hozierarchive: Billboard: Watch Hozier’s John Varvatos Fall…

hozierarchive:

Billboard: Watch Hozier’s John Varvatos Fall Campaign Video: Exclusive

28th July, 2016

[…] With Varvatos in New York and Hozier at home, the duo hopped on a long distance call to chat about the campaign and its accompanying Clinch-directed video of Hozier’s “To Be Alone”—which Billboard is exclusively premiering. The conversation, excerpted below, quickly became in the words of Varvatos, “a total love fest.”

Hozier: John, it’s good to talk to you, how are you? How’s life?

Varvatos: It’s good, man. Where are you?

Hozier: I’m in Ireland, I’m home at the moment

Varvatos: We were just talking about how hot it is here in New York. Remember how hot it was the day we shot the campaign? It’s even hotter here now. There’s no such thing as global warming, though. [laughs]

Hozier: Nope! Nonsense! It’s actually quite mild in Ireland. We’ve been lucky the last couple of weeks— this is one of the best summers I’ve seen in years. In Ireland, you could have a summer [in which] you can count the days of sunshine on one hand. Nothing like over there—New York has a special kind of heat.

Varvatos: Yeah, it’s called cement. [laughs]

Billboard: So how did the campaign come together.

Varvatos: I’ve been a big fan of Andrew’s since he came on the scene. There is so much to love about him, starting with the music and the songwriting and how special it is and how it captures your imagination and heart. But it’s also, I was so intrigued by what a renaissance man he is—how he looks at the world and what goes on in the world, and it comes out in his songs. I was always intrigued by how handsome he is; he’s a great looking guy and that always works great in our world of fashion.

Billboard: Are you blushing over there yet, Andrew?

Hozier: He’s been very very generous. Thank you, John. I suppose from my end, in a similar way, i was absolutely thrilled when my manager first let me know [about the campaign offer]. I had a few pieces of Johns and I always loved that the work he does is this incredibly rare thing where elegance just meets sheer badass. There’s a wonderful spirit in the clothing. I had never met John before and he is an absolute gentleman, someone who really knows his stuff. I was shocked by how much he knows about rock and roll. There is a dedication to the legacy of it—not only in the way the business conducts itself but also in his work and in his life.

[Read full article HERE]

Full text: 

In February, menswear designer John Varvatos transformed his Bowery store—the space that was formerly CBGB—into a darkened mixed-media funhouse for fashion week. There were rows of coffins and fake-blood splatters, David Bowie and Pink Floydlyrics scrawled across walls, models who accessorized clothing from the Autumn/Winter 2016 collection with creepy animal-head masks. The highly unconventional setup, Varvatos said, was part of a larger question he pondered while rendering the looks: “Is rock dead?” he asked himself.

The answer, of course, was a resounding “no.” It never will be for Varvatos, whose encyclopedic knowledge of music has become a fabric of its own for the namesake label he founded nearly two decades ago. Each season musicians become muses for Varvatos’ designs, but they also become the stars of his Danny Clinch-shot ad campaigns which have featured everyone from Iggy Pop to Kiss to Willie Nelson toJimmy Page and Gary Clark Jr.

Carrying the label’s rock ‘n’ roll torch this Fall is Andrew Hozier-Byrne, the Dublin-based artist whose blues and folk-inflected self-titled debut album landed him a Grammy-nomination and two Billboard Music Awards in 2015. “When I mentioned to Danny and art director Stephen Niedzwiecki that I wanted Andrew to be in the campaign, their immediate reaction was, ‘Fuck! Oh my god!’” recalls Varvatos, who launched his own music label in 2014. “Sometimes we talk about ideas and chew on it for a while. This one was an instantaneous fireworks display.”

With Varvatos in New York and Hozier at home, the duo hopped on a long distance call to chat about the campaign and its accompanying Clinch-directed video of Hozier’s “To Be Alone”—which Billboard is exclusively premiering. The conversation, excerpted below, quickly became in the words of Varvatos, “a total love fest.”

