After a long plane journey from Spain, I was lucky enough to grab a few moments with one half of Ireland’s finest pop/folk duo, Alfie of Hudson Taylor. To ask him a few questions about their return to music and what’s coming next, ahead of what proved to be a truly phenomenal night at Manchester’s Academy 3.
Not only did Harry and Alfie themselves put on a spectacular show, but their backing band were just as incredible, which only infused the night’s performance more so with passion and a host of fun-filled vibes.
Firstly, I just want to thank you for taking the time to do this interview with me.
Alfie: Thank you. Thank you for coming all the way from the Canaries. [laughs]
I know you’ve done a few gigs in London and Brighton but other than that, we haven’t had many UK show dates for quite sometime now… Especially up North. How long will we have to wait until we get you again?
Alfie: 25 years. [laughs] No I think this is only the start of us getting back on the UK. It wasn’t like we meant to not play here, just after our first album and our first album tour we took the time to write music, listen to music, record music, just because we felt we needed new songs and there was lots of stuff to talk about, lots of stuff to write down so that’s kind of why there was a bit of a break.
How did the band get started?
Alfie: Well, the name has always been there, it’s our second name, we’ve been stuck with that name our whole lives. We were always into music as a family, our older sister put us on to some great music. One day we went on a family holiday and we went out to this beach and it was like a campsite sort of thing. We were only about 14 or 15, Harry was about 16, so we were in that weird age. Harry was in boarding school, I was in school in Ireland so we’d meet up at the weekends and yeah. We just walked out on the beach one night, Harry brought his guitar and this group of German people asked us to play some music so we were like yeah cool, we’ll play the two songs we know, think it was like an Oasis song, and a Beatles [song]. Then that was that, the next night we went back and played some more covers and then before we left they said we should set up a YouTube account, so we did and then that’s how it started. Shortly after that, we went busking, the first time was a bit weird but after that we fell in love with it and were pretty much busking every weekend and then we started writing our own music and people took interest in that.
What’s your favourite song to perform live; your music and cover song?
Alfie: So the favourite song of ours, that changes every night, depending on the crowd, the reaction, what I’m feeling, but ‘Run With Me’ at the moment. Favourite cover is ‘Twist and Shout’ by The Beatles, it’s always a good one and it’s nice to get the crowd going on that big four part harmony bit.
How do you go about writing songs? Do you often just jam out and take it from there or do you usually find yourself jotting down lyrics first?
Alfie: Loads of different things. If it’s more harmonies and it’s pre-arranged, then it’s more jam. Whenever I hear music I’m never stuck for melodies to come out, I enjoy that part of it. On my own, it’d be a guitar in my bedroom. Or piano, I’m playing a lot of piano at the moment. I write lyrics on trains or planes, particularly when I’m moving, just with a little book, it doesn’t do well for the handwriting but I don’t know, particularly on my own, I just feel like it’s a good time to get things done. You have to be off the train in two hours, I’ll finish however many poems at that point. Then it’s like that, this album came together on loads of ideas like that.
We recently got the release of a new single and the video that went alongside ‘Run With Me’ saw you going around ‘Dog’s Trust’ – how did you find that?
Alfie: I didn’t know what to think of it before going in, I always thought this is going to be difficult. I know that I’m going there, how am I gonna leave without a dog? It is hard when you’re looking at the dogs but the people there were sound. So kind and I couldn’t believe the facilities, they really do get looked after, so that’s what I wanted to take away from it and also make a noise about the dogs that are in there.
A bit of a cliche question now but we all have our musical heroes, who would you say yours are individually and as a band?
Alfie: Really tough question, it’d have to be The Beatles for me. As I’ve listened more and more into their back catalogue, found out about them more, it’s just so inspiring and they’ve changed so much through music so yeah, it’d have to be them. I don’t know how much it makes it to our music, but definitely individually. As a band. I would say Paul Simon or Simon and Garfunkel, we grew up listening to a lot of them. I would say Harry would be happy with that answer as well.
Now for just a random, fun question – I know you’re very much an animal lover, so if you could be any animal, what would you be?
Alfie: Oh I’d be a dog, possibly one of my dogs because I know how well looked after they are [laughs]. Although I’d love to experience flying so maybe some kind of bird too ,and I love parrots so maybe a parrot. I’d be a parrot and they’re colourful, cool ,and they’re cheeky.
If you could have any super power, what would it be and why?
Alfie: That’s a hard one I think. The ability to turn myself into a plastic magnet and clean the ocean or something. It’s a huge responsibility having super powers too, not that I’d know [laughs].
As we all know, you and Harry are brothers, do you have a fun fact about him you could share with us?
Alfie: Well, I told you he was in boarding school and he got to that boarding school on a scholarship and that was by playing the organ, so he’s actually an amazing organist. It’s a fun fact alright.
Lastly and quite simply, when do we get album two?
Alfie: Well, we have an EP coming out in Spring, so the weather will be better than this. That’s as exact as I can be so far with the date, we’re just getting the tunes ready for that. Our album is shaping up, we have everything mostly recorded. We’re really happy with it and that’s what we wanted to get to so now that we’re there, I think once we’re signed off it’s just about picking a date, picking a time that’s right. I would hope by this year and that’s like 2018, starting it off, feeling positive, I’d love to say [that] it feels like a good year to release an album.
The new single ‘Run With Me’ from Hudson Taylor is out now via Rubyworks – Purchase/Stream here.