Meet the artists - Nick J.D. Hodgson

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As part of our build up to Live at Leeds 2018 we’re sitting down with some artists from the line-up to grill them on what makes them buzz…first up is the notable Nick J.D. Hodgson, formerly founder member and chief writer in Kaiser Chiefs and now releasing solo material after a break that saw him co-writing with artists like Mark Ronson and Rat Boy.

Check out Nick’s first single ‘Suitable’ below:

Live at Leeds is your first festival under the new project, after all the shows and festivals you’ve done do you still get nervous before gigs?

Yes and no. I spent a couple of months being nervous for the first two shows in December but then i was fine just before walking on. I had no plans to play live until i got a text from Ross from The Cribs asking if I’d support them. That was in October and i didn’t have a band or any stage clothes so I was nervous.


It’s taken a little while for you to come out with a solo record, what drove you to do it after the break from the limelight?

I always refused to even entertain the idea. I’d convinced myself I’d got all that out of my system but I clearly haven’t! Ultimately it just comes down to the desire to express yourself and to be a musician. I’ve spent all my life writing songs for others to sing and in about March last year I was just struck by something I found myself singing that felt like I should sing it. It was a eureka moment.


What were your influences for the new record?  There’s quite a 70’s / ELO feel to the production, was that a conscious thing?

Most of the instruments I own are from the 70s so it just happened like that. I’ve heard Noel Gallagher say that instruments, or maybe just guitars have souls and I think that too in a way. I’ve often been in guitar shops, picked up some vintage guitar and played something I’ve never thought of before in a different mood to anything I’d normally play. Unfortunately I have to buy it at that point cos it might be the next magic guitar with all the answers.

I also love Tame Impala and so I wanted to be in that corner of the room when it came to the drum sound and the bass sound. That also leads you down a 70s path.

ELO definitely influenced the vocal harmonies, I’ve always been into stacking up the voices cos it sounds lush. There’s some 10CC in there too.


Will you be checking out the other bands at Live at Leeds, and who are you most looking forward to on the line-up?

Yes, Anteros cos they’re my friends and I’ve worked with them a few times in the studio. I’d like to see Pale Waves too to see what the fuss is about.


What’s your favourite Leeds venue (dead or alive) ?

The Cockpit was amazing because I did a lot of growing up in there. I can remember the first time I walked into Brighton Beach and I knew this was the place for me.


You’ve been involved in the Leeds music scene for years now, what’s the weirdest thing to happen to you at a Leeds venue?

I met Liv Tyler at Joseph’s Well, that was weird.


What’s your perfect festival line-up (other than Live at Leeds 2018 and assuming you’re already on it…)?

If it’s any band dead or alive, I’d love to see Queen with Freddie headlining Leeds festival. I’d also like to see a reformed Oasis. Nirvana would be good and The Strokes. Plus Amy Winehouse, Madonna, Bowie, The Beatles and Slade.


Follow Nick on his Facebook at:

Sam Robson