Hozier: John, it’s good to talk to you, how are you? How’s life?

Varvatos: It’s good, man. Where are you?

Hozier: I’m in Ireland, I’m home at the moment

Varvatos: We were just talking about how hot it is here in New York. Remember how hot it was the day we shot the campaign? It’s even hotter here now. There’s no such thing as global warming, though. [laughs]

Hozier: Nope! Nonsense! It’s actually quite mild in Ireland. We’ve been lucky the last couple of weeks— this is one of the best summers I’ve seen in years. In Ireland, you could have a summer [in which] you can count the days of sunshine on one hand. Nothing like over there—New York has a special kind of heat.

Varvatos: Yeah, it’s called cement. [laughs]

Billboard: So how did the campaign come together.

Varvatos: I’ve been a big fan of Andrew’s since he came on the scene. There is so much to love about him, starting with the music and the songwriting and how special it is and how it captures your imagination and heart. But it’s also, I was so intrigued by what a renaissance man he is—how he looks at the world and what goes on in the world, and it comes out in his songs. I was always intrigued by how handsome he is; he’s a great looking guy and that always works great in our world of fashion.

Billboard: Are you blushing over there yet, Andrew?

Hozier: He’s been very very generous. Thank you, John. I suppose from my end, in a similar way, i was absolutely thrilled when my manager first let me know [about the campaign offer]. I had a few pieces of Johns and I always loved that the work he does is this incredibly rare thing where elegance just meets sheer badass. There’s a wonderful spirit in the clothing. I had never met John before and he is an absolute gentleman, someone who really knows his stuff. I was shocked by how much he knows about rock and roll. There is a dedication to the legacy of it—not only in the way the business conducts itself but also in his work and in his life.

Billboard: John, how did you decide what Andrew was going to wear for the shoot?

Varvatos: Andrew is a tall drink of water. How tall are you, Andrew? 6’ 4’’?

Hozier: 6’5,’’ I think.

Varvatos: He’s got long arms, he’s very tall, so we had to make these pieces for him. Based on everything that I knew about him and his personality, I selected some things that I thought he might like—he made them look badass and sexy at the same time.

Billboard: Where did the shoot take place?

Varvatos: We were in an old mill that was built by George Washington in New Jersey. It is this very rustic space with an imperfectness to it. When we were there, we had a lot of conversations about what happened what happened in that space. There wasn’t power back then, there wasn’t lighting, automobiles or trucks. We were in one area shooting Andrew in a doorway—and while we were taking those photos, I was thinking: “How did this come to be? Why did George Washington pick this place in Montclair, New Jersey?”

Hozier: It was kind of built into the side of a mountain—so you’d get to the back of the building and it was suddenly just ascending rock face, no more wall. Really cool spot.

Billboard: Andrew, what was it like working with Danny Clinch.

Hozier: He is amazing. I had met him before but it was always very brief. I didn’t realize until we got to talking on set that we had once shared a stage with Mumford and Sons at Bonnaroo—they got loads of people up on stage one night: My Morning Jacket, the guys from Dawes …

Varvatos: Danny plays harp

Hozier: We were all playing “With A Little Help From My Friends” and Danny was playing harp on stage. Danny is just a really laid back, relaxed pro. Later during the shoot day, he very kindly gave me a book of his work and it is just magnificent.

Billboard: Thinking back to your first photo shoot and then to this campaign, how has the experience of being photographed changed for you?

Hozier: [laughs] Well, the first one would have been me lugging an acoustic guitar around Dublin in a hoodie. I was a fairly awkward, gangly looking dude. So this was just—in two and half years—to be working with such people and being made to look so good … is amazing.

Billboard: John, has the collaborative process with Danny changed for you over the years? Or do the two of you read each other’s minds at this point?

Varvatos: We always brainstorm with art director Stephen Niedzwiecki on what we want to do—but we always want to bring out the artists’s personality. And then there’s just the stuff that happens—I call it “the caught in the moment.” You can plan everything but something happens or the light changes or you discover something—and Danny is an amazing photographer for catching things in the moment. He’s not rigid.

