Chase Hudson has had a uniquely strange career trajectory. Before the age of 18 he’s amassed millions of followers on TikTok, co-founded the widely successful online group The Hype House and acted in Machine Gun Kelly’s film Downfalls High.
Now, though, 19-year-old Hudson has adopted the moniker LILHUDDY and is embracing his musical aspirations. Creating eccentric pop-punk anthems which are reminiscent of Blink-182’s self-titled era, he’s already treated fans to a handful of killer singles, all of which encompass the emo-laced sounds of the early 2000s that Hudson grew up on.
Next up is his debut album – a record he’s been working on with pop-punk legend Travis Barker. With a huge global following already, now fans are eagerly anticipating what the TikTok star-turned-musician will be delivering. On a sunny afternoon in L.A., Hudson Zooms in for our latest In Conversation interview, to discuss what inspired him to pursue music, working with Travis Barker, and the 2020s pop-punk resurgence. Here’s what we learned.
He wanted to kick things off with a bang
With over 30 million followers on TikTok alone, any project Hudson delves into is going to raise eyebrows and have high expectations. The initial response towards his new career path was split: some criticised his pivot to music, while others hailed him as an essential player in the 2020 pop-punk revival. With all this buzz, Chase knew his musical reintroduction had to pack a punch.
“I really wanted to come in with a bang,” he explains. “That’s been the main goal from the beginning, to sprinkle little bits and different kinds of songs, just to show the variety that I’m going to be bringing, and then hitting them [fans] with the full thing, which is going be the album in the summer!”
Hudson says he’s determined to give his new career his all and is determined to live up to people’s expectations. “[It’s] something I’m going to take very seriously because it’s something that people haven’t seen from me. They’re expecting a lot from it just because I was already a person that was doing good in another world, and now I’m stepping into this world.”
His first album covers classic pop-punk subject matter: relationships
Hudson’s sound is a fusion of everything we loved about ’00s emo and pop-punk – and this includes the angsty subject matter. Following the age-old storyline of any classic pop-punk track, his debut album is a collection of stories from his past relationships.
“I never got the chance to tell my story when it came to love, I always kept that to myself,” he explains about his lyrics. “Being able to write it all down through words and music has been really therapeutic,” he adds.
Hudson thinks it’s honest and relatable lyrics – like his own – that are to thank for some of pop-punk’s recent resurgence. “Teenage angst is something that will never die. People hear [pop-punk] and it makes them feel like that 16-year-old kid. They could be 30 years old, and hear like My Chemical Romance again and just go right back to that place!”
It’s been “crazy” watching Blink-182’s Travis Barker work
If we’re talking about the latest pop-punk revival, one name keeps popping up: Travis Barker. The Blink-182 drummer is keeping the spirit of pop-punk alive, injecting his notable sound into the work of mainstream artists that’s driving a resurgence in pop-punk’s popularity.
Hudson has become the latest protégé of Barker’s genius, mentioning that while working on Machine Gun Kelly’s music video movie Downfalls High he became properly introduced to the Blink-182 drummer. That meeting later led to the duo working together.
Hudson reveals that his time creating music with Travis was very exciting, but also insightful. “It’s honestly crazy seeing Travis, work, speak, do anything. Everyone just wants to shut up and listen! Because he’s a very soft-spoken human being so when he has something to say it’s smart. Every answer he has is just wise as fuck.”
Being the internet’s golden boy hasn’t always been easy
Internet fame is a strange phenomenon; being elevated onto a massive platform, with millions of viewers watching and commenting on your every move isn’t a walk in the park, but Hudson takes it in his stride.
The musician says he manages it as best as he can while ensuring he also allows himself to have a life offline. “I try to let them [his fans] know me to an extent, but not give them the full me. It’s very challenging to be this golden child for the internet. It’s hard – there are just a million eyeballs on you just judging…but I’ve gotten used to it over time for sure.”
Cultivating a career in a pandemic, with no tours in sight, has been strange for Hudson
Hudson’s musical career has largely existed in a strange vacuum of the global pandemic – which is something not lost on the young artists.
He comments on how strange it is to see scores of fans interact with and stream his music online, but not really being able to translate that into real-life (through touring or meeting fans) due to the ongoing lockdown restrictions.
“It’s so weird. You feel all this love and you see all these numbers, you’re doing well and you’re streaming and it’s like: ‘OK, but I want to see these people!'”
He’s raring to get on the road and to tour his new music. “I need to feel the energy, to feel love from them the same way I see on social media. I want to see them in real life. I want to hug them. I want to take a picture with them. I want to travel everywhere. That’s the kind of shit that I live for.”