Q&A: Xavier Rudd talks Storm Boy and Vegan Chilli

Music Insight, 2018

Aussie roots icon Xavier Rudd is set to release his latest album, Storm Boy, on May 25. Six years since his last solo project, his spiritual, indie-folk sound combines complex multi-instrumentation and an overarching connection between soul, land and spirit.

We caught up with the singer-songwriter to chat love, gratitude and Storm Boy before he takes his latest release on tour across Australia.

Tell us a little about the journey of creating Storm Boy.
Life is my biggest influence. I have had an amazing journey with so many great people around me. And I’ve been through my struggles too, which makes the good times so much sweeter.

It’s all there on Storm Boy. My records are reflections of chapters in my life. This chapter feels strong and powerful, full of love and gratitude.

After fourteen years of releasing music, what are some of your favourite connections and differences between your records?
They all come through differently without even trying, I like that. The wooden tones of my instruments ring through on all my recordings but they do sound different in different spaces which I also like. Storm Boy reminds me of old recordings at times, but also territory never covered as well.

Your music is deeply reverential of land, body and spirit. How does your music blend the physical and the spiritual?
The spirit of my music drives itself; my physical body is not a factor, I am merely a vessel for it to come through. The best I can be for my music and delivering the spirit of my music is strong and clear, and to not let ego creep in.

Tell us some of what you’ve learned from meeting with Indigenous people all over the globe. How does it affect your songwriting and musicianship?
The most common thread among first nation cultures is that we are equal in creation to every other species or part of creation. To be humble and to celebrate our simple place in creation, and to be conscious of how we can protect the things around us, is the vibe of our shows and music.

Music has been used as a form of protest for centuries. Where do you find yourself in the political and creative mess of 2018? Will your new record be following the same vein of gentle rebellion?
I find myself where I am each day. I don’t focus on politics, I like to focus on the simple beauty around me, and I sing for what I feel and what I believe.

That song leads me to be where I am meant to be, sometimes in the flames and sometimes on a hill far away, observing the smoke.

Speaking of your new record, what can we expect from it?
I recorded this album last year in a place called New Brighton in NSW. I built a studio/house on the river there and tracked it at home. Chris Bond produced the album – he was great to work with.

Plus all the players on the record were incredible: Terepai RichmondYoseph HaileIan PerezDanielle Bennett. I’m really proud of this album, I feel like it is a special one.

So I’ve just started trying to go vegan after being vegetarian for about a year. Do you have any favourite vegan foods that are worth giving a try?
I like vegan chili – they are always good and hearty.

What about bands – any groups you can’t stop listening to at the moment?
Midnite and Kardajala Kirridarra from Alice Springs, among others. I saw the Teskey Brothers recently – they were deadly!

And finally, where can we find you! Tell us all about your tours, upcoming gigs and when and where we can pick up Storm Boy.
We will be touring the States and Canada before Australia, and then straight to Europe and the UK via South Africa, so there’s a lot happening on the touring front. Storm Boy is available everywhere music is available these days from May 25.

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