Billboard: Andrew, you’ve toured so exhaustively over the past two-and-a-half years. How does it feel to be home? Are you at work on new music?

Hozier: It feels great to be home. I was incredibly lucky to be on the road for that long, to promote the album as far and as wide as we did. Being home—there is that adjustment period after the tour is over, there’s a mad restlessness—but i think you enjoy a lot of things retrospectively; when you have a moment to breathe, you kind of look back and go “ oh wow, that was something else!” This is an example of it, too, talking about it and now looking back on it—what an amazing experience getting to work with John and Danny. I’m working on new music at the moment, I’m finally in a quiet spot to kind of settle down and live away from a city for a little bit and get some quiet work done. But I’m excited for what’s next.

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Hot Press: Hozier, Jape and Paul Brady among star turns at…

Hot Press: Hozier, Jape and Paul Brady among star turns at Prince tribute

22/7/2016

The great and the good of Irish music turned out in force to pay homage to the late superstar

The first surprise of the night is a welcome appearance from Dublin’s own Jape. Their two man keyboard and MPC set up, dwarfed by the surrounding instrumentation of the house band, makes for a wonderfully intimate performance of one of Purple Rain’s most gorgeous songs, ‘The Beautiful Ones’. Before they begin Richie Egan quips that they have adjusted the arrangement to include a tribute to the sad loss last weekend of Suicide’s Alan Vega, but also, because Egan was hesitant to attempt the vocal gymnastics of the songs outro. Their beat heavy, lushly orchestrated interpretation is an early highlight.

As the night’s house band, The True Funk Soldiers, prepare to take to the stage the lights dim and we hear the purple one himself intoning the famous “Dearly beloved…” spoken word intro from ‘Let’s Go Crazy’. Since his sad passing this past April, the line “I’m here to tell you, there’s something else: The after world” has definitely gained an extra significance. Tonight, it’s as if Prince has made a surprise appearance at his own wake – you certainly wouldn’t put it past the man. As the band launch into a frenetic, tight as a drum rendition of the aforementioned, CC Brez and the 11 other consummate musicians on stage (including Hozier/Bell X1 drummer Rory Doyle) have the crowd dancing and singing along in no time.

As that song comes to a climax in a flurry of funky riffs and impressive guitar solos, whispers begin to circulate the crowd. It’s a wonder that the identity of one of the evening’s biggest surprise guests hadn’t leaked before tonight, but there he is waiting in the wings – none other than Bray’s favourite son, Andrew Hozier-Byrne. The crowd go understandably crazy as the superstar looms out on stage and takes the mic for a high-energy and supremely funky version of ‘I Wanna Be Your Lover’. Well known for the soulful growl that marks hits of his own like ‘Take Me To Church’ and ‘From Eden’, Hozier impresses with a powerful falsetto and is clearly loving getting a chance to perform some of the Minneapolis-maestro’s music.

The House band continue to impress with versions of ‘Pop’ Life’, ‘Sign O’ The Times’ and ‘Controversy’ dispatched in quick succession – the latter particularly impressive, with backing singers Orla and Keith stepping forward to share lead vocals.

Gavin Glass announces himself as “14-stone of salty Irish cream fresh from Stillorgan”, before he turns up the style factor with a suitably sexually charged run through of 1991’s ‘Cream’. From here on out the star-turns come quick and fast, with appearances from Bell X1’s Dave Geraghty for ‘Uptown’; Steve Wall of The Stunning and The Walls for a sultry, smokey ‘Money Don’t Matter’; and Roisin O, who takes on ‘Little red Corvette’ and leads the crowd through a mass sing-a-long of ‘Nothing Compares 2 U’ – her powerful vocals on the latter impressed all in attendance, and it was the first sign that there might be some tears shed on the dance-floor tonight!

