Irish brothers, Hudson Taylor, is set to tour with Jake Bugg for the second time this October. Just a few days before the tour kicks off, I caught up with one half of the duo Harry Hudson Taylor to discuss their new single, debut album Singing for Strangers and being on the road. Harry greeted me saying he remembered playing at The Bridge in SUSU as part of the Coffee House Sessions tour back in June.
Do you enjoy playing on the Coffee House Sessions tour?
It’s great. I mean we are very used to that sort of thing, just playing to people who you don’t know, the coffee house session’s quite interesting. Yes, there are people to see you who could have seen the poster but there are also people there who watch you who just sit to have a coffee, it’s quite cool to sort of to just play. In some of the places they didn’t even have microphones and we just done acoustically, so yeah, I mean we’re quite used to it ‘cause we used to do that busking on the street and every now and again we still gig, just me and Alfie without a band. It feels pretty natural.
You first started busking a few years ago? How’s it like for over six years now I believe?
It’s a great progression from being on the street to having a record deal to you know finally finishing an album, again to go on the road on support tours with crazy famous people like Jake Bugg and things like that, it’s all being really really cool, I couldn’t really wish for anything better than what it is!
What has been the best moment this past summer?
One of my favourite for the summer was Reading, Reading Festival was unbelievable, we’ve never been to Reading Festival nor do we expect anywhere near the reaction that we got when we went there, it was just mental. People have been singing lyrics at our shows for a while which is really cool but at Reading it was just a whole new level; they were screaming the words and they were dancing and throwing their arms in the air, it was mental! So that was my highlight for the summer I think!
Does the dynamic of different crowds change each gig experience for you?
Oh yeah! They are all different but they are all the same in giving you the nice tingly sensation, it’s really nice, especially when you walk up to a place where you’ve never been before and there’s people there to see you. It’s quite scary that if you go somewhere and you travel very far and there’s no one there. Luckily we’ve managed to kind of arrive at places we’ve never been before and there’re at least a few people there!
Are you excited for next year’s headline tour that you just announced?
Cannot wait! It’s our biggest headline tour to date and the album will be released by then as well [in February 2015]so it’s really exciting all around to go out and play the full album! I love tour so can’t complain about that!
Can you give us a little insight on why you chose ‘Singing for Strangers’ as the title of your debut album?
It kinda comes down to actually our history of what we’ve been doing really for the last six years; busking is a form of singing for strangers I suppose, kind of like the concept of us just going up to lots and lots of venue and playing to loads of people who we don’t really know and it felt kind of nice I suppose. The name sort of captures what we are about.
You have been described as a folk-pop duo with harmonies, how do you come to this sound, is it from you musical inspirations or other influences?
When we were growing up, our parents and our older sister listen to a lot of different music but me and Alfie particularly like all the stuff that are with harmonies, old school, 60s and 70s music, particularly folk songs and singer songwriters type of music. I know some said that out genre is folk pop duo but I think we are probably more like duo singer songwriter with harmonies. I mean we write songs with a pop sensibility and people sing the words back to you but I think every song can be a pop song if you want it to be so.
Your songs are all great stories and when you do the music videos they have quite a bit going on but there are also room for imaginations, so how do you come up with ideas for these?
They usually base around somewhere in Ireland. We ask people to pitch ideas, you send them the songs then they come back with their ideas and that’s the way to see how people view the song. We look at the idea and we will be like “we kind of like this idea” and we define it a bit more and we make it a bit more personal to us. For example, ‘Chasing Rubies’, our new single coming out (on the 19th October), that video’s shot around where we are from, showing where we grew up a lot.
You will be touring with Jake Bugg for the second time in four days? How the last one like was and what sort of expectation do you have for this time?
The last tour was amazing, it was the first time that we are out on the road and I think we did 27 dates with Jake Bugg and it was a phenomenal experience. It made me really fall in love with touring life. We were playing to a lot of strangers and it was every night to really nice audiences. This time it’s gonna be even bigger venues and there will be some people who know us ‘cause they saw us the last time so it should be really cool. We get to hang with Jake Bugg as well, that will be fun!
How do you warm up a crowd who have not heard of you before?
We just like to go back to how we were used to do a lot of busking, it sort of comes around to try to turn the crowd up, and we just go up on stage and enjoy ourselves! I think if you play on stage like you enjoy it and at least look like you enjoy yourselves, [he chuckles]we pretty much do always enjoy ourselves but if you are having a bad day you just have to kind of forget about it and go up there and smile and just get in to it, I think that translates really well to people and they kind of can tell you are enjoying it and therefore they enjoy it in turn!
Do you have a favourite song to play live?
That changes every gig to be honest, pretty much every gig I will come off stage and I will think all my favourite songs today was this song and that song. I think one of the songs we always first play live was ‘Battles’ because it’s up tempo and a bit of a hold down at the end of the step but generally speaking my favourite song just kind of change every set.
You spend quite a lot of time on the road, so how do you spend your down time when you are off the road?
When we have time we just spend our time with our families and friends, we just chill and write songs for album number two haha!
Do you have a favourite song to listen to at the moment?
At the moment it is an Alt-J song called Every Little Freckle or something like that I can’t really remember. [It’s ‘Every Other Freckle’] and the band called Royal Blood, I really like their stuff, I saw them live in Germany about two months ago when we were doing festivals and I really enjoyed it! And I’m looking forward to hear Ben Howard’s new album! And Damien Rice’s new album comes out soon as well!
To drum up the release of your debut album, there’s a weekly live stream every Wednesday at 5pm, today will be the 4th one I believe? Do you enjoy interacting with listeners during the stream?
We are doing one in about an hour![as of the time of intervew]I need to get ready for it really shortly! Years ago we do it on a different platform but now we do it on YouTube it’s really cool. A lot of theses streams we get to interact with people and play songs and all sorts of stuff, really cool!
Singing for Strangers tour starts 1st February 2015, full list of tour dates here.