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Thinking Outside the ‘Pot: hudson tells of his busking experiences and video collaboration


November 13, 2011

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2011 was a big year for hudson: Aside from being a regular face at Melting Pot’s Open Mic Mondays and Songwriters in the Round, he released his debut EP “Open Up Slowly” in May before embarking on a four month busking tour through Canada, New Zealand, the UK and Europe. Later in the year he also released a video clip for his song “Against The Grain” – a collaboration with film-maker/animator/VJ Dropbear (aka Jonathan Chong) – which had more than 1 million views on youtube and vimeo within 2 weeks of its launch. At the beginning of 2012, Melting Pot caught up with hudson. 

 

What inspired you to travel overseas busking? And whereabouts did you go?

I was inspired by guys such as Mike Rosenberg (Passenger), Stu Larsen & Darren Hanlon who all have done the folk troubadour thing and lived like nomads for extended periods of time. I think it really shows in their live performance and I wanted to learn how to live through my music like that. I went to Wellington, Auckland, Vancouver, Montreal, London, Copenhagen, Lisbon, and a stack of places between Barcelona and Dubrovnik, Croatia.

What did the experience teach you about yourself and your music?

It gave me loads of confidence. It reminded me that even with busking in Europe being quite popular, musicians are actually a rare breed and have a pretty important job. It also taught me the universal love for (& coin-dropping abilities) of “In the Air Tonight” by Phil Collins.

I’m sure you’ve got plenty of amazing stories and highlights. What’s one of your favourites?

Playing on La Rambla in Barcelona to a solid crowd for just over an hour. They were so appreciative and the atmosphere was amazing even with it being a bustling tourist strip. Some in the audience stayed the entire time, but I was shut down by a stern looking police officer who threatened to throw me in jail if I didn’t move on. As I was packing up a young couple offered me a free place to stay.

Would you recommend other local artists to try something similar?

Definitely. I found it hugely rewarding, the people I met & the appreciation shown were priceless. At the same time, in terms of budgeting, you can earn good money if you do some research as to where the ‘hot spots’ are before you head out in a new city.

The song “Against the grain” lends itself extremely well to working with visual media such as a video clip. Was this something you had in mind when you originally wrote the song?

Not really, it was one of the first songs I ever wrote and I was just playing around with a couple of catchy hooks at the time. The initial feedback to the song was pretty good so it was an obvious choice for my first video clip.

How did you find the film-maker / animator?  What sort of research was required in finding him?

I researched a lot. I think in this day and age, a unique, well-executed clip can be a real springboard for artists. I wanted to distract people for three and a half minutes, rather than attempt to hold on to their attention. So I spent a stack of hours on youtube, seeing what had been done, learning about that world and who was kicking goals in it.

Other than promoting the song through your blog, facebook etc, what other promotion did you do?

Hardly any. My media release, emailed to 150+ music blogs, was ignored completely. It was only through the copy & paste nature of the blogosphere that it found some legs after being featured on sites such as CBS News and Huffington Post. In saying that, it showed me how vital it was to have a well written, concise and descriptive introduction to the clip, so lazy bloggers could simply copy & paste their hearts away. It seems if you do their job for them you get featured a lot more.

What impact have these projects had on your music career and your fanbase?

It’s been the biggest thing for me so far. I’ve finally sold a few EPs. It’s helped in establishing new relationships with industry types, people I’ll be working with in the future, and musos alike. I’ve increased my facebook fans by seven-fold and collected a stack of emails for my next release.

Finally, what are your plans for 2012?

I’ll have a new EP out in the first half of the year. In the meantime I’m writing new material, rehearsing with some new-found band mates and dreaming up ideas for my next video clip.

Check out hudson’s video for “Against the grain”. You can find more about hudson on our website or through the links below:

The views expressed in this article are the views of the author and not necessarily the views of Melting Pot.

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