When we meet Mr Hudson he’s eating a tomato like an apple with his fingers simultaneously firmly and quite literally on the twitter pulse. To the uninformed eye Mr Hudson might look like he was a cool, less than complicated lad living a relatively simple life. But this is the man responsible for the piece of music Kanye West and his girlfriend call ‘our song.’ The Student Pocket Guide caught up with him to discuss his rapid rise.
Interview by Carl Hemp
“Do you know what it’s like at the stations with the Guitar, Clothes, Laptop and everything else hanging around your neck? – it sometimes feels like you’re a packhorse just trying to get through! You’re sweating and dropping stuff all over the place!” Ben Hudson explains. And he’s not complaining, merely citing a twitter/tomato combo is a well earned way of chilling-out.
It was within days of hearing ‘A Tale of Two Cities’ – the debut album by Hudson and his dynamic band – the Library that king of cool Kanye West ordered Hudson onto a trans-Atlantic flight. Being the laid back chap we’ve quickly discovered Hudson is, SPG wonders if the West/Hudson relationship is something he takes in his stride. “He saved my life! I admire him. I love him because he’s not an island. He collaborates with people and brings them through. For me the most valuable thing he’s done for me is not what he told me or lectured to me about – it was all about demonstration.” It would appear not then.
It must have come as a bit of a blow then when Kanye West wasn’t convinced by the initial ‘follow-up’ offering. “Kanye was like – ‘it’s great but really isn’t what you should be doing.’ I was ridiculously disappointed. We dusted ourselves down, got ourselves back on track and came up with what is now ‘Straight, No Chaser.’ I’m really proud of it and I’m still listening to it – which says a lot. It’s a big change from the first and it’s as if the stuff in between that didn’t sit well with Kanye is a secret step. The lost album.”
“I remember when I left [Straight, No Chaser] with my mum one weekend and she just sent me a nice text. I was round for lunch and left a copy, I told my parents ‘if you put this on the internet I’ll kill you! Kanye likes it, Mum likes it, and I like it.’ That’s a great feeling!”
It’s clear the family have been a constant source of encouragement and motivation for Hudson’s music.
When Hudson was 13 and in his first ‘heavy metal band’ his mum was regularly driving him to gigs, helping him to set up and to get home again. “She was my manager, a fan and my roadie” Hudson says proudly. Just two years later and the man they’re now calling Mr ‘Supernova’ Hudson unbelievably made John Peel’s playlist.
Faced with SPG’s list of contemporaries Hudson admits he’s never heard of DJ Ironik. He says he’s not offended by media comparisons with Mike Skinner and says Lady GaGa is “interesting.” Overall it is fair to say he is looking a little bit lost. “I mostly listen to old records.” Hudson explains.
“When I was on the dole I wouldn’t go out and buy a Snow Patrol record for £15 when I’m getting hold of loads of great classic vinyl’s at Oxfam for £2.”
On the comedown from festival season we wonder where does Hudson sit with the VIP vs. MUD debate? He admits – “I try and do both. To be honest I had my mum and dad’s tent which flooded so I was very glad the record company had booked a bed and breakfast. I did a bit of both. Waking up in mud is not great.”
At this point SPG can’t help but ask Hudson to lend a hand with our Mission: Twitter. He is only too happy to do so before insisting we find him some DJ Ironik on YouTube(!) We then get an exclusive peak at the forthcoming album cover. “What do you think of this as an album cover?” Hudson asks. Just as we’re getting well into our joint-analysis, Mr Hudson bursts into a chorus of “need me…?” (ask your grannies.) It might be in response to the tour manager peering around the door? Or it might just be that this cooler-than-ice chap is ridiculously musical and rightly sing-out-loud excitable about his huge future.