- 09 Dec 20
"He is an artist to the core in the way that he views the world and himself," Blindboy says of his latest guest, celebrating an incredible 25 listens on the Blindboy Podcast in just over two years.
Despite the podcast only being two years old, the Blindboy Podcast has accumulated an incredible 25 million listens since launching; having gone viral mainly through word-of-mouth rather than promotion.
"I never expected that would happen. I haven't plugged it, I've put no money into pushing it and it's all word of mouth," Blindboy says. "It's gone from a little thing in Ireland to completely global."
Blindboy celebrates the achievement with a characteristically honest interview alongside Bray singer-songwriter and global sensation Hozier (Andrew Hozier-Byrne).
The pair discuss how to rely on your own sense of self worth when fame can blur your identity, songwriters of the past whose influence remains strong for Hozier and the freedom of being the underdog.
"It's tricky and I don't think I've mastered it or spent enough time sitting with it," Hozier says when asked about the strangeness of making headlines and internet threads.
"Some days are great, some days are good, and some days aren't. It's learning to step away. You have to be aware that you're in a space where people just say sh*t about you. It's also about making the decision for your own self and health that you shouldn't be looking for it or reading it - it's work that you have to achieve."
"It's gotten easier, being recognised," Hozier adds. "If I was to just hazard a guess as to why it feels uncomfortable, if you walk into a room and everybody stares at you - your instinctual reaction is one of feeling threatened or alienated, because it's not normal."
"It feels more natural when people don't have a clue who I am. In certain places, you can still get that in Ireland. I have a lovely community, where I'm living, or in places like Dingle. John Moriarty mentions living in a world of mirrors after being in Connemara in the pitch black night. He was walking through the hills and he feels like he's lost himself in that darkness but says that we all mirror each other in some way. People tell us who we are all the time when we walk through the world, so your identity is bounced to you as you go about your business. Being recognised is a challenge because you're seeing yourself mirrored in other people because they've have seen you on TV. They've seen a spectacle or distorted mirror."
"Over time, I've become very protected of my internal life and immediate external life - my friends and family," he says. "I try not to court attention unless it's to court a purpose." ("Like a really tall Enya," Blindboy quips.)
"I think being an unknown and going back to being an underdog is a wonderful time because you have that freedom," he says, when asked about writing and releasing his debut as a new musician.
"I didn't think I would have an audience either way when I first started releasing music. I had spent years in the development phase of writing songs that I thought people wanted to hear. This is stuff I've never released. I didn't think initially that 'Take Me To Church' was going to be a radio song. It has all of these weird, angular, chromatic noises in it and it's about the institutionalised Roman Catholic Church wrapped up in a song about riding, I don't think it'll do well on morning radio. I thought it would fall into some sort of indie or alternative space."
Paul Simon, Tom Waits and David Bowie, plus the terrifying lack of conventionality of Randy Newman's 'God Song' are some of the big musical heavyweights mentioned by Hozier and Blindboy.
They also discuss how much of Hozier is a character, as well as the unconditional love of your art - flaws and all.
"Especially on the second album - maybe I didn't convey it too much, but the way I viewed it was that every song was a different character or viewing a doom-and-gloom feeling from a different perspective," the artist says about Wasteland, Baby!.
"They're all sitting around the same bonfire of our times watching the world burn, commenting on it. It was influenced by how we're experiencing the tumult of the world through a hyper-real lens. Some of the voices were hopeful and some were happy about the world burning and some were not. There's a freedom in the character thing, but you have a love for your creations. You love them for what they try to achieve or do achieve."
Listen to the full podcast below:
— The Blindboy Podcast (@Rubberbandits) December 9, 2020