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In a Facebook post from September 2016, Nick Murphy, then better known as Chet Faker announced to the world that he would no longer be releasing music under his moniker, and would be reverting back to the name given to him at birth.
It was a gamble for someone still in the early stages of their musical career, but one that Murphy thought was a necessary step to move forward.
He released his first album under his own name earlier this year – the boldly titled and equally musically confident Run Fast Asleep Naked. A hit with his fans and critics – in a glowing review The Line of Best Fit described the musician as “truly out of this world” – the new LP sees the musician at his most honest, open to letting his imagination run free. The gamble paid off.
The record is the follow-up to his platinum-selling debut Built On Glass, which shot Murphy (then known as Chet Faker) into indie superstardom, earning him multiple Aria Awards.
The Melbourne-born musician will bring songs from Run Fast Asleep Naked to life to the UK for the first time this October, with two special headline shows in London and Manchester.
Ahead of the gigs, we caught up with Murphy to discuss the latest record and the challenges of performing its songs live.
How excited are you about your upcoming UK gigs?
I’m looking forward to these shows a lot. I’m back with my first lull length record in half a decade and I haven’t played any of these new songs in the UK, so I’m really looking forward to it. I’ve got some new energy to share with people.
Your latest record Run Fast Asleep Naked came out in April, how pleased were you with the reaction to it?
It’s been really good so far. I’ve toured in Australia and North America and the shows have been great. I’ve been pretty blown away by the fans. Especially on this record, with the name change and everything. Every day I’ve just been like “wow, I’m lucky”.
Have you found any of the tracks from the new album evolving since playing them live?
Definitely. I feel like every time I put a record out there’s almost a second record that comes off of that from how the songs sound in the live space.
I’ve actually put together a different live show for this run in October with some different players and we’ve been experimenting with these new songs and exploring them.
It’s another reason why I’m looking forward to this tour. It’s going to feel pretty new and fresh for me as well and I think it makes the shows really good when I feel like that.
There are so many different elements on your record. How much do you enjoy the challenge of transferring those songs into the live environment?
In the past, it’s always been a bit like, “oh here we go, now I have to figure out how to do this”.
I think a lot of people just try and focus on recreating the record as it is, but I just always figured it’s an opportunity to play the room. To play the songs and let them find new ways to speak. And also just play for the audience. Touring is kind of different every night and once you accept that it’s really exciting. Knowing every night, every crowd and every country’s different.
I design my shows with a lot of aspects that allow new and different things to happen every night. Little pockets where inspiration and improvisation can happen. Moments where things aren’t planned out too much. It’s really important to me that the live show has aspects that are live and can show off some musicianship.
How do you know when you’ve played a really great show?
For me, I’ve walked off every stage I’ve played over the past eight years feeling like I’ve emptied my spirit tank. That’s a given, but when I know it’s been a really good show is when I feel like it’s been immediately recharged. When I feel like it’s been given back by the crowd.
How much energy a crowd gives sort of defines how much an artist can give on stage. The crowd provides this weird magic amplification. I give everything I have every night, but when people give that back to me it gets amplified. A good sign for me is if I walk off stage feeling like I’ve got more energy than what I walked on stage with.
Aside from performing, what do you enjoy most about touring?
I love just seeing new places. I’m addicted to travel and I definitely have that nomad blood in me. I just always want to be moving. I almost love the travelling part as much as getting to play the shows.
Where’s somewhere you haven’t been to that you’d love to visit?
There are so many places. I actually have a big list! There’s a lot of eastern European countries that I haven’t been to, a lot of Asian countries. I’ve been to North Africa once, but I’ve never played in Africa and there are loads of places in South America I want to see. There’s too many! The world is a big place.
You’ve partnered with Plus1 on this tour, where £1 from every ticket sold goes to charity. Can you tell us about that?
For me, it’s really important. I’ve been given so many opportunities and I’m extremely lucky to get to play music and express myself for a living. So I’d say it’s kind of a given to use the platform I have to help charities.
In Europe, we’re partnered with a refugee charity. Obviously, that’s a pretty prominent issue right now. It felt like a no brainer to get involved and it’s simple enough – just £1 from every ticket goes to the charity.
Aside from releasing more music and touring, are there any other big musical goals you’d like to achieve?
I’d love to soundtrack a film one day. I’m barely getting started man. Every day I wake up and my head is filled with stuff that I want to get out. A film though… Music has always been quite visual to me, and I always think of scenes to describe the music I’m working on. We’ll see.
Catch Nicky Murphy at the following shows:
22 October 2019 – O2 Academy Brixton, London
24 October 2019 – Manchester Academy2, Manchester
Last remaining tickets are available now through Ticketmaster.co.uk