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We get reacquainted with Nick Murphy (FKA Chet Faker)

Interview by Jessica Over

New normal.

When Nick Murphy announced he was retiring the stage name Chet Faker in 2016, fans weren’t sure what to expect. The Melbourne musician had established a signature sound to match his iconic pseudonym, yet a new musical direction seemed imminent.

But after closing the Chet Faker chapter, Murphy took a step back from the music industry to allow time to find answers: about himself, about his music, and what to do next. The result? His long-awaited sophomore record, Run Fast Sleep Naked.

We caught up with Murphy to chat about the new album, his upcoming Australian tour, and his newfound perspective on being an artist.

Run Fast Sleep Naked is your first full-length release as Nick Murphy. How has the name change influenced the creative process behind this record?

It’s been a while, but [the creative process] was one of the driving forces to make that decision. In fact, it was more or less the largest reason behind why that name change was decided on. Once I started to consider putting music out under my own name, I noticed that making music and the joy and connection of it became a lot simpler for me. It was like, ‘Oh, I’m known for this sound, I know what this sound is.’ I was aware of that and it was attached to this name that I only knew as well as anyone knew. I hadn’t been called Chet Faker as a kid or anything like that. It was kind of difficult to not have an awareness of any music that I knew would be made for that project or under that name, so I think that was a big part of it.

You spent a lot of time travelling when you were making this record. Of all the places you visited, which was most memorable in terms of contributing to the album?

I don’t know if it’s just one place, you know? Every song kind of has a different place attached to it. It was really cool. It was a really interesting way to work. I think part of me is kind of running from something, but another part of me is looking for an answer. I think this record helped me a lot to figure that stuff out.

How does it feel to be coming back to Australia with a new name, a new album and what many people will see as a new sound?

I’m excited. A part of me is nervous because I always felt that Australia, because I’m from here, [offers] the most kind of judgement on whether or not what I’m doing is good. I think people are more vocal about it back home because I am supposed to represent ‘home’. Part of me is a little bit nervous that people are just going to want to ask for the old stuff. But another part of me also feels very comfortable in knowing that what I’ve done is true and honest to music, and to myself, and that people are going to hopefully be inspired to express themselves through that.

There seems to be this idea in music that an artist needs to be consistent, yet also constantly change their sound. Do you think it’s about striking a balance or just putting out the kind of music you want to create?

Oh, I think it’s absolutely about what feels right. I think people can get a little bothered about it, but I think that just comes from the society we live in today. We have so much control and we’re sort of pandered to a little bit as consumers. I think people want artists to do the same thing, but that’s just because people haven’t really had the time or the inclination to sit down and ask themselves, ‘What is the same thing?’ When people say, ‘I want the artist to do the same thing,’ they’re forgetting that the same thing was the first time they ever heard that kind of music. It’s never as good the second time.

What are you most looking forward to with this release?

I’m just really excited to share this record with people. I really hope that people can enjoy it and can hear that I was asking some questions about myself and that it’s OK to dig into these serious things sometimes. Even someone like myself, who gets to do a lot of cool stuff sometimes, has to ask these questions. Hopefully it helps some other people.

nickmurphy.com

Run Fast Sleep Naked is out now via Future Classic.

This article was originally published in Fashion Journal 189. You can read it here.

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