Favourite Bluesfest artist, Xavier Rudd has created roots and reggae super group United Nations, launched new album Nanna and released single Come People as a taste of what we’ve got to look forward to. Sarah McEwan chatted with Xavier ahead of Bluesfest.
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You’ve been busy working on Nanna with The United Nations. They’re a bunch of amazing artists including Gold Coaster Bobby Alu. How did it all come about?
It was almost like our Ancestors were having a cup of tea, as soon as I put it out to the universe, people just sort of appeared, it’s a really powerful gang with people from every tribe. Everyone’s got their own unique style of music.
What can we expect from Nanna that’s different from previous albums?
Well, United Nations is a reggae band, All my other records are pretty minimal and acoustically based. As this record is a big band, it’s a rootsy reggae sounding record. Bobby Alu said to me in the studio that it’s still a Xavier Rudd record, it’s still got the flavour of what I do but it’s a lot bigger sound and it’s groovy, it’s boogie time and people won’t be able to stand still.
You’re at Bluesfest again and many people are stoked. I remember seeing you a few years ago when you jumped on stage with Ben Harper and performed I Shall not Walk Alone. And then last year you performed with Nahko and the Medicine People. Are there any exciting things in the works for this year’s bluesfest?
Well I know Ben Harper is on after me at Bluesfest, and he’s playing with The Innocent Criminals and we’re with United Nations so that’s two pretty powerful bands. So yeah I’m sure there will be some type of collaboration, and this band that we have created are banging, so I think people are going to dig it. It’s going to be a big dance party, people are going to boogeying.
You’re a wildlife warrior and Sea Shepherd leader. When you started creating music did you always want to spread a positive and influential message about respecting mother nature?
My music was always based around what I loved doing, which was being in the country and in the bush with my motorbike and my dog or just being in the middle of nowhere at the beach. I spend a lot of time on my own, and I wrote a lot of songs about just how beautiful our earth is, I was doing this even before I knew I was writing songs. And as I became a popular musician, my music naturally leant itself to the environment as I began to understand I can make change.
When you write music do you fully immerse yourself in nature? Where has been the most inspiring spot you’ve experienced when writing music?
Yeah so many places, when I was young and even now I’m always outside, I always see things. I’ve been on an amazing journey travelling the world, seeing a lot of beautiful things, people, places and hugely inspired by the environment, I spend a lot of time checking out what this bird is doing or that tree, so yeah as I’m always outside that’s where my music comes from. And also surfing, I’ve written a lot of music surfing and I wrote a lot of this new album running in really powerful inspiring places in the world, you know a lot of running and surfing helps within the rhythm of the song and it helps to channel the lyrics, it’s all pretty earth based.
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Catch Xavier Rudd and the United Nations at Bluesfest, 2 – 6 April, Byron Bay.