Perhaps the biggest surprise of the night was the entrance of the legendary Paul Brady, not a name that one would traditionally associate with the kind of filthy-funk favoured by His Purple-ness. Shockingly the legendary Tyrone singer-songwriter, and former Planxty member, skilfully makes a song famously written about a threesome his own, his take on ‘When You Were Mine’ sounding like something he could have released himself in the late 80s or early 90s.

There’s definitely something in the water down Wicklow-way, because in addition to Hozier one of the night’s clear highlights was Bray trio Wyvern Lingo. Bathed in blue light and crowded around a single microphone, they begin ‘When Doves Cry’ as a chilling acapella that immediately draws gasps from the audience. They follow this up with a 60s girl-group inspired version of ‘1999’ B-side ‘How Come U Don’t Call Me Anymore?’ and deservedly receive one of the biggest ovations of the night.

There are almost too many highlights to mention from a night that was a very worthy tribute to one of music’s most ambitious innovators, but we’ll do our damnedest. The show continued with a lovely, stripped down, camp-fire style sing-a-long of ‘Manic Monday’ by Bell X1; ‘Boys & Girls’ by Ireland’s own ringmaster himself, Jerry Fish; a swinging version of ‘Take Me With You’ by Paul Noonan; and Hozier’s return to the stage for ‘Raspberry Beret’.

Then it all got very emotional.

Cork singer-songwriter Brian Deady blew away all in attendance with a beautiful, spine-tingling performance of ‘Sometimes It Snows In April’, which marked him out as one to watch, for sure. His soulful voice and the perfectly sparse piano accompaniment saw more than a few eyes well up and punters sheepishly sipping from pints to ease the lumps in throats – which only got worse when the musicians left the stage and Prince’s own performance of ‘Purple Rain’ from the film of the same name was projected behind the stage. The crowd all joining together, arm in arm, to sing the “Woohoo ooh ooh” of the outro was a suitably cathartic moment for those still in mourning and a wonderful way to pay tribute by the organisers.

Luckily, The True Funk Soldiers quickly returned for an uptempo encore that again had the dancefloor heaving. Hozier was back onstage to take lead vocals on Maurice Day and The Time’s ‘Jungle Love’, clearly having a blast during one of the most outrageously fun moments of the night. And then the stage filled up, with all of the special guests and the 12 piece band clearly having the time of their lives dancing and singing along to ‘1999’.

As the man himself famously said in that song “life is just a party, and parties weren’t meant 2 last”, and sadly with that the night came to an end. All in all it was a fitting tribute to the great man, all for an extremely worthy cause and a night full of surprises and magical moments that will stay long in the memory of the Dearly Beloved in attendance.

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hozierarchive: Idolator Interview: Hozier On ‘Tarzan’ Ballad…

hozierarchive:

Idolator Interview: Hozier On ‘Tarzan’ Ballad “Better Love” & His Next Album

13th July, 2016

Hozier broke (very) big in 2014 when gut-wrenching single “Take Me To Church” exploded in the US — peaking at number 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 and selling quintuple platinum. It also nabbed a Grammy nomination for Song Of The Year. The singer/songwriter has been on the road ever since, promoting his self-titled debut albumwith near non-stop touring. He did find the time, however, to record “Better Love” for summer blockbuster The Legend Of Tarzan on a rare day off.

I recently caught up with the 26-year-old to find out more about his first new song in two years and to get an update on the progress of his sophomore LP. Hozier stands at the very beginning of the project, with only a handful of demos (and a headful of ideas) at this point. The Irishman revealed that he plans to take some time off to complete the album, but can’t see himself staying idle for too long. Catch up with the “Someone New”hitmaker below.

Was “Better Love” written specifically for the movie?
I wrote it specifically for the movie. I worked with the same producer and a lot of the same players from the first album and from the tour, but it’s new. I was eager to write because I hadn’t written any song, from beginning to end, in pretty much two years. You’re eager, you’re itchy to do something different from what you’ve been doing, but it was literally a three or four week deadline, so I kind of said, “Okay, if I could get a demo to them in five days, we’d be doing okay, but if not, I’m fucked.” It worked out in the end.

