Fender Q&A: Mr. Hudson

Hudson2Ben Hudson, a.k.a. producer and recording artist Mr. Hudson, has been quite busy over the past few years, and it doesn’t seem like things are slowing up any time soon.

The U.K. native has already released two solo albums, produced tracks for Kanye West and released another record with Rosie Oddie under the moniker BIGkids. And now, he’s got plans to release three albums over the next 18 months.

During a recent break in his busy schedule, Hudson stopped by the Fender Artist Showroom in Los Angeles for this Q&A …

Fender.com: Why three albums in such a short amount of time?

Hudson: It’s two things, really.  One, I’ve built up a lot of stuff on my hard drive, so rather than trying to figure out what can squeeze on to one record, why not just put out three?  And if you’ve got a tune where you’ve sampled something, why not just give it away and not make any money out of it so you won’t have any issues with it.  So, I’ve got some stuff that I’ll just stick online.

And then, there will be the album.  I want to make a 10-song thing with songs that you just want to sit at a piano or grab an acoustic and play.  I love all this EDM sh*t, but it’s taking us away from actual songs.  I think I’ve always had the instinct to go against what everyone else is doing.  Ten years ago, it was incorporating hip hop into your stuff.  People thought I was crazy back then.

I would also love at some point next year to do an album with the Library again. People hit me up every day on Twitter asking me when that’s going to happen.  So, I’m going to have to do it just to stop that.

The BIGkids record was such a great pairing with you and Rosie Oddie. Would you do that again?

Hudson: I think that would be a fun thing to keep coming back to.  We spent six months making that album, so we’re going on to do some other things for a bit, but it’s such a great format, and it’s been so much fun working with Rosie. It was like a junkyard, throwing in all these weird instruments and ideas.  It was just pure fun.  Really instrument-based.  I play four different guitar lines on the same record, like a flatwound sound, an acoustic, an electric, a bass line.  Like two bass guitar lines, a flatwound and one with a jazzy lower line, and I’d chop them up.  It was just fun.

Hopefully, at some point, we’ll want to do that again.  It’s a classic format – the boy/girl duets – so it’s going to work at some point.  This year, I’m back into more of the egotistical, Mr. Hudson mode.  I had a lovely rest from myself last year.  It was just good to not be about me and do lots of production.

What else have you been working on lately?

I produced 90 percent of an album for Josh Kumra, who’s a new artist coming out of London.  It all came from his songs that he had written on an acoustic guitar, and we didn’t have any rules.  We had MOOG-based stuff, Spanish guitar, some sampled 70s-era reggae drums.  One of the things I really enjoyed with that album was that Josh was like, “I just want you to do whatever you think is the coolest for any given track.”  He didn’t hold me back in any way.  Maybe further down the line, management would say, “That doesn’t work, or whatever.” But Josh gave me free reign, so that was lots of pleasure from that point of view.

Do you ever take time off?

At Christmas, I took a break, as everybody does, and gained great perspective during that week when the phone’s not ringing and emails aren’t coming through. I thought, “Yeah, I am actually ready for it to be about me as an artist.”  Some artists can go their whole career, every minute of every day, and have it be about them.  I find it distasteful.  I got sick of talking about myself [laughs].  But now, I’m ready to make and promote another album.  The easy part is making it, but then you have to make it connect.  Once you make it connect, you have to keep it going.

What did you accomplish on your stop in Los Angeles?

It was lovely to be back in LA.  They told me it was intolerably hot, but it’s OK.  Had some great Mexican food.  This is like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, being in here.  The main reason to be here is work and sessions. I’ve been mainly staying behind the scenes. Obviously, it’s fun to work with other artists, but it’s nice to get with the behind-the-scenes people, the people pulling the strings.  My thing with this trip was just to sit with people at a piano or with an acoustic guitar and find out if we could make a song work like that without having 20 tracks of looped audio from other people.

For me, a boy from Birmingham via London, working in Malibu and Hollywood writing songs, I’m like a pig in sh*t.

For more information, visit Hudson’s official Facebook pageHudson1


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