His fans yell out and scream "We love you Chet Faker" despite the name change that led to the debut of Nick Murphy on his sophomore album, Run Fast Sleep Naked. The crowd goes wild and crazy as he belts out his newest singles, "Dangerous" and "Sanity." With his tour having kicked off earlier in the spring; he starts the North American portion which doesn't even begin to scratch the halfway mark of his tour.
Nick Murphy describes his album as his latest piece of art that he leaves up to his fans to interpret. The album represents a mini-manifesto of why Nick writes his music with minimal beats and layers of melodies -- including tension and disruption of color at the end of several of his songs, like what a painter does with an abstract painting.
Chatting with Magnetic, Nick Murphy shares how he balances his tour life with his regular self.
[This interview has been condensed for editorial purposes]
DEE SANAE: The first section of the tour was in Australia? How was that?
NICK MURPHY: Yeah, we did regional locations and festivals right around the time the album came around. So people had a chance to listen to it live before the album was released.
DS: How is the North American tour so far?
NM: It's pretty good. We have had the chance to tighten up the songs that we play live instead of using recordings.
DS: So I was reading how you get into your creative process and how this experience and album made you surrender your creative abilities. So when you are on tour and you are performing live, has it made you change the way that you perform it live?
NM: Yea, totally, it's really more of how it feels on stage for me then how the crowd responds, I think that's what naturally happens as humans. You can only play so many shows with people not enjoying it before you don't enjoy it (laughs). I don't really look to the crowd because people are unique and they have different tastes. I also have very diverse fans and its something that I am grateful for. However, I am aware that they are from all around the world and really like specific songs, which is cool, and it's a real scramble to try and play what everyone wants to hear every night. That is why I am always changing the show, its a constant evolution - there is no perfect show at least for my fans.
DS: What has your evolution looked like musically?
NM: I just realized in the past year or so that I have written a lot of music and I have a lot of stuff that I can look back on that I have done and I say "wow." I would have to play for many hours to cover all this stuff. But what I have been focusing on is my last record and I suppose showing the continuity of all of that.
DS: Did you see this evolution from Australia to the North American leg was there some fine-tuning?
NM: Oh yes, always, it is different every week, I really mean that. Anyone who has come to more than two of my shows of mine will tell you that they aren't the same. I think I am too creative in that sense to do the same thing and I cannot philosophically do it for too long and it really stresses me out. I really don't know where I got this from (laughs).
Even the first half is different from this part of the tour. It's just the intricacies of things like setlists. We also have (me and the band) which would be the missing link - there is about 20-30 percent of the set we improvise. We go off on these tangents where we have these sections in between the songs which are different every night and we don't plan them.
So in that sense it's different every night and before the show, I'll set a goal every night with the band and have everyone think of a cover and play that one. Other nights I might say I would feel a bit like whatever and I would really like their support. It's always an adventure and I like to bring some type of intention that is true to how I am feeling at that time.
DS: As previously mentioned in another interview you stated that you are an introvert and while on tour you had developed some unhealthy introverted tendencies and a shell reaction?
NM: I can definitely tell you that is something that I have been working on for some time -- just trying to engage more with the outside world. It's interesting that you asked me this question because I had been thinking about this the last couple of days and have had some clarity on it. I am still trying to unravel my twenties (laughs) the last ten years. I am starting to understand that there is way too much has happened in a short amount of time for me to process. And I think that was with my personality type, I generally need some time and space to process what's going on and to feel comfortable with it. So I went from living a regular life, and in regular life we all have some type of anonymity that most people experience - then to be put in a position where all of sudden there are multiple reasons that people wanted something from me or to be around me. So I questioned people's motives and I was pretty young to process all of that. That's where the shell reaction came from; this attention is new so it just must be attached to this success. Are you following me?
DS: Absolutely. I am very much into your introspection.
NM: It's not enjoyable. I don't like hiding and shying away from the world. When I am on my own it's very different.
DS: But do you think it might just be a coping mechanism while on tour?
NM: No, I don't enjoy it at all. If I stay this way then I would just stop touring. (laughs)
DS: Oh well that wouldn't be good. (laughs) What is your balance?
NM: Well one thing that I do is - it's been an eight-year and endless cycle- I try to sit still at least once and do a light meditation and also sweat at least once a day through running or walking or push-ups. Something to use my body. But nature for me seems to be the main thing for me, like a bike ride or getting out, since I am on tour all the time in cities and there's no green trees around.
DS: So, how did you come up with the title for this album RUN FAST SLEEP NAKED?
NM: Believe it or not, I've have had that title for an album since I was about 16. I came up with it as a teenager. It was meant to be the title of my first record and then I guess I just forgot that or it got kind of lost in the Chet Faker stuff and then I sort of stumbled back across it recently. I think when I was back in Australia and I was going through my mom’s garage, which is where I used to record, and I think I found it on a piece of paper or something. And I was like “Oh!” but it kinda of perfectly summed up this state that I was trying to get too. This state of being, this state I was trying to unravel through the musician. I never showed much of it, but that was the whole thing I was trying to do - kind of get that state of forward living, the veracity of running fast and then the appreciation of sleeping. It was literal and also metaphorical - of a way of life.
DS: With more freedom and less restriction, right?
Nick Murphy/Chet Faker 9:30 Club Photo Credit: Dee Sanae
NM: Sure! I mean it could have different meanings, you can abstract it in many ways, I won’t disagree with what you said. But it can work in multiple ways, yes.
DS: Well, I suggested it because I know that using your real name versus your pseudonym with this album, breaking away from what you knew.
NM: Not so much, but I think that was definitely an aspect of that, for me, the Missing Link EP would be mostly dealing with that and changing all that- "Stop Me" and "Fear Less" were two singles. I actually listened to "Stop Me" the other day. I haven't listened to it since I put it out and listening to it kind of made me realize that was about describing the name change.
DS: And that was specifically written for that?
NM: Yeah, I’m sure it was. I don’t 100% know what was going on in my head when I wrote that a few years ago, but I’m pretty sure that's what that means.
DS: Well, closing out, I noticed some styles of this album and I didn’t know if you intentionally did this or did this just sort of flow in the studio?
NM: I’m not sure, go on, I might.
DS: Like "Novocaine" and "Coca Cola" has one, "Some People," "Sunlight," and "Yeah I Care-"
NM: Are you talking about like the outro at the end?
DS: Yes, Is that a stylistic and intentional or did it just sort of happen in the studio? Because sometimes it's not an electronic guitar riff, right? I think there was a distortion of sounds like a violin and some strings in one song too.
NM: Yeah you noticed that often at the end of the song the rug is pulled out from under the feet of the listeners and then taken in a world that shifts harmonically and a lot of different ways, right?
DS: Yeah! (laughs) I noticed that on a couple of different songs, it's an intentional outro, I’m assuming.
NM: I think at the end of the song-- I never thought of it but now I am going to be more conscious of the endings. (laughs) Absolutely, yeah, that stuff I just like. In music, I love when a song wakes you up. Like you think you know the song but your brain- for me it's like I don’t know like a freaking mini orgasm. I love it!
But I think music, speaking of science- music literally helps our brain waves be more efficient. So, if it's linked to our brain, I really enjoy listening to a song that challenges me because I know on some abstract level I’ve grown as a person because I just processed something that my brain couldn’t comprehend.
DS: Are there any songs on the album that can speak to your mood on this tour?
NM: Hmm... right now I would say "Believe Me."