An Interview With The Rock Group, HUDSON On Making Music, What Inspires Them and Much More!
Posted On 05 Nov 2015
Tag: All Access, All Access Music Group, Artist Interview, Berklee College of Music, Black Keys, Brian Cohen, Carson Daly, Cast Out, Chained, Chris Llewellyn, Christian Thierbach IV, David Hudson, Dick Dale, For The Moment, Half Alive, Hudson, In The Unknown, Jack White, Jezebel, Johnny Cash, Kendrick Lamar, Led Zeppelin, Lynyrd Skynyrd, New York, Nirvana, Quincy Jones, Rock and Roll, Royal Blood, The Beach Boys, Upper Hand, Whatcha Know, Whiskey A Go-Go, White Stripes
The Los Angeles-based four-piece rock ‘n’ roll band HUDSON recently released their sophomore EP–titled CAST OUT–independently on Wednesday, October 21st.
HUDSON is David Hudson (vocals), Chris Llewellyn (guitars/harmonica), Brian Cohen (keys/bass) and Christian Thierbach IV (drums/harp), They will build on the success of their 2014 debut EP In The Unknown with their “dirty, bluesy, swagger-infused rock and roll” sound as PUREGRAINAUDIO.com described it when they recently premiered (8/19) HUDSON‘s cover of Led Zeppelin’s classic track, “Rock and Roll.”
The band’s sound was shaped by childhood influences (from Led Zeppelin, The Beach Boys, and Lynyrd Skynyrd, to Johnny Cash, Pink Floyd and Nirvana) and will be appealing to fans of Royal Blood, Jack White and Black Keys.
Learn more about HUDSON in the following All Access interview:
Thanks for your time! Has it been a busy summer for you?
Hey Leah, we appreciate the interview! It has been extremely busy for us lately. We are fully self-produced and self-funded, so we are basically acting as a record label while juggling all of the responsibilities of a band. It’s been hectic getting ready for our EP release to say the least.
How did you all first meet each other? What made you think you could be in a band together?
This story starts long ago at the Berklee College of Music 5 week Summer Program. Our guitarist/producer Chris Llewellyn met our drummer/harpist Christian Thierbach IV there during the summer after their junior year in high school. During their 5 weeks there, they started a cover band and performed a few times. After the summer ended, the two lost contact for about another 9 years.
After graduating high school, Chris went to Berklee for college and ended up meeting keyboardist/bassist/producer Brian Cohen his sophomore year. They soon formed an inseparable bond and became best friends. It wasn’t until they were coming up on graduation that they decided to make music together. From there they set out on a course to one day make their mark in the music business. They spent years in NYC after graduation with a band they had formed, and once that broke apart they focused their energy on honing their skills as producers. They then spent time down in Atlanta producing and touring with various artists.
During this time, they ended up heading out to LA for a performance on Carson Daly with an artist they were playing with. While on the flight, a guy tried to open the door to the plane. Chris ended up cornering him in the back of the plane with 4-5 other passengers. It was then that the guy said he had a bomb and tried to open the door again. At this point Chris and the other passengers tackled him, tied him up, and held him until the plane was on the ground. Once Carson Daly got wind of what happened, Chris was brought on as a guest on the show and a media circus ensued. Because of this, the story was featured on major news outlets nationwide. Christian ended up seeing the headline about a musician saving a plane and clicked on the article. He instantly recognized Chris’ name and photo and decided to contact him. Six months later Chris and Brian moved out to L.A. to pursue pop production and possibly find a singer for a band, and Christian helped them out with a place to stay while they got on their feet.
The funniest part about the story is that Chris had always mentioned to Brian about how he knew this amazing drummer and that if they ever ran into him he would be a great guy to have in a band. So this chance encounter has always felt like it was meant to be.
After about 2 years in L.A., Chris and Brian ended up meeting our singer David Hudson at a show. The three became great friends, although they had no idea David was a singer. He was secretly working on his writing skills and finally asked them to check him out at an open mic about a year later. Once they heard him sing a cover of the White Stripes, they knew he was the guy for the job. They already knew he had the drive and passion to make it big, so once they heard the tone of his voice they knew they were onto something.
