7 Jan 2017

The artist formerly known as Chet Faker

From RNZ Music, 3:00 pm on 7 January 2017
Nick Murphy

Nick Murphy Photo: supplied

In 2011, when Nick Murphy released a downbeat cover of Blackstreet's 'No Diggity', he called himself Chet Faker in tribute to the jazz great Chet Baker. An ironic handle for an ironic song.

He had no idea he was about to become one of Australia's most successful music exports of the past decade. The song went viral. His ironic handle was an easy one to remember so by the time his debut EP came out the following year, his homeland ate it up.

His debut album, Built on Glass, went to number one in Australia, went platinum, and yielded three songs that made the top ten of Triple J's Hottest 100, including the number one. The world was paying attention. His 'No Diggity' cover ended up on a Superbowl commercial. He turned up on 'Ellen' still wearing his ironic made up pun-name.

Everybody's got to grow up though. Recently, Nick Murphy has decided to revert to his given name.

"Its not so much the name, but what it represents also. If you think about it like a house, designing and creating a house, you get a lot out of that, out of the creation of a house. The creation is what I get most of my pleasure out of.

"Then one day you wake up and you've built the house you've been living in the house and you sort of have nothing left to do on the house. And you just wanna burn the house down and build another one."

Murphy has released two songs so far under his own name and has more up his sleeve indicating an album might not be far off.

He says he's been enjoying making music and exploring new territory.

"I've been having a lot of fun playing the drums, I play the drums on both the singles I've released so far. I used to play drums when I was a kid and I recently got myself a kit again. The latest song 'Stop Me (Stop You)' is kind of two songs glued together, that song has been gestating for a long time."

When Chet Faker rose to prominence, it was at a time in music when there were only a few others presenting their music in a solo style show, manipulating their vocals live for audiences worldwide. James Blake was certainly the best known, now that style is almost a genre of it's own with a plethora of similar artists.

"I don't always play solo, I mean the last couple of shows have been with a band. I started with a band then I went solo. Then I had some shows where I'd play solo and the band would come on for some songs and the last year I've been playing with a four piece band. I've found that once you're playing solo to more than a thousand people, it doesn't really translate especially if you're hitting buttons and all that, you kind of need to engage the audience."

Nick Murphy (Chet Faker) will perform at Laneway Festival 2017 in Auckland.

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