve not really had anything where we’ve gone or been really hurt by it or anything like that. Everybody we’ve spoke to has just been really really nice and again we’re just so grateful that people are coming to the shows and are buying our album and taking the time to listen to us. And even if someone doesn’t like it, it does at least mean they’ve listened to us in some form, you know?
So what can we expect next from Hudson Taylor?
We’ve already started thinking about our second album basically and it really helps in a way having the time that we had on the first album to really work on things and experience things and try things, like trying lots of different producers and stuff. It helps us with learning and deciding what we want to do in the future. And we think that the next album is going to be a lot easier to do in terms of song writing and recording because we know more about how to do it. I think with our first album we’ve achieved exactly what we wanted to achieve and it sounds just like we wanted it to sound. And really we just want to play live as much as possible over the next couple of years while we write and record. We already have a few songs in the backburner that we haven’t used because we were saving them and stuff, so that’s sort of not giving away a lot but a bit of expectation I suppose. But yeah, playing live as much as possible is something we’re really excited about.
Ok, so one final question with a slightly different vibe: If you could form a supergroup with anyone of your choosing, dead or alive, who would you pick?
Well I’d probably just bring everybody back from the dead. I don’t know, maybe John Lennon. He’d definitely be a good a person to have in a band. Who else? John Lennon, ooh this is hard. Freddie Mercury… I’m just trying
to think what would be funny and what would be really cool and people who would actually sound alright. Paul Simons as well, and I’d also have to go with someone more recent, like how funny would the rehearsal be if you had Kanye West in there? I just think there’d be so many fights. Maybe not Kanye West actually, we’ll just go with the first three.