From there, they developed David’s solo project HUDSON. After about a year of hard work and initial success from a single entitled “Chained”, the guys decided to make it a band. Chris called up Christian to play drums and HUDSON was formed on September 1st, 2013. We already had a decent fan base formed around the solo project, so we decided to keep the name for the band. From this point, the band took on more of a hard rocking blues based rock n roll sound instead of the more folky/Americana sound of David’s solo project. Since then it’s been two years of hard work, artist development, and sacrifice that has gotten us to this new EP “Cast Out.”
Phewww…..sorry for the long-winded response. It’s a long story.
How do you think your sound has grown on your sophomore EP, “Cast Out”?
Our sound is constantly evolving. We decided to take the longer route and make this journey without the constraints of a record label. Because of this, we are absolutely creatively free. We make our records how we want and when we want, and nothing is ever forced. We believe in letting our inspiration flow out of us uninhibited, so you never know what you’re going to get from us. We have been influenced and studied literally every genre of popular music, from classical and jazz, all the way through punk, rock n roll, hip hop, electronic, funk, etc. We also take a lot of influence from the music of other cultures. You may hear Eastern influences on one song, and reggae influences on another. At the end of the day, we are attempting to stay authentic to rock n roll while bringing in influences from all of the other genres that influence us. And that can include pretty much anything as long as it’s quality music from the heart and soul. As far as this new EP, it’s definitely harder rocking than “In the Unknown.” The more shows we play and the more confident we get, the bigger the sound gets. We’re really excited to see where the music goes once we are out on the road and seeing the world.
What was the inspiration for the songs on “Cast Out”? Do you find that different things are inspiring you now than before?
Life is what inspires us, and the title track “Cast Out” is based off of a real life incident. In 2009, Brian and Chris were living in Atlanta producing and touring and woke up one day and decided it was time to head to L.A to pursue new opportunities in the music biz. They decided that week to move, and spent a few days getting ready. The night before they were going to leave, they each went out separately with friends to celebrate their new journey. Around 3 am, Chris got a call from Grady Memorial Hospital that Brian had been beaten nearly to death and that he was in the trauma unit.
The five guys who beat him ended up getting caught thanks to a quick thinking cab driver who managed to get their license plate number. From there a lengthy trial began. After nearly six years the case finally went to court last November 2014. During the case there were some blunders made that allowed the perpetrators to walk away without any charges. Naturally that upset us, and our immediate reactions were anger and thoughts of revenge. Chris called David in L.A. and relayed what had happened. Once David heard the story, he ended up taking a really powerful track we had recently recorded and wrote the lyrics to “Cast Out.” By the time Brian and Chris got back to L.A. the next day the song was finished. We recorded it the day after and the rest is history. The main underlying message of the song is to take a negative experience and use it as fuel for something positive. There is a line in the song that says “If I had my way I’d break your face, but instead everyday you’re gonna hear my name.” This line pretty much summed up how we all felt. We decided we were going to use this experience to get our music out to the world and let that be the revenge.
The rest of the songs on “Cast Out” are dealing with similar topics. We also have songs that deal with love and relationships and breakups. The opening song “Whatcha Know?” is about the girls that ignore you one day, and then wants you as soon as things are going your way. The second song “Upper Hand” is about being looked at as underrated or incapable, and fighting through all that doubt surrounding you and coming out on top with the upper hand in the situation. “Half Alive” is about not becoming a zombie to a job you hate and following your passion instead. And finally, “For the Moment” is about just doing the best you can at any given moment. We are constantly influenced by our life experiences and our songs reflect that. If there’s a breakup happening in our lives, you might hear a relationship song. Our last EP “In the Unknown” had a song called “Jezebel” that’s about that bad girl that you know you shouldn’t be going after. At the end of the day we try to keep our topics positive for the most part, or at least flip the story so there is a happy ending of some sort.
Can you talk about covering Led Zeppelin’s “Rock and Roll”? How did you decide to cover that particular song?
That one was an easy decision for us. Led Zeppelin is definitely one of our biggest influences so covering one of their songs was a joy. But at the end of the day, it all boiled down to the fact that it’s been a long time since rock and roll.
