Run Fast Sleep Naked is out on Opulent/Downtown
You just wrapped up a few dates of Groovin the Moo in Australia and are now in North America for your headlining tour.
Yeah, just played Chicago and Minneapolis. Now, we’re in Canada at the moment – we just played Edmondson last night and are driving to Calgary at the moment.
You released your new album, Run Fast Sleep Naked in April. How does it feel to finally share an album you’ve worked on for so many years?
It’s been really great! I expected a lot of people to take some time to catch up with the record but so far, the fans and audiences have been vibing with the new songs as much as the old songs. It’s been really nice, I can feel the love and positivity around it, so just really grateful and happy with how things are going.
This is your first album under your name Nick Murphy and not Chet Faker. Why did that transition feel important to you now?
It was really just kind of a feeling – I just had a gut instinct that I needed to open something up. I think really, a lot happened really quickly early on – which I’m really grateful for – and I felt like I had arrived at a place where it felt safe to make that transition. Everything was already set, I could’ve just continued to do everything that I was doing forever, and it would’ve been fine. That felt wrong to me.
That’s not my job to feel that way – I’m an artist, I’m supposed to be exploring new things and I felt I wasn’t growing as a person, I felt like I could just be the same person forever and ever and people would be fine with it. There were a lot of little reasons but really, I just needed to reintroduce risk back into what I was doing. I missed that risk and feeling like I was being driven by my heart and gut instincts – the things that created fire in me.
That was one of the main reasons for the name change and once it happened, it really did feel that way for me. It destroyed all expectations of what the album would be and that was a huge experience for me while working on the record. All bets were off, and I felt like I could relax.
With the new album, there seem to be more spiritual and religious references. As you continue to grow, do you also find yourself seeking answers in that realm?
Absolutely – that’s completely accurate. Run Fast Sleep Naked is such a spiritual record for me. That whole record, for me, is in a way a blueprint of spiritual searching that I went on. It’s as much a reflection of my life as my life is a reflection of the music in that period. They felt like the same thing at that point and I couldn’t really separate the two – like a chicken or the egg. Was I living for the music or was it living for me?
In my mid-twenties, I welcomed a large amount of success and I realized that it didn’t fill me up inside. What does fill me up inside is exploration, risk, growing as a person, and I really – especially with this record – developed a purpose. It’s no coincidence that the opening line on the record is “I’m not made of stone / I was put here with a bleeding heart / To help somebody else’s start.” To date, those are the most important lines I’ve ever sung. At least, for me as a musician. I think that embodies the entire record, perhaps what I’ll do forever is to just to make sure that I can feel what I’m doing and to guarantee that I can give that to people, that same feeling.
There are also many references, including on the lead single, “Sanity,” to mental health and your mindset. Did it feel like you needed to break out of something to really show that you’ve shed the “Chet Faker sound”?
Not in those exact words but I would agree with you. I think that’s a feeling that almost anyone can relate to though. A feeling that they’re pushing against something that they just want to break through. Maybe that’s just what it means to be human and to have a spiritual life – like you’re always pushing toward an ideal version of yourself.
Do you think you’ll ever return to ‘Chet Faker’ or try to release anything under that moniker again?
I don’t think I’ll ever return to it – there was such a big deal around the name change that I think it might be a little confusing if I ever used it again. That kind of music, even more recently, I’ve been making a lot more soul-oriented music, which obviously I haven’t been creating for a while. The way it’s turned out is that I’m partially using both names – which wasn’t how it was planned but that’s how it turned out.
The album’s second track, “Harry Takes Drugs On The Weekend” was a standout for me. What was the thought behind the juxtaposition on that song?
There are a few different layers and storylines in that song. I was really thinking about myself growing up and the juxtaposition of what the world looks like today. It touches a lot on the behaviors, romances, and life that I probably would have if I was 18 in this current world. In a way, the song is a bit in defense of our youth today – with the thought that kids can do whatever they want if we as adults are doing so much damage.
Run Fast Sleep Naked is filled with so many complex and otherworldly sounds. What’s your process for creating a sound?
Really, there’s no one way for me. The one thing I’ve found with creativity is that the minute you think you know how it works, it immediately stops working in that way. It’s a lot like the human mind – if you try to force yourself to think a certain way, it just won’t work. You have to find the right halfway point of balance. When I’m writing music, the way I like to think about it, is that I’m trying to listen and follow what the songs want to be, so it’s not what I want the song to do but rather, what does this song want from me? What does it need from me to become what it’s supposed to become? For me, that means it can be anything because each song has its own identity.
Are you doing anything for your birthday at the end of the month?
Yes! I’m going to Greece for my third year. A close friend was born there, so I’m taking a few days off during the tour to spend some time out there.