Unless you’ve been lost in the outback for the past year, you couldn’t have failed to notice the rise and rise of Chet Faker. Renowned for his facial hair almost as much as for his honey-dipped vocals and tightly wound piano hooks, 24-year-old Nick Murphy has spearheaded Melbourne’s current soul-tinged music scene. Now, ahead of a debut-album release and a worldwide tour, things are about to go global.
First realising he had a knack for singing at a concert for a visiting girls’ school (“It was always about the girls”), Murphy says he only got into music after putting aside an addiction to computer games. “I was always fully engrossed in whatever I did,” he says. “But until the age of 15 it was video games. It’s the story of my life – finding things I like and then learning I shouldn't be doing them.”
Luckily, his songwriting progressed regardless and served as an outlet for his teenage angst. “I don’t remember those years all that well – I partied too hard,” he says. “But writing songs was an easy way to talk about personal issues and to be heard.”
His debut album Built On Glass follows hot on the heels of his acclaimed Thinking in Textures EP, released last year. Yet Murphy – who studied audio engineering after considering the odds of making it as a musician “pretty slim” – says producing it wasn’t all that easy. “I have a super-liquid creative process but sometimes it feels like cement,” he says. “But I guess it wouldn't be creative if you knew what you were doing the whole time.”
In addition to releasing his own material, Murphy has recorded with a raft of other musicians. 2012’s slow-burn floor-filler Drop The Game, a collaboration with Flume, got global airplay. “I always see it as an exciting opportunity to sing on something you like,” says Murphy about collaborations. “Plus, you get to see how people work and learn a new tip or trick to add to your weaponry.”
Murphy’s arsenal boosts what he thinks is an Australian music scene flying high on the world stage. “There’s something bubbling – it’s a good time for Australia right now,” he says. “It’s a snowball effect… If people are talking about your country having a sound or a vibe, you might be more likely to put something out there.”
Built On Glass is out on April 11, 2014.