An Exclusive Interview with Nick Murphy AKA (Chet Faker)
The new album “Run Fast Sleep Naked” released April 26th, 2019, is out now and it’s all you. Are you pretty stoked on the final product?
Absolutely. I mean, this record is very important to me. Captured a period in my life that was necessary and it’s kind of documentation of growth to me, maybe the beginning of growth, but a really key point in my development spiritually, emotionally, all of that. I’m really proud of this record. Even once it was finished, or I knew that this record was kind of happening, I was a little bit nervous to put it out because it probably had so much weight personally. I’m happy to say that it’s been nothing but positive reception for my fans. I felt a really loving shift from a lot of the fans and a lot of encouragement to say I’m deeply grateful for. You know, I wasn’t sure, but it did good in its early days too.
I know when I first listened to the album, it definitely felt like I was almost listening to someone’s journal out loud that was like tuned in or something, you know — it’s pretty heavy.
Oh yeah, for sure. It’s heavy and light because the dance is in there. Like look, “Built on Glass”, there were no answers, just problems — I was only thinking about problems — but “Run Fast Sleep Naked”, there was a meaning in there that flares light for me. Hopefully, the people who hear and find this music can see. This guy is going to keep opening up his heart and putting his neck on the line, maybe it’s okay for me to take that risk in this part of my life. That’s really what I want people to take away.
So awesome. I love it. I read a little bit about you working with others on this album. I guess there was a little bit of like a struggle, not a struggle, but how was having others listening to what you were working on and going through that process through the studio?
Working with other people on this record was a big part of this record. I was like, wow! It looks like I might be lucky enough to keep doing this, for now, as a job. It kind of stopped being new and it was like, this is the thing. I don’t really always want to sit in a dark room with headphones on, you know, on my own. It just seems kind of unhealthy all the time and I can’t always be that introspective. I’m an introvert, to begin with. So I was like, well, I want to see what can happen with the music if it stops being about me and starts being about the music and other people. Working with Dave Harrington and Phil Weinrobe on this record, who both of them had a huge influence on the record and it wouldn’t be the way it wasn’t for them. It was hands down the most aspiring musical collaboration I’ve ever had and the most eye-opening experience as well. It really changed the way I think about music and glad I did that.
Ever expanding. Huh?
It’s supposed to be. Sometimes it’s easy to sit still, but that’s the goal man.
So the combo with Dave Harrington and Phil Weinrobe, I read something about Nick Murphy and The Program. What’s that all about?
Yeah, that’s it. That’s basically spawned out of us working together on this record. I’ve known Dave for a while, but Run Fast Sleep Naked was probably the first album we worked on together. Dave and I both have Astral Weeks by Van Morrison. The story behind that record is that basically Van Morrison just showed up to record this record and the producer had put together this band of all these jazz players who hadn’t known any of the songs and never met Van Morrison before and they recorded this record, Astral Weeks. David’s been saying that he’d love to do a record like that and always wanted to do a record like that. And I was like, well shit man, you know, I’d be down for that, and that’s exactly what we did. We basically booked a week and I brought in a few half-cooked demos and Dave put together this band of his kind of New York neo-experimental jazz scene catch. We just went to town and made all the songs intakes and performance-based. That worked so well and the outcome I liked so much we’ve actually done a second record already. That was kind of the birth of “Nick Murphy and The Program”. So I’m really excited to hopefully put that record out this year if not next year, at least the first of them.
Wow! Awesome. I can’t wait to hear that, man. So I noticed that you don’t really have any featuring artists on your new album. Was there sort of a game-time decision behind that or what happened with that?
I think it was just going through some heavy times like the same way, sometimes you go through a little self-searching. For me, featuring a collaboration is kind of like dating in a weird way. Right? I think everyone can relate to a time in their lives where they are like I’m not dating right now, you know, I’m working on myself right now; and I think that’s what was going on for me spiritually or musically. Right now, I’m sort of just working on the stuff I got. So I think that just happened. It wasn’t intentional, it was just necessary. I mean look, honestly, if we talk about features, Dave Harrington is featured on just about every damn song on this record. You know what I mean? So it was kind of one, one big collaboration and he co-produced the record so it really didn’t make sense to say, you know, featuring Dave on every track, but I get what you mean.
Well to me it’s like, I obviously love everything you do solo and/or with other artists. Then sometimes, like you said featuring an artist is “sort of like dating” when you “date” another person on another song it’s almost like a three sum or something to a listener, you know. Not to take anything away from your solo music because we all know how wonderful that is.
I get that. I mean I think there is a time and a place for that sort of stuff. I’ve always tried to keep collaboration as a part of the way I work; be that with features, producers or whatever. I think recently especially because I’ve really discovered an interested in performance playing instruments and doing full takes, I think that made sense. I felt more of a connection with producers and things like that.
Actually ran into another question I want to ask you because I’ve seen you play: when you play with quite a large band and there’s obviously a bunch of the people on stage, how do you go about just choosing the people that you’d like to travel with or who can play with?
Well, my live band and who I play with on the record are usually different people. Live, I’ve been playing with the same band for like almost three years. They’re kind of my guys, man; they work so hard. Then with this record, I didn’t know. I mean, honestly, with “Built on Glass”, “Thinking in Textures” and most of my past records, I play most instruments on those records. Very rarely would I have another player play. That was one of the big changes for “Run Fast Sleep Naked;” I was like, hey, let’s do a record, let’s see what’s possible. Rather than what am I capable of, what is the music is capable of, you know, if I help It. It really opened the doors and was kind of anyone could have a go and I really brought that attitude. Dave brought in a lot of great players. We had some like proper jazz players like Kenny Wollesen, who his amazing drummer plays on the record. Even a close friend of mine, Mikkel Fischer who just drummed in high school is drumming on “Yeah I Care” and that dude never played a session in his life, and I love it.
So, as far as a live show, I’ve seen the stuff you’ve been posting on Instagram. How much of a part do you have as far as like the visuals and like what you provide for the audience besides the music portion? I know that there’s so much technology going on.
Totally, man. You know, the more I’ve grown, the more I’ve learned to try to do both — all those aspects live, to be more involved, you know. I’m always trying to build a great crew and crews change, people are not available, but I’ve been using, at least for visuals, the same lighting guys for a while now. We’re always trying to find some new experimental ways and sometimes it’s just by accident. You’re like, Whoa, whoa, that was cool. What’s that? Can we work with that more? That’s why I’ve been posting this stuff recently on Instagram. I’ve been trying to show the fans what’s going on in the shows, you know because I feel like there’s so much happening live on stage a lot of fans just don’t know what is going on on-stage. If you ever YouTube Nick Murphy live or Chet Faker live you see something very different to what’s really happening now. I’m trying to give people an experience and to show them what it looks like to have human beings risking and expressing themselves live on stage, but also just like try and transform them and taking them to another world at the same time.
Right on. Hey man, Thanks so much for your time!