Former Kaiser Chief, Nick J.D. Hodgson is branching out on his own with a sentimental debut that showcases his knack for irresistible pop tunes.
Hey Nick, congrats on the new album - how're you doing at the moment? Is life good?
Life's great thanks. I did my first solo gig last night, it was sold out (55 people), and they clapped loudly, so I'm happy.
Tell us about how you came to make the record. Was there a specific moment that made you think, 'Right, I'm doing this'?
Well, I've been producing and writing songs for lots of different artists over the last five years, and that's fun, but it comes with its fair share of frustration and torment. I was sitting on the floor one night in March this year with a cold feeling sorry for myself, waiting for an email that never came about a song I'd written and I started fiddling around on the guitar and singing. It really was a eureka moment. I just suddenly thought, fuck this I'm going solo!
Have you ever toyed with being a solo musician before now?
When I was about 18, I thought I'd make solo records after being in a band. I had album titles. One was 'When Doves Literally Cry' the other was too rude to print. But since that age I never really thought I would do it, at least that's what I would say to people, maybe I protested too much. I find that often when people object to the idea of making a solo record, a solo record usually shows up.
Has going solo and launching your own imprint presented any unexpected challenges?
You have to be super organised and reply to emails immediately, or else they get lost in the rubble. I have to deal with things like ISRC codes and manufacturing dates when I should be throwing TVs out of windows.
How does the process of writing music for yourself differ from writing with or for other acts?
I find it much easier writing for myself because you don't have to inhabit someone else's emotions or guess what they would like or feel. It's a lot more direct, and the only filter is yourself, so it's much quicker and just more fun. You can do anything you like basically.
Do you think you'll eventually release music for other acts via Prediction Records?
I don't have any plans to do that, but I wouldn't rule it out, I'd need staff! I've got my own publishing company as well, and I'd love to sign people to that one day. I can deal in songs a lot more intuitively than dealing in stock taking and deadlines.
How have your musical tastes evolved over the past 15 years? Have your inspirations changed at all?
My inspirations in the early days of the Kaiser Chiefs were a lot more up-tempo and anthemic. Madness, Blondie, Dexy's, Blur all that. Stuff that would make a crowd pay attention when we were playing first on the bill at The Dublin Castle. Now I'm a bit more lyric based, I love Father John Misty and Beck, and I think they prove that you can still captivate a crowd by singing good lyrics with an acoustic guitar almost as well as when you're smashing a drum kit to bits. Almost.
Do you want something different out of music now than when you first started out?
I've always wanted to have songs that are people's all-time favourites and will be listened to in years to come, and that desire totally hasn't changed. So no, I think its pretty much the same as when I first started. I'm just a really needy!
Which of the songs on 'Tell Your Friends' means the most to you?
Playing live last night for the first time showed me that the answer to this question is 'Suitable' I was a bit emotional when singing that one. For some reason having an actual audience watching made me think about the words a lot more.
Do you have much in the diary for 2018 yet?
I got the album release on 26th January, a couple of in-stores around that week then I'll see what occurs. I'm playing Live At Leeds in May. I'd like to do a little tour and then write some more songs.
Nick J.D. Hodgson’s debut solo album ‘Tell Your Friends’ is out 26th January. Taken from the February 2018 issue of Dork, order a copy below.