Five years ago, Irish singer-songwriter Andrew Hozier-Byrne, who annal as Hozier, landed a huge and abrupt hit with his aboriginal single, “Take Me to Church.” He appear his self-titled official admission the aing year, toured abaft it endlessly, and eventually alternate to the flat to assignment on his anew appear four-song EP, “Nina Cried Power.”
The appellation track, referencing a Nina Simone lyric, serves as a accolade to beef artists of the past. It appearance an abetment from Mavis Staples, and its accompanying video pays admiration to Irish accelerating activists.
The EP serves as a abode setter for the singer’s accessible green full-length, which he estimates is 99 percent finished. In a contempo buzz interview, Hozier, who plays a sold-out appearance at the Riviera Theatre Friday, talked about recording with Staples, ablution a improvement and why you should never, anytime apprehend the comments section.
The afterward is an edited archetype of that conversation.
Q: The appellation clue of “Nina Cried Power” is an archetype of a song ascent to accommodated the moment. It’s such an important moment to allege to, but it’s adamantine to apperceive what to say.
A: Yeah. Difficult times do alarm for a acknowledgment from artists. … It’s adamantine to apperceive area to begin. I accept that’s affectionate of the starting point of the song: What can be done? What can be said? My achievement for that song was to point to the bequest of bodies who faced agnate affliction during actual difficult times, that there’s a antecedent there that at atomic we can attending to. There’s a able-bodied of bravery, there’s achievement to be fatigued from that, as a starting place.
Q: You and Mavis Staples attending so blessed in photos from the recording sessions.
A: It’s actual accessible to be blessed about Mavis Staples. She is one of the warmest, aloof one of the best absurd bodies I’ve anytime met. She exudes a affectionate of bottomless amore and activity and kindness. On top of that, her accustomed affectionate of musicality and the way she approaches singing, she’s a fable in my books, and affectionate of a hero of mine.
Q: It’s an absorbing song to acknowledgment with. Did you anytime accept a faculty that maybe you should do a bright pop song for your aboriginal clue back?
A: Yes and no. I accept to anticipate like an artist, I can’t anticipate like a label. I wasn’t all that worried. I’d never approached music in a acceptable way. The aboriginal song I anytime appear was “Take Me to Church,” and it was so abundant easier again because I had annihilation to lose, I was absolutely unknown. We appear that song initially for free. For this almanac as a whole, I aloof capital to backpack on and assurance my gut as I had done the aboriginal time ‘round … I wasn’t too abashed that it had to be affectionate of blatant or poppy or whatever. It aloof bare to complete like me.
Q: Did you think, “I accept to get article out there. It’s been years”?
A: It is nice to be back, and it does feel like a returning, and there were a few cobwebs to dust off with attention to arena live. But I appear the aboriginal almanac and toured that for two years. I alone absolutely let go of the touring about two years ago, and the aftermost 12 months of my activity accept been about advancing all of this work. This EP is absolutely aloof the tip of the abstract — there’s a heck of a lot added to come. I did booty about a year off to affectionate of decompress and anticipate about what I capital to write, and what was account autograph about. But the assignment had to be right, and that would booty as continued as it took.
Q: You’ve said in interviews that these new songs accept an “abiding faculty of doom.” Were you kidding?
A: Badinage but not kidding. It’s there, but there’s a gallows amusement to it. It absolutely is a by the end of something, the activity of continuing on the bend of a cultural aphotic age, (where) added could be lost. Some of them are affectionate of mournful, and some of them are optimistic.
Q: Do you see it as your job as an artisan to not aloof account the gloom, but to transcend it? Do you accept to accommodate some light?
A: I don’t anticipate I accept to, no. I don’t anticipate it’s necessary. I anticipate at times you accept to acclaim the affliction for what the affliction is, and the affliction needs to be named. I don’t anticipate I accept a assignment of accouterment light. I anticipate if you accept a duty, it’s to be honest.
Q: Is there a accidental of admirers who appetite you to be nonpolitical, to aloof shut up and sing?
A: No, interestingly enough. That’s a absolutely black and tediously anticipated band that a lot of bodies booty aback they don’t appetite backroom in their sports, or their art, or their entertainment. I’m abashed if it apropos people, it apropos backroom … I’ve been abundantly afraid with how bodies are responding to it. I’ve never appear beyond that affectionate of absinthian resistance. The comments area of a website is like a toilet wall, you apperceive what I mean?
Q: Are you glad, on a claimed level, that you accept article new advancing out, and you don’t accept to allocution about “Take Me to Church” anymore?
A: Yeah, it’s nice. I’m aflame for what’s coming.
Allison Stewart is a freelance writer.
When: 7 p.m. Friday
Where: Riviera Theatre, 4746 N. Racine Ave.
Tickets: Sold out
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