Was it hard to write something to fit someone else’s narrative?
I felt it important to bring my own self to it. I had to make sure it sounded like it was something that was coming from me and something that I would say, but the song stands on it’s own. I suppose the difference is that you’re opening yourself up to a window of influence. A very definite window of influence that is shown to you and I drew from those themes, drew from the themes, and the song is a love song.

[Read full article here]

Full text: 

Hozier broke (very) big in 2014 when gut-wrenching single “Take Me To Church” exploded in the US — peaking at number 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 and selling quintuple platinum. It also nabbed a Grammy nomination for Song Of The Year. The singer/songwriter has been on the road ever since, promoting his self-titled debut albumwith near non-stop touring. He did find the time, however, to record “Better Love” for summer blockbuster The Legend Of Tarzan on a rare day off.

I recently caught up with the 26-year-old to find out more about his first new song in two years and to get an update on the progress of his sophomore LP. Hozier stands at the very beginning of the project, with only a handful of demos (and a headful of ideas) at this point. The Irishman revealed that he plans to take some time off to complete the album, but can’t see himself staying idle for too long. Catch up with the “Someone New”hitmaker below.

Was “Better Love” written specifically for the movie?
I wrote it specifically for the movie. I worked with the same producer and a lot of the same players from the first album and from the tour, but it’s new. I was eager to write because I hadn’t written any song, from beginning to end, in pretty much two years. You’re eager, you’re itchy to do something different from what you’ve been doing, but it was literally a three or four week deadline, so I kind of said, “Okay, if I could get a demo to them in five days, we’d be doing okay, but if not, I’m fucked.” It worked out in the end.

Was it hard to write something to fit someone else’s narrative?
I felt it important to bring my own self to it. I had to make sure it sounded like it was something that was coming from me and something that I would say, but the song stands on it’s own. I suppose the difference is that you’re opening yourself up to a window of influence. A very definite window of influence that is shown to you and I drew from those themes, drew from the themes, and the song is a love song.

Did you have a particular scene from the film in mind?
No. They reached out looking for a contemporary song to round off the score. The score is written by a guy called Rupert Gregson-Williams. They indicated [the sing] would play towards the end. But you’re not really writing it with a specific scene in mind. You’re getting a feel for the film, you’re getting a feel for the themes and then you wait and see if they like it. There’s every chance they’ll turn around and say, “Look this doesn’t fit our vision.” It happens and it’s cool.

What attracted you to the film?
I think I was eager for the challenge. I was in LA at the time and it was the first time that I had nothing on the schedule. It was the first time that I ever had an opportunity to do something like this — the plate has always been so full that I’ve never been physically able to do it. I’m gonna disappear for a while and “Better Love” will be the last that people hear from me. I really want to concentrate on my next album after this.

As a very credible artist, were you hesitant about attaching yourself to a blockbuster?
Of course. I think about it in two ways. I’m a songwriter at the end of the day. I write songs. That’s what I do. At the same time, should I fear an opportunity for people to hear my song? Or fear a piece of work that I could create? This was the challenge for me and I kind of view it in those terms… but that’s a great and difficult question. Johnny Keyboard Warrior will definitely have something to say about it. But I’m a songwriter at the end of the day. Your only hope is that your work is judged for what it is when you do it, piece by piece.

You said you haven’t written a song in two years before “Better Love.” Does that mean you haven’t even started working on your second album yet?
There are ideas, there are demos. Of course, work has already started. I’m not gonna show my hand on it until I feel I’m ready to show my hand on it. It’s not like you release the album and then sit around and do nothing for two years. I’ve been touring the world. I packed a suitcase two and a half years ago and I haven’t unpacked that suitcase. I’ve been in limbo for two and a half years, promoting that album. And because it took of globally, I chased that and you need to do meaningful promotion of it. You’re doing shows all over the world, which is great… but for me it’s not terribly conducive with creativity — with a creative space that you can actually be calm and make music.

