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Interview: Hudson Taylor on their family stake in marriage equality

By Aaron Tamazou

When we gave Harry – one-half of Irish brotherly folk duo Hudson Taylor – a call to talk about the run of festivals they’d be doing this summer, we were overjoyed to discover how politicised he and his brother had become concerning the LGBT cause in Ireland.

Our chat quickly went from campsite to campaign, as Harry took the opportunity of speaking to Attitude to get the word out about voting ‘Yes’ on May 22nd when the world’s first Gay Marriage Referendum descends on the Republic of Ireland. The family-oriented boys feel strongly about this for the sake of their lesbian sister and her right to marry her partner, and every other gay couple who wish to tie the knot in the Emerald Isle. Read Harry Hudson-Taylor’s heart-felt, determined and just plain lovely words below.


Was it a natural thing for you to start making music with your brother?

Absolutely man, yeah. When we were kids our mum and dad would get us to perform – “Go on Harry, do us a song” – at every family party and family get-together. It was that environment that kind of just made us confident performers and confident in getting into music. It was something we were kind of pushed towards. If we were singing Happy Birthday to you now, for example, we’d naturally do harmonies. Alfie’s probably got a stronger voice, he tends to do the main melodies, but about 95% of the time we’re singing in harmony. I’ll be singing just as loud as him but I have a slightly quieter voice.

Who inspires you as musicians?

Lots of people. Talking to Attitude magazine, I don’t know if you already know this, but in Ireland they’re having a referendum in May which is something that’s quite a big thing for me and my brother, because our older sister Chelsea and her partner Emma are lesbians, and some of our closest friends and a lot of people I know who really inspire us are gay. Something like that is something that really inspires me and Alfie. We’ve been to loads of Pride marches and there are songs on our album that are directly inspired by stuff like the struggle in Ireland if you’re gay.

It feels like there’s a lot of politically fuelled music in Ireland of late. Do you think there’s a movement in Ireland at the moment in terms of getting that out there in music and the media?

I would hope so. I think certain parts of Ireland like Dublin is a lot more of a liberal, metropolitan capital city. It’s like London in a way, with slightly less diversity. I’d say in the countryside in Ireland; I went to boarding school in the countryside and I’d say the level of people wanting to understand differences and LGBT rights and all that kind of stuff is rising. Take Me to Church by Hozier is an unreal song but yeah, it’s quite a clear political stand on Ireland and how still some people are wholly influenced by the Catholic Church.

How do you think attitudes have changed since you were growing up?

Sorry man, I got confused there because you said attitude and I thought you meant Attitude, your magazine: What’s the main way Attitude has changed! [laughs] Well Issue 530 was one of my favourites… [laughs]. The attitude is swinging and I’m so gunning for this vote in Ireland to be a yes, and I didn’t mean for this interview to swing in this direction so much in this way, but you know, you don’t get to speak to Attitude magazine every day, so I might as well bring it home and tell you that me and Alfie are massive supporters of everything you do and the gay movement, you know? It’s cool to get to talk about it. In Ireland the attitude is swinging. The polls are all saying it’s going to be a yes vote, but you know, young people have to vote and it’s a hard thing to get to happen. We can’t actually vote in it because we don’t have citizenship anymore, we live in London, which is very annoying. We basically just want to get as many people to vote on our behalf as possible.


That’s very admirable of you. What was the first music festival you went to?

The first one I went to was Oxygen festival in Ireland. It’s not going anymore but it was, at the time, a huge festival. The first year I went I saw Kings of Leon and Eminem, it was a great mismatch of stuff. Obviously since we’ve lived in the UK we’ve managed to play at loads of the big festivals and we feel so privileged. Festivals like Glastonbury, Reading, Leeds, all the ones you hear about in Ireland on TV.

What’s a must-have item to take to festivals with you?

Well it’s obvious: Wellies. Although, if you’re going to do wellies, make sure you’ve got long socks. If you’re walking around festivals in shorts, wellies and no socks, you don’t realise but you rub all the hair off your legs. You get that friction rub. I woke up one morning and thought someone had jokingly shaved my legs.

What’s your best ever festival experience?

That’s gotta be when we played at Glastonbury last year. It was unreal. Regardless of anything it was always going to be good. Last year there was that big electrical storm too. Rudimental were on the pyramid stage and meanwhile, little Hudson Taylor were over in the Avalon stage. Basically, because of this electrical storm every single stage had to shut down and what we did was, we just said ‘we’re going to make the most of this’ and harking back to our busking days we thought we’d just do it with no microphones. So we just hopped down to the middle of the crowd and played a few songs while we were waiting for the storm to pass over. And then it did and we still got to do a song at the end!

What about your worst festival experience?

Hmmm, I generally have a pretty good buzz at a festival. It wouldn’t be anything that bad. Any time it rains and you’re not wearing the right clothes, that’s a bummer. But at the same time, sometimes it rains and you just embrace it, and you dance around like a mad lad. I’ll be honest with you, I don’t ever really have a bad time at festivals.
Which are you looking forward to playing most this year?
We’re playing a good few; with more announcements to come I’m sure. We’re playing Benicassim in Spain which is exciting, and there are a few little ones in London here and there.

What’s your experience of Pride marches?

Well I’ve only been to pride marches in Dublin, and I was in Los Angeles when it was pride day, that was cool. The one in Dublin and the one I went to two years ago I was busking with a guitar on my back and a big pride flag. It’s great fun and even two years ago there was very much a focus on passing this referendum, so I think people are extra driven this time around to get people to go out to Pride.

What’s next for Hudson Taylor?

Well the album’s obviously out now, which is unbelievable for us – that’s that done, so the next thing for us is loads of touring and promoting the album and starting to write a new one. It’s funny saying that, we’ve only just got this one out, but we’ve had it done for such a long time and it’s already been out in Ireland, so we’re excited to get going. There’s one song I was talking about on our album, this piece you put out will probably have word about one of our singles plugged on at the end but if you wouldn’t mind, we’d like to dedicate our song Don’t Tell Me to the LGBT community, and if you want to put that in the piece that’d be amazing. It’s directly inspired by pride and not telling anyone they can’t be who they are.

You heard the lad, Hudson Taylor dedicate their song Don’t Tell Me to the LGBT community and it’s on their fantastic debut album Singing For Strangers, out now.