Chet Faker is playing Listen Out at the Ozone Reserve on Sunday, September 28. Shaun Cowe reports.
It’s been a couple of months since Chet Faker, aka Nick Murphy, announced in an interview he was considering leaving the music industry and, catching him on the phone in sunny Los Angeles, he admits that it was his way of venting steam. Between the hectic touring schedule and media frenzy since the release of his chart-topping debut album, Built on Glass, the bearded Melbournian has had little time to catch his breath.
“Usually the only time I think about quitting music is when I’m doing press, if that gives you an idea. It depends, man. Depends on what kind of day I’m having,” Murphy says.
“It depends on the interviewer. Like, press can be easy breezy but sometimes it can be nasty. It depends if you get a journalist that’s just not interested in your answers or if they’ve already decided what the story’s gonna be about and they’re just trying to get you to say something with leading questions.
“It’s funny, sometimes you’ll do a really big name publication and they’ll have the worst interviewer ever and then you’ll do some tiny little blog with 50 followers and it will be one of the best journalists you’ve ever spoken to; like, mad research. It’s really hit-and-miss.”
With Drop the Game nearly omnipresent on the radio, it’s easy to paint a picture of the rock ‘n’ roll peaks that come with fame. For Murphy, however, the reality is a near-constant touring schedule and occasional bouts of home-sickness. He’s the first to admit he’s still new to all this.
“It’s all about a good balance between touring, time off and recording. Too much recording and you go crazy and too much touring and you go crazy, and at the moment I’m doing a lot of touring. And everyone has their own good balance.” Murphy says. “You know, this is my first really intense year of touring, so I’m still finding where my balance is, in terms of how much touring I can do without going loco. And I’m learning a lot about myself, which is important.”
When asked about whether he has any tracks due to be released, Murphy’s a bit vague. He promises songs are in the works, but can’t put a time on when they’ll be released.
“I’m working on stuff but it’s just time. I don’t have time, which sucks because making music is the whole reason I’m doing this [touring], but it’s ironic that I’m doing so much now that I don’t have time to make music.”
As Murphy gets to talking about the tour, it becomes apparent that he’s keen on getting back to Australia. Doubly so, in fact, seeing as Chet Faker is billed to play the Listen Out music festival.
“I like the Listen Out lineup for sure. There are different types of dance music festivals; I like the boutique ones, like with the nicely curated lineup. I’m looking forward to it though, I haven’t been home since June.”
Exploring the subject of boutique festivals and talking about his favourite gigs on tour so far, Murphy becomes a little indecisive. For him, there’s a lot of boxes to tick to make a standout gig.
“You can have a good show for different reasons – that’s why there’s never really one standout gig. It’ll be a good gig because me and the band played really well, or because the crowd was insane, or because you were just in a good mood and maybe you made up something on the spot that went really well, or you liked the venue maybe. There’s just so many things.”
Since the drop of his cover of Blackstreet’s No Diggity in 2011, Murphy has been on a steady incline to chart-busting dance hits and pop stardom. When asked if there was any advice he’d like to go back and give himself before mainstream success, he admits there was something he would have liked to know early on.
“I guess I’d just tell myself – [laughs] it sounds like a Disney movie,” he says. “But just to trust my own gut instincts, you know? So many times over the last few years I’ve been convinced by someone telling me ‘no, this is how it’s done.’ There is no actual one way to do music – it’s not a science. If something doesn’t feel right it’s because it isn’t right. It’s that simple. I know that now but when you’re first starting there’s so many people around you it’s easy to think that they have your best interests at hand. You’ve gotta ask yourself what do they get paid to do and who’s paying them, you know?”