How was your residency at Whisky A Go Go? What were the crowds like there?
Our shows at The Whisky have been amazing! The crowds have been growing with the intensity of the shows. Every show we play we try to step up our game, so things have been getting wild. We’re really trying to create a rock scene over here in L.A. again, so it’s cool to play with new bands every night. We have found one or two that are really talented and are looking for more awesome rock n roll acts to play shows with. There is definitely a resurgence of great bands coming soon. Some of these kids are still in their teens and the world doesn’t know a thing about them. We are predicting rock n roll is about to reign supreme again very soon.
Do you think being from LA has influenced the band and your sound at all?
It’s definitely a major influence on us. The landscape of California definitely gives off a certain vibe. You can hear it in everything from The Beach Boys and Dick Dale, to Zeppelin and any other act that has spent a lot of time out here. We love nature and are heavily influenced by it, so L.A. definitely has a major influence on us. It is a major city, but we have the mountains and the ocean. It’s definitely a much different vibe from other places we’ve spent a lot of time in. Chris and Brian are from the south so all those country and blues influences can be heard as well. David and Christian are both from out here in California, and David lived all over throughout his life so we take influences from everywhere.
Who would you love the opportunity to work with in the future? What artists have consistently inspired you and the band’s sound?
We just love working with passionate people who love what they do. We have a small team of passionate individuals who we collaborate with in order to create all of the content we need to release. We keep them close and treat them well. We use the same mixing engineer and mastering engineer for all of our projects. We use the same string guy to perform all of our string arrangements. Same goes for horns or any other instrumentation needed. We also have an amazing director who shot our video and will most likely end up shooting a lot of our content in the future. And finally, we have an amazing graphic designer who helps us with all of our designs, etc. Your team is so important to your success, so we try to work with the best of the best. And that usually means the people with the most passion. As far as artists who inspire us, that list is endless. Go back all the way to Gregorian chant up through every genre until now. If you are passionate, we are inspired by you.
That being said, our sound is mainly comprised of influences from early 60’s-early 90’s blues based rock and roll, with newer sonics and production techniques from the pop/hip hop/electronic side of things to give rock and roll an updated vibe. We feel the genre has been pretty stale for a while now, and we are trying to wake it up.
What do you hope listeners take away your music? Is there a greater message you hope comes across?
The reason we all decided to do this band was to get our message out to the world. We truly believe music is one of the most important things for the survival of humanity, which is why we sacrifice so much for it. We just saw an interview with Quincy Jones and Kendrick Lamar that really hit home for us. Quincy said “you don’t go after the money or the fame. You do the shit that moves you and it’s gonna happen.” And that’s what we truly believe. Quincy also said, “and the last thing that will leave this planet is water and music.” These are the same types of things we always talk about. You know music is that important when you look at nature and see how the birds chirp songs in the early morning, which then allow the stomata on the leaves of trees to open and absorb more light and nutrients. Music runs that deep in our consciousness and existence. For us, we want to use our music to promote a message of peace, loyalty, respect for your fellow man, and following your hopes and dreams with all the passion in your soul. Basically a message of quality over quantity. The world is so fast-paced and money driven these days that a lot of the time we forget to slow down and enjoy it. And when you do the things that you are passionate about, you end up enjoying life. We believe that if everyone woke up with that attitude the world would be a much better place.
Where are all you happiest- on stage performing, in the studio recording or elsewhere?
We live and breathe music. Literally seven days a week, every waking moment. We are born performers and love being on the stage. At the same time, writing songs and getting our message out is equally as important, so a great deal of our time is spent in the studio. We are also big nature lovers, so being in the great outdoors is very important to us. You can see how much it influences us by looking at our album covers.
Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers about yourselves or your music?
Be yourself, follow your dreams. Put your passion, heart, and soul into everything that you do. Try your best to be a sustainable human being for our planet. Treat others like they matter, because they do. It’s hard to remember to do all these things sometimes, so we want to remind everyone that quality of life is what’s important. To us that means family, love, passion, and doing your best everyday to make the world a better place for us all.