Sibling duo Hudson Taylor got their start singing around the campfire—origins reflected both in the sounds and feel of their music, and their description of it: “Happy hippy hairy bouncing brother bops.” The pair have already been performing their fervent folk alongside big-name acts like Kodaline and The Script, and next week, they’ll open for fellow Irishman Hozier at House of Blues on Monday. (If you didn’t snag tickets to that show, you’re in luck! They’ll headline at City Winery on Sunday.) We had the chance to hear more about their story, the rescued pups in their music video for “Run With Me,” and the albums that have been influencing their music lately.

KB: When you spoke with Improper Bostonian you mentioned the start of this career was a family trip to Italy. The folk style sound of some of your live recordings have that around-the-campfire feel to them—is this intentional? Do you think your musical career’s origins influenced your later sound?

HT: The recent relatively recent release of one of our songs ‘Old Soul’ which was on our Feel it Again EP has an almost intentional around-the-campfire feel. The opening line is even ‘Look at the fire as it burns out.’ In the original demo of that song we actually had recorded a crackling fire burning out overlaid at the start of the song. Our musical origin story and a huge part of our development comes from preforming on the streets. That definitely influenced our sound and will continue to do so. We used to play other peoples music a lot—covers to get peoples attention on the street. When we would play our own music it didn’t have as much of an effect so we learned to tailor our songs to be more memorable, learned how to write better melodies and lyrics.

KB: What prompted the rebrand to Hudson Taylor? Did it change the mindset when creating new music?

HT: We started making music in 2008 under the moniker ‘Harry & Alfie’—just our first names. We didn’t really take it all that seriously in the early days, or contemplate it as a potential career move. We still don’t take it too seriously now of course—we are, after all, just lucky to be doing what we love as a job but when we decided to start releasing music officially we wanted it to have a name that sounded a bit more collective and less definite. We play on stage with the two of us plus any number of other people, so it just looks and works better for it to be more of a band than a duo per se. Luckily for us our second name is Hudson-Taylor which sounds kinda like a band name, so we just removed the hyphen and there you have it!

KB: You’ve played alongside big name acts like The Script and Kodaline—are there particularly memorable moments that helped shape your sound, live show, or overall experience?

HT: You can learn a lot from supporting big acts. You watch their every move and the movements of the machine behind what they do and figure out how you’d like your own operation to work. Everything from the stage crew, sound monitoring, front of house, tour management etc.

We’re out on the road with Hozier at the moment and it is an absolutely amazing experience. A memorable moment for us was back in 2016 when we played at a charity gig in Dublin in front of 14,000 people where Hozier was the headline act and we played just as a two piece right before Hozier. We were put on a stage that jutted out into the middle of the crowd so we were surrounded by the crowd and we just felt right at home!

KB: What comparisons have you received as a band? Are there ones you’re proud of, ones you don’t understand, or ones you’re sick of hearing?

HT: Being brothers we get compared musically a lot to The Everly Brothers & The Proclaimers and such. Simon & Garfunkel are another common comparison. These are flattering comparisons so its always nice to hear that. We often get asked if we get on well together, as it’s well known that pretty much all brothers in bands have feuds (the Gallaghers of Oasis, most famous of recent years), we can pretty much predict that question come up in a lot of interviews.

KB: Who are the photographers you work with for the photos on your site and your album artwork? They’ve got a VSCO-film style that helps define the band’s visual aesthetic.

HT: We’ve worked with loads of different people over the years. Jack Davison did all our first album artwork and imagery. We’ve worked with Barry McCall on shots for a lot of our tour posters and press shots.

A gentleman from the Pacific northwest area called Brandon Scott Herrell did the main EP and album covers so far on the music we’ve been releasing for the past year. Dara Munnis took most of our favourite live shots over the years.

KB: You’ve shot music videos on the back of a truck on a stack of hay, running alongside rescue dogs, and on the beach. Do you have a favorite? Are there any plans you can share with us for upcoming music videos?

HT: Particularly loved shooting the video for ‘Run With Me’—that was the one with the dogs, our older sister’s dogs, Teddy & Arlo to be precise. It was a beautiful frosty, foggy, crisp and cold couple of days last December. They say “never work with children or animals…” we’ve worked with both and been fairly blessed with how easy it was. Plans for other videos, want to execute a decent elaborate one take video. No one can ever match the likes of Ok Go for their intense videos, but I think we could give a unique Hudson Taylor spin to something like that. There are some ideas but we won’t reveal them incase they get stolen 😉

KB: If Singing For Strangers was a room, what would it look like? How would it be decorated and where would it be?

HT: It would be a glass conservatory room that is about 10 foot x 10 foot adjoining a two-story terraced house with a piano in it. There would be a tiled floor, two tacky fairly ugly upholstered rocking chairs and a dining table in it. A stained glass square designed sun with a face on it would hang on the wall. It would be located in Blackrock, Co. Dublin. The room we’re describing is a room from a house our mum rented from about 2010 ’til 2016 and this is where a lot of jam sessions and songs were written for the Singing for Strangers album

KB: In a previous interview with Independent.ie you mentioned how your parents’ music tastes influenced yours. What are some of the albums you two have been listening to recently that influence your music?

HT: Villagers – Where Have You Been All My Life? 
Iain Archer – To The Pine Roots
Led Zepplin – IV
Rolling Stones – Beggars Banquet
Blake Mills – Heigh HO
Paul Simon – Paul Simon 

Catch Hudson Taylor preform live at City Winery on Sunday, September 30th, or when they open for Hozier on October 1st at the sold-out show at House of Blues. 

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