Has anybody else been feeling a wave of noughties nostalgia lately? While the fashion choices and haircuts of that time period were perhaps questionable at best, it’s undeniable that, that era produced some incredible musical talents. Mr Hudson is no exception.
A decade after the success of his album ‘Straight No Chaser‘, Mr Hudson returns with a new project ‘When The Machine Stops’, that combines pop and R&B with a notable hip hop influence.
It’s been 10 years since your last album, what made you decide to make a comeback?
Time flies when you’re having fun. It didn’t feel like ten years to me but when people started mentioning that fact I thought “Jeeze, it’s time”
Have you grown as an artist since then?
Yes and no. In some ways, my process is exactly the same and in some ways completely different. I’m still singing sad songs into a computer: but what I do with them sonically is more refined. I’m producing and mixing as a I go now. Those are the elements that have developed with technology. I’m singing more quietly over all. That’s partly the way music has gone but also I think I’m less attention seeking!
It’s also been a decade since you and Kanye worked on “808s & Heartbreak”, did you guys do anything fun to celebrate?
We didn’t do anything on the actual day but I went to Sunday Service and gave him a big hug.
Of course you’ve been producing and songwriting in that time. What have been some of your favorite projects to work on?
Highlights for me have been rescuing Miley Cyrus from the surface of another planet with Future, Duran Duran (the album Paper Gods – I felt like I was in the band, Idris Elba (working in South Africa on his Mandela tribute). Working with DJ Snake was different because it all went down in the DMs and on email. Recently I’ve had the pleasure of reconnecting with John Legend and working on some new songs. He is such a gent as you’d expect.
You’ve been fortunate enough to do a lot of travel because of your music. What was the biggest culture shock as a Brit abroad?
It’s been interesting realizing how little people know about the realities of the UK. I grew up consuming a lot of US culture but my American friends think it’s all Mary Poppins and Harry Potter.
Speaking of your travels, What inspired the move to LA?
After 15 years in London, I needed a different backdrop. It felt like a reboot. Mr Hudson 2.0. I love the space, the light, the optimism.
Having had such a successful career was there any pressure for this album to live up to that success?
Yes and no. The culture has changed and i’m independent now, so it’s completely different. Also there are different kinds of success. For me the praise of the praise-worthy has always been the greatest reward.
The album is home to several features with up and coming talent, why was it important to you to collaborate with those on the rise?
It just seemed like a more interesting approach. There’s a different energy to people at the beginning of their careers. Just like a movie or a video game or anything. I didn’t want to just call the usual suspects.
It’s pretty impressive that you produced the entire project on your laptop despite having access to top quality studio equipment. What motivated you to do so?
It was an experiment. And it meant I could work on the move and between other commitments. If you’re waiting to get to the studio, it slows you down. I needed to be extremely efficient. A machine.
The title of the album is an ode to story “The Machine Stops” which explores feelings of isolation, was this a reflection of your own personal experiences?
Absolutely. The story is a worrying prediction of how we are becoming shut-ins. You don’t see kids playing out anymore cause they’re indoors on screens. Adults are playing candy crush on the train when they should be reading books. And I’m making a record on my laptop in a hotel room when I should be sitting on the porch with a guitar and a beer.
If an artist wanted to work with you what would be the best way to get your attention?
Talk to my people. Or just @ me on some music. People try to do a verbal sell, trying to use all the right language, but the music should do the talking.
Finally, what do you hope fans will take away from listening to this project?
Hopefully I’ve created a sonic world which they can walk into. Sad robot music seems to help people who are going through things so perhaps that’s the most important take away. It’s here for you if you need it.