While some know Mr. Hudson because of his affiliations with Kanye West and G.O.O.D. Music, fans know that he’s always staying busy with projects of his own. His most recent has been BIGkids, a duo he formed with Rosie Oddie. They have a couple of singles making noise in the UK (“Drum In Your Chest”, “Superhero”), and we got a chance to discuss his views on working with BIGkids, his solo material, and his relationship with G.O.O.D.
Interview by Mustafa Abubaker
Straying away from your solo career, what inspired you to start the band BIGkids?
BIGkids is a happy accident. Rosie and I just started making music with no plan. I thought she was going to feature on something or that we’d do a duet. We wrote “Superhero” and “Good For You” together and just didn’t stop. Writing duets opens you up lyrically to so many concepts, which made the process very refreshing.
In a separate interview, you stated it was very important for you to “do something very British and homegrown to balance out all my international shenanigans.” Can you expand on that thought?
BIGkids allows me to work in a messier, carefree fashion. Also, we’re based out of my studio in North London so it’s not required any airports! My studio is like a junk shop, whereas the Americans tend to have a couple of keyboards and samplers and that’s it. Making “Never Grow Up” has been like messing around in my bedroom again.
How’s the chemistry between yourself and Rosie Oddie? What’s the factor that allows that?
We just have a laugh and if we get stuck on a lyric or tired of listening to the same thing we just walk away. But then we come back with massive enthusiasm and smash it. Several of the songs took a few “run-ups.” I think that’s the key. Be as enthusiastic as possible, but also a harsh critic. If we both like a lyric then it should be okay. If one of us is unsure then we try to beat it. Working with Rosie has been a lot of fun. Most things are more fun with two aren’t they?
What was it like filming the video for “Heart Sing”?
Rosie and Toby from Messrs spent about 10 days doing all the animation and editing. I was blown away by the finished product. My involvement was minimal. I just stood in front of a green screen and larked about. If in doubt do a Mick Jagger/David Bowie impression (I’m thinking of their version of “Dancing In The Street”). Rosie’s probably going to end up being a director!
The debut album from your band, Never Grow Up, is out October 8th; how does it feel knowing the project will become a reality?
It feels great. I don’t think anyone’s doing this kind of thing. Seeing it on pre-order on iTunes is definitely a moment. Behind the scenes you have a few of those. When everything’s mixed, then mastered, shooting the album sleeve.
What direction were you going for with the record?
It’s feel good, road-trip/ house-party/picnic wall of sounds. I don’t know!
What was your favorite part about recording the album?
It really pushed my keyboard playing, [which is] something I needed to work on. The parts are quite tricky for me. It’s forced me to get my shit together and now I feel like I can get on stage and play the piano.
How is it working with Eg White, the man who has worked with Adele and Florence and the Machine?
He’s been an inspiration. His approach. High standards. He has a laugh when he’s working but is also his own harshest critic. Reminds me of Kanye in that respect, even though they are coming at music from different directions. Man, imagine those two in the lab.
What are some things, both musical and non-musical, which serve as inspiration for the BIGkids sound?
What are some memorable moments you’ve had in the studio, whether it’s for BIGkids or for your solo? The most frustrating?
I’ve lived in the studio the last few years so I’ve seen it all. The most memorable would be unprintable.
What are your thoughts on London’s music scene in 2012?
I wish I knew. It’s so easy to check stuff online that I don’t go to enough stuff. Seems like a lot of activity has moved online. Saying that, I do occasionally pick a random night and just rock up. You’ve got to let things happen like that. Music can’t just be about surfing blogs. It’s about bands, volume, equipment, lighting, dancefloors and booze. Don’t want to sound too philosophical, but I miss that physicality online.
Going back to the days with The Library, what are some things you’ve learned musically and personally?
It’s almost ten years since we put The Library sound together. Feel like my production has gone from naive to competent ;) Personally I’ve learnt a lot in terms of people skills. I know that sounds wack but you start to realize that it’s just about people at the end of the day.
What ever happened to Torville Jones? Were there any vocals recorded for “Heel and Toe” and “Amerika”?
He just needed to fly his own kite. I don’t know what he’s up to but i wish him well. I did vocal those.
In spite of the promising aura of BIGkids, fans are still curious about your involvement with Kanye and G.O.O.D Music. How’s your relationship with the label?
Very good, pardon the pun. I just got back from a week in the studio with the guys working on new stuff.
What can you tell us about the compilation Cruel Summer? How many songs you’re on, outside features on the album, etc.
I spent more time working on the score for the film. I did work on the album, but won’t know what’s on it ’til it’s out!
Rumors are going around your new solo album is titled Deliverance. Is there any truth to this? Are records like “Angel Eyes” and “Watch You Move” still being considered?
Those songs feel too old. I have loads of new songs in the running. Just need to figure out which ones. Good problem to have. The album will not be called The Deliverance.
What are your thoughts on Frank Ocean’s recent announcement? What type of impact do you think it had on singers/songwriters all over the world?
It’s fantastic. Anything that makes other artists and fans more confident about who they are is a good thing.
What’s your ultimate vision? Where would you like to be in a year?
I don’t really have a master plan. I just like music.
If you could explain your current situation to your eighteen-year old self, what would you say?
You don’t get to be David Bowie but it’s all gooood! Oh, and you will get that Jag.