By Brian Heisler
Growing up in Torquay, on Australia's south-east coast, Xavier Rudd has developed an intimate connection with our world. The multi-instrumentalist, singer-songwriter and surfer has traveled far and wide. Rudd has seen the people, the places, the highs and lows, and he uses this as inspiration, channeling it into his music.
Coming on the heels of Rudd's wildly successful release Solace, which broke Australia's Top 15, the music community welcomes his sixth release, Food In The Belly. With his pure vision, positive message, and barefoot soul, Rudd continues to build his loyal following around the globe. JamBase is pleased to offer insight into what makes this young, honest pioneer tick.
JamBase: Food In The Belly was released in Australia in 2005 and in Canada in 2006. When and where was it recorded?
Xavier Rudd: It was recorded in Vancouver two years ago. We changed over record companies and things in the States, so it took a while to get it happening.
JamBase: Originally the album was on Universal and now the American release is on Epitaph's ANTI- label. What was the reason for the change?
Xavier Rudd: It just seemed like the right thing. I've always had an independent deal with Universal in Australia and New Zealand, so we've been kind of looking at how we're gonna do the rest of the world. Initially, it was Universal with the option given that I had deals in other territories with them, but when it came down to it, it just seemed to be more suited to ANTI- and their whole approach. A bit different, a bit more independent, a bit kind of left of center. I think it kind of suits what I do.
You've called Food In The Belly a celebration. Is there an overall influence to the album?
I guess Food In The Belly was a gratitude thing. I was just feeling really grateful for my opportunities. It was a time of touring around in new places, meeting new people, about feeling new spirit and new energy in an unbalanced world, feeling really grateful for who I am, where I'm from, what I do, my opportunities. So, it sort of comes from that place a bit.
Xavier Rudd by Joel Johnston
The song "Messages" seems to be the cornerstone of the album. Can you explain where that one came from?
"Messages" is pretty powerful. It seemed to come up through me. It comes from aboriginal ancestors in Australia and people watching over the land. It's gratitude for the time and the place we've been gifted. This is a beautiful Earth. We live in a time where the Earth is deteriorating and we're aware of that But, we still live in a time where we can enjoy our fetish beauty of this powerful gift, Earth. It's written in hope that our future generations can feel some of the similar spirit and energy that we've been gifted in this lifetime.
Many of the songs on Food In The Belly have been taken on the road already and seem made for the live setting, specifically "Energy Song" and "Food In The Belly." Can you explain how you develop songs live?
Essentially I'm a live performer and that's what I spend most of my time doing. I don't spend a lot of time recording. I've always developed my songs live and everybody that comes to my shows is involved in that process. The energy people bring, the situations, they help me develop songs. So, a lot of stuff has come about while on the road. I don't think there's anything that doesn't [develop from that situation]. Sometimes more intimate songs sit with me, more personal reflections I put down in the studio, but a lot of stuff I develop live.
Xavier Rudd by Joel Johnston
"Connie's Song" has a different feel than the rest of the album. How did you get the idea to add tuba and banjo that to the song?
It's written for a woman who is close to me and whose son died in her garden. The way she connects with him is through her garden. His spirits are strong in her garden and her husband is a tuba player, so it was sort of fitting to have tuba on there.
The last song on Food In The Belly, "September 24, 1999," where does that name come from?
It came from when my wife conceived our first child. That's just a personal song that I wrote quite a few years ago. It was always just a personal song and then there was a piano in the studio and one night I was playing it. It was light and I hadn't played it for years. [Producer] Todd [Simko] had some mics up and recorded it, and he was like, "You should put that on [the album]."
"Fortune Teller" is a good example of how you use myriad instruments. You've said in the past that you never intended to be a one-man-band. When and how did you realize that you could put all these instruments together at the same time?
Just over time, although like you said, I never planned it. I'm just someone who likes to fiddle with things and mess around. Music's been my life and touring around and playing and just building this world that's around me over time. Nothing's ever planned. It's just sort of what's come to me and a lifetime of doing that.
Do you have any plans for 2007?
Well, I'm in the studio right now recording the next album, which should come out sometime in the next year. I'm excited to see that take shape. And it looks like more touring and playing. I'm not a goal person. I sort of live in the moment. I don't really know what's happening a long way ahead of time. I kind of like it that way. That way I'm constantly surprised by things. I just kind of live in the present.
JamBase | Australia
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