By Julia Reidy
Growing up in Atlanta, Harrison Hudson was always into music. From his days in a high school band with three members of Manchester Orchestra, Hudson to his career today in Nashville, Tenn., where he’s found a tuneful community to call home. Now he’s back in Atlanta to record a new album on Manchester’s label, Favorite Gentlemen, to which he’s signed. It’ll be the follow up to last February’s Blood, Sweat and Sweat, which the band gives away for free on their MySpace page (www.myspace.com/harrisonhudson). Working closely with Andy Hull and Robert McDowell (frontman and guitarist in Manchester Orchestra, respectively), the new record, Hudson says, will be unlike anything he’s released before. We tracked him down while he was on vacation to chat about the project and his hopes and fears thereof.
Harrison and his bandmates play alongside Taylor Hollingsworth for this month’s free Big Trouble in Little Five Points show at Star Bar February 19.
AMG: Can you tell me a little about the new record?
Harrison Hudson: I don’t even know what the studio is going to be called. Favorite Gentlemen just rented out a studio space where their rehearsal space is, and Andy and Robert are going to be working out of the studio. It’ll also be the label’s office and rehearsal space for any of the Favorite Gentlemen artists who need it if we come through town and want to practice before a show, as well as a place for us to demo, or even do records. Andy’s going to be producing and Robert’s going to be engineering, but we’re going to be working on the record together. We already started pre-production last week, and then I’m on vacation this week, and once I come back to Atlanta for the show, I think the next day we’re going to start recording again and picking songs. Right now, we’re just really trying to figure out songs because we’ve got about 50 on the table, plus guitar riffs that might become a cool song. So Andy and I are going to be writing together and Robert and I are going to be writing together, just really trying to figure out what the record’s trying to be. It’s definitely going to be an Atlanta- and label-centered thing. We’re going to try to get as many people that are on Favorite Gentlemen playing on the record as we can.
AMG: Are you playing any of the new material at shows? Will we get to hear it?
HH: We’re playing a lot of new material. Whether or not it’ll be on the record is wildly up for debate right now. Through Andy and Robert’s direct encouragement, and my excitement about it, we’re trying to just put out something completely different this time. I’ve never really had a record that’s been the same as the one before, and I want to keep that trend, but I think this one’s going to be far different from anything I’ve ever done. It’ll be the first time I’m being truly produced, because I’ve always at least co-produced. I’ll get to voice my opinions as an artist, but I won’t be able to pull the producer card, ever. It’s tough letting go of the control, because with a band that’s named after yourself, you can kind of tell the other guys what to do. So even though we are a band and it’s not a solo project at all, it’s really easy to get my way. It’s a comfortable place to be, but it’s not a good place to be as an artist, because you can’t grow.
AMG: Are your bandmates going to record with you, or will it be just you and Andy and Robert?
HH: Just for travel reasons, they’re probably not, just because we’re doing the record in Atlanta. We might be having the guys on the record, that’s still up in the air, but a lot of it’s probably going to be Andy and Robert working on it while I’m out of town, and then I come in and hear what they’ve been doing, we make changes, I add guitar and vocals and talk about where we’re at, and then I leave town to go back to Nashville to do photo shoots or play shows or whatever. It’s going to be a project that’s greatly out of my control.
AMG: Do you think it’s going to take a really long time to complete, then?
HH: No, we’ll probably finish in February because Manchester goes out on tour this month, which is part of the reason they’re going to be working on it while I’m not there. There’s also been a possibility that this record’s going to be a side project. Andy and I have been talking about just making a new band for him and I, which is possible, if it ends up being something that’s so much also Andy’s project that we just need to call it a whole new band.
AMG: Any ridiculous band names on the back burner?
HH: I don’t know. We’ve been talking about possibly “Call It Murder.” We’re not going to be like “When Harry met Andy” or anything like that.