Chet Faker is dead. Long live Nick Murphy.
Having built a phenomenal cult following around his glitch-soul take on Blackstreet’s ‘No Diggity’ and his future soul 2014 debut ‘Built On Glass’, the Australian performer has decided to kill off Chet and release new material under his real name. When it’s as good as the menacing, Thom Yorke-style found sounds of ‘Fear Less’, we don’t mind what he calls himself, but it does beg the question: why? We caught up with Murphy around his smattering of recent European shows to find out…
So Nick, why the name-change?
“It was a long time coming. When I started Chet Faker it was always a project. It’s been almost half a decade now playing music and doing this and at some point it stops feeling like a project, it’s just my life now.
I felt I had to take ownership of the way it was evolving. With the Chet project it was simple in the beginning, I’d ask myself, ‘What do I think is cool?’, but once I started considering the name I’ve always had, the name my parents gave me, the question was no longer, ‘What do I think is cool?’, it was, ‘What do I like?’. It seems like a really small difference but it started opening up all these doors and bringing down all these walls I never knew I had, musically. It went back to being unconscious. I might be listening to some weird Afro shit and rather than consciously having to decide to take a synth line from that I’d just record it and worry about it later. It’s inevitable for anyone when you start doing something for yourself at home and it becomes this all-encompassing lifestyle, so it helps to bring it back to this unconscious space.”
Did you feel you’d been taken over by the Chet Faker character?
“Not really. It was more to do with the process, musically. But it is nice to have people shout out ‘Nick’ rather than ‘Chet’ on the street. I consider the change-over as still going but personally it’s been a really good time.”
Had Chet Faker reached its conclusion?
“Maybe yeah. I try not to call it an end or conclusion, it’s more of a progression. It’s not that what I was doing is done, it’s just that what I’m doing now has more coming in. Rather than a shift in the spectrum it’s a widening of the spectrum, if that makes sense.”
So how is the new album coming along?
“I’m working on this record and I started playing a few shows, which has been good. It’s the first time I’ve ever toured and played unfinished work on the road, in the past I’ve always finished a record and then worked on the live show and toured that. But I just played Pitchfork Paris and Brixton Academy playing a bunch of songs that aren’t even finished live. You can develop a song in such a different way if you do it live, you’re completely in the moment, you make adrenalin-fuelled decisions and there are a few fuck-ups but sometimes something comes out and you’re like, ‘That’s great, I can take that home and put it on the record’.”
Are the new tracks a big step on?
“Since the beginning, every time I’ve done a new release it’s felt like a big step. Sometimes I think it’s a massive shift, especially with vocals. It’s exciting for me man, I haven’t felt like I’ve been into a completely different world of music since I was 18, since I started. It’s nice to be inspired again, to have to record again rather than just wanting to record.”