It’s always go, go, go, go, go. You’re surrounded by people and you live in their pockets. You’re on a bus with them and you see the world through the window of a bus and the window of a hotel and you see the world through the window of a venue and you’re gone again and it’s all just go, go, go, go, go. For me it’s very hard to sit down, work on a song, demo it and even think. You’re just fucking keeping your head down and getting through it. So there’s a lot of ideas and it’s fruitful because you get a lot of external influences, but it could take time before you can actually farm all of that shit out of you and hopefully have something pretty.

Is that why you’re planning to disappear for a while?

We’re not talking decades. I’m not doing a J.D. Salinger, you’ll hear from me again. [Laughs].

Will you need to get back to your normal life before getting stuck into the album?
Yeah. I’m gonna catch up with friends and family, close family members that I didn’t see a lot of over the past two years at great personal expense. It’s at great personal expense for your well-being. I think I need to look after myself in that regard and it’s giving myself that space and drawing a line in the sand. I’m not going to be sitting doing nothing. I’ll dive into arranging what I already have for the next album. And I’m gonna be on tour again. I’d go crazy if I wasn’t touring by next year.

You’ve talked about being in this bizarre bubble of promotion and touring. How do you still find “normal” things to write about?
It’s about my gold collection. It’s about all the models that I wake up next to and the bling. [Laughs].

No songs about dealing with the fame then?
I think you have to be careful about what you are drawing from. I don’t worry about it so much in that this is a myth. The myth of fame and the myth of success is cultivated because it is monetizable and it is profitable. We sell the myth of fame and the myth of success in music, we sell it in videos, but it’s fucking bollocks. It’s all nonsense. The thing is, when you think you’ve arrived at the point that you’ve been striving to get to, you fucking have to bring yourself with you. Much to my disappointment, I still am myself. I still view the world with the same eyes that I did when I did the first album.

Are you planning to work with the same people on the next album?
I think so. This is another reason I want to move to the countryside to have some quiet time. It’s how I did the first album. I demoed the songs and wrote in an attic. Not that I’m going to be doing exactly that again, but I just want to be in my own sphere of influence a tiny little bit, on my own. I might be working with the same musicians again, I won’t venture too far from that. I’m not sure about the production, how it will sound, how it will feel. I may branch out in that regard. My method hasn’t changed by virtue of the fact that it doesn’t exist.

Is there a lot of pressure to write another hit after the success of “Take Me To Church”?
There’s two way to look at it. I think it’s a success if people were moved by it and it’s a success if people enjoyed it and felt something from it that was different. It was so fucking different from the radio landscape. When I look back at it, I don’t know how the fuck I got away with it because there’s no bass guitar on that track as far as I can remember, like the vocals were recorded using a U 87 in an attic, 40 compressed, probably 40 treated so I don’t know how the fuck.. I’m sorry for cursing.

There’s also numerical success. For me, that’s all fucking great and I’m thrilled that it was something different and I would hope that it opens the door for similar singer/songwriters. I was just trying to be honest with that song. If I was trying to chase that success with similar or greater numerical success or chart success, then you enter into a field whereby if you’re writing music or creating music for the sole purpose of having high numbers, that kind of defeats the purpose of creating music.

It defeats the purpose, or at least you’re not really looking at music as an art form, what it’s potential is. All I did was trust my instinct with that song and I fucking can’t get over how lucky I was. All I can do is trust my instincts again and move forward, and trust that hopefully I can be forgiven for the amount of promotion I’ve had to do over the last two and a half years.

I’m obsessed with Ireland’s musical history. Is there anyone new we should be listening to?
There is some fantastic stuff coming out. There’s some really beautiful music being made. There’s a group called Otherkin who are a very exciting rock group. There’s a group to really look out for called Saint Sister and they’re a duo and they make fucking beautiful music, beautiful lyrics, just gorgeous lyrics. There’s another group called Wyvern Lingo, they toured with me. Are you familiar with a band called Little Green Cars? In the land of my heart, they are the sovereign kings and queens. They are song of the best songwriters I’ve ever met. Really beautiful, chest-opening music.

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