- 04 Feb 22
Alfie and Harry Hudson-Taylor are back with new single 'You Me Myself,' taken from their upcoming album, Searching For The Answers. The brothers discuss their new outlook on creating, homegrown inspiration and their best work yet with Hot Press below.
With a career spanning over a decade, Alfie and Harry Hudson-Taylor have done it all. From opening for the Rolling Stones to playing Carnegie Hall, the duo have had more "pinch me" moments than they can count.
In recording their upcoming album, Searching for the Answers, the Dublin brothers encountered something totally new: being apart. Now, ahead of the release of their newest single 'You Me Myself,' the two discuss doing things differently.
Even on their Zoom screens, the two scenes are completely dissimilar: Alfie in a bright, colourful apartment in Somerset, Harry beside a keyboard in his warm Berlin home. For two brothers who have spent the last ten years in constant company, their lives now seem undeniably disjointed.
"Because we were separated, it was the first time we had some really forced time apart. To be honest, when the pandemic happened, we didn't speak for a very long time," said Harry. "We weren't doing tours together, it was just us doing our own lives. Weirdly, that was a really nice break for us."
Hudson Taylor had long established themselves as kings of the folk-pop genre. With their previous album Loving Everywhere I Go debuting at Number 1 on Irish national charts, a tour opening for Hozier and over 30 million streams on Spotify, the pairing seemed to have found their formula.
"We were going for it. Hudson Taylor pushed our music in a commercial sense," said Alfie.
Now, with a pandemic and two years bridging their releases, Hudson Taylor have decided to bring it back to basics.
"I think it simplified things. For our last album, we had a much bigger sound. We toured with a lot more musicians. This album stripped it back to mainly just the two of us," said Alfie. "Sound-wise, we wanted to wrap it around a brother duo."
In addition to grounding their sound, the pair found inspiration for Searching for the Answers in faces from their pasts.
"For me, one of the nicest things about this album is the title track. That was one of the only songs we took from the past into this new sort of thing," said Alfie. "'Searching For The Answers' was written in around 2019, in our friend Jack's house. I met him was I was about 15, down in the park playing guitar under a tree. He encouraged me from early on in my life to start playing music."
It was childhood friend Ronan, producer Luke Potashnick and Alfie's girlfriend - singer-songwriter Gabrielle Aplin - who served as the main points of collaboration, creating an album that "felt really homegrown," according to Alfie.
"We wanted most of it to actually come from Harry, and just write the music ourselves," he said. "We needed to prove that we could do it."
In addition to several tours across Europe and America, Hudson Taylor had established a strong local presence, from busking on Grafton Street to a Whelan's residency. Despite the traveling they've done, they both agree there's no place like home.
"We didn't get to play this Christmas and that was sorely felt," said Harry. "Just being in Ireland, there's a particular atmosphere around that time of year. Whelan's is such a home away from home. Playing there is just wonderful, the Irish crowds are great."
"We've got an audience that's grown up with us," he adds. "People who've seen us when we were 16 and 17 on the street busking, and now they're the same age as us - or a little younger, but they're there. They're all grown up, which just feels lovely."
With their latest album, Loving Everywhere I go, having came out in February of 2020, the pair's ability to tour live was taken from them. Now, moving away from the musical purgatory of lockdown, any chance to perform excite them.
"We hadn't played in 18 or 19 months," said Alfie. "We came and did a show in The Academy for an empty room, and even that was special. You could tell what it meant to the people involved in making the show. It reminded us why we do what we do. That magic is what we're here for."
It was in part the new approach to songwriting that has defines Searching For The Answers, but it Hudson Taylor's new attitude plays a key role.
"We're the creative drivers of the band, we act that force now - as opposed to before. There was a lot of pressure on us to go for it in the past, but we've treated this differently," said Alfie. "That affects your songwriting, if you're trying to push commercially. Now, we're just trying to write the songs that we like, and finding people who can make the songs sound like the best possible versions of themselves."
After a demo process that spanned Europe, the brothers came back together to record at legendary Somerset studio, Woll Hall. Recently refurbished by producer Potashnick, Hudson Taylor got to add their names to a roster that boasts Joni Mitchell, The Smiths, The Pretenders and Van Morrison.
"It felt really cool just being in that space," said Alfie. "I've felt it on certain stages as well, where the likes of Joni Mitchell had graced us with her presence. That studio is a really easy place to perform."
"[Potashnick] hadn't done an album yet in that studio, so it was very much like trying things for the first time. You could tell how excited he was," he said. "That kind of gave us a boost as well."
"We were christening the spot," joked Harry. "No one had done any lengthy sessions in there since he got it set up."
It was Potashnick, the brothers believe, who cemented their upcoming release as the best Hudson Taylor record yet.
"We actually wrote one of our older songs with him about six years ago and we loved the process. We thought it was just the best thing ever," smiles Harry. "The experience with him was so wholesome, and the music we came out with was so different. This time around, getting to actually work with him was the best thing. I hope to let the music speak for itself, but for me it's the best stuff we've ever done."
With 'You Me Myself,' Hudson Taylor hope to give fans a look into their lives with a sharper lens. "We had a lot of fun with this one," said Harry. "There are some universal themes that come across the album: healing, self-reflection."
"The song itself is sort of about overthinking relationships and overcomplicating your life, and how that affects other people," said Alfie. "It's been a really fun process making something together. It was brilliant for our relationship to just get stuck into something."
"We feel this is us now. It represents what we want to say now or a story that we want to say at this present moment," said Alfie. "We're just so happy to be releasing music again. It feels like we only wrote the song less than six months ago. And it feels..."
"Good," interjects Harry. "It feels good."
Hudson Taylor's third studio album, Searching For The Answers, will be available to listeners in June.
Listen to 'You Me Myself' below.
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