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:: Spotlight :: Interview with Xavier Rudd

By: Angela Allan

Xavier Rudd has just released his seventh album, Dark Shades Of Blue and is looking forward to coming home to Australia to tour it this October. He had a short chat to Angela Allan. “It reminds me of home,” Xavier Rudd says, as a cockatoo is screeching in the background during the interview. “It’s nice.” It’s clear the multi-instrumentalist is missing Australia when even a boisterous cockatoo is comforting. “You know, my next-door neighbour, Shane, had cockatoo and Shane’s dad name was Bill, so he taught the cocky to say, ‘F**k off, Bill!’” Rudd laughs.

Xavier is currently touring Europe. At the moment, he’s in France. It’s 8.00am there and it’s coming to the end a slew of wake-up calls disguised as interviews. Rudd yawns and then apologises in between questions. He’s still gentle and good-natured, but lacking his usual intensity when he speaks. He is looking forward to moving into the sustainable home he’s built. Rudd and his family will move into the house when he returns for an Australian tour in October. He livens up when asked about coming home.

“It’s gonna be pretty cool,” he says. “But I still gotta do (a tour of) the US, Europe and Japan first.”

Rudd’s latest album, Dark Shades of Blue, touches on the frustrations and isolation of touring and missing home. “I got home from a lot of touring and it was such a treat to be home and recording,” he explained. “We did a winter tour in North America just before and it was cold…I think that recording has that feeling of relief to be home. I think you can hear that.”

The part-aboriginal musician still has an organic approach to songwriting and fans may notice that there’s only a year since he released his last offering, White Moth.

“It’s not something I consciously think about. My music comes when it comes and I just let it. It’s always been that way. I keep it all in my head so there’s a point when I get an overload and then it’s time to record. It’s weird because afterwards my head’s empty.”

Rudd is also working on his next album, but recently, he got to check off one of the items on his to-do list. He had the chance to play alongside his musical idol, Neil Young.

“It was mind-blowing. It was anything beyond what I could have imagined. I stood on stage with my two-year-old just watching him. It was trippy. I’ll never forget that show.”

Something Rudd credits as being most memorable recording was for the song, Guku on Dark Shades. “It’s a dedication to my wa-wa who adopted me into his clan in north-east Arnhem Land five years ago. He passed away last year. His blood brother who grew up with him came down and sang on the track.

“When I explained (to him) that he was a dedication to wa-wa, he went in and sang and he had tears in his eyes. That was one of those moments that stops time.”

Xavier Rudd’s Dark Shades Of Blue is out now through Universal.

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