Mr. Hudson Talks Isolation and Billie Eilish

Atmospheric dreamscapes, catchy pop melodies and sci-fi moodiness.

Mr. Hudson

Mathieu Cesar

Mr. Hudson recently dropped a new album, entitled When the Machine Stops, featuring Vic Mensa, Taylor Bennett, Goody Grace, Petite Noir, Josh Dean & Schae.

Hudson describes the music as "sad robot music," an exploration of isolation in a digital world, enhanced by Hudson's decision to produce and mix the album on his laptop computer.

When the Machine Stops is his first album since 2009's Straight No Chaser. Since then, he's released a series of collaborative singles: "Zombie Love," "Screwed," featuring Zoe Kravitz, "I See Love," featuring Joe Jonas. He's worked with Kanye West and on Kid Cudi's album, Kids See Ghosts.

Popdust sat down with Mr. Hudson to find out more about feeling secluded even when surrounded by people and Billie Eilish's influence on his sound.

Mr Hudson - CHICAGO feat. Vic Mensa (Official Lyric Video)

How would you describe yourself?

I'm a musician: singer, producer, writer, and, at the moment, an Englishman in L.A.

What is the most trouble you've ever gotten into?

I was once chased through the streets of Camden by the police. I didn't realize they were chasing me. I was just jogging to the studio. They thought I'd stolen a bag.

What's your favorite song to belt out in the car or the shower?

Probably "Life On Mars" by David Bowie.

Who is your favorite music artist?

David Bowie.

How did you get started in music? What's the backstory there?

I was lucky to have older brothers who were passionate about music, so it was normal for me. We had a piano and guitars in the house. My parents were very tolerant of our heavy metal experiments.

Why make music? I mean: What's the point for you?

It's been my life since I was 8. I was a small kid for my age, so sport wasn't fun. Music made me feel ten feet tall. It's the closest thing I have to a religion.

Rumor has it your new album, When the Machine Stops, was influenced by Billie Eilish's moody style. What do you find intriguing about her sound?

I just loved how quiet the vocals were to the point of claustrophobia. Quiet is the new loud, it seems. Finneas' production is silly good. I love the fact that they made the record in his room on Logic.

The new album was crafted on a laptop rather than in a glitzy studio. What motivated you to move in this direction?

It just felt more in keeping with the times. It's so much quicker, and the software is catching up with all the big expensive hardware. Plus, you can work anywhere rather than saying, "I'll do it when I get to the studio."

There's a remote, secluded savor to the songs on the album – a feeling of isolation. What induced this "lonely" mood?

I spend a lot of time alone and the record was mostly made in solitude, often with headphones on at the airport or in a hotel room. I produced it and mixed it, so I just had to lock myself away with my laptop and get it done. To be honest, the life of a musician can be isolating. Even when there are lots of people around, you're not necessarily with your people.

What's next for you, musically?

I've been working on music for others, which has been refreshing. It's been a pleasure working on new songs with John Legend, and I'm excited by a new artist called Duckwrth. Get familiar!

Will you be doing any touring?

I'll do some shows towards the end of the year. Probably quite a minimal setup. Piano, suit, good bottle of wine.

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Nearly 140 musicians have pledged to support the reproductive rights organization, including Kacey Musgraves, Nicki Minaj, John Legend, Haley Kiyoko, Miley Cyrus, Bon Iver, and Nine Inch Nails. Other luminaries on the list include The 1975, Carole King, Mitski, Maggie Rogers, Megan Thee Stallion, Kim Gordon, Halsey, Princess Nokia, Vic Mensa, Troye Sivan, and many more.

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Noticeably absent from the list is Taylor Swift, whose newly liberal persona and love of LGBTQ+ rights wasn't enough to get her to join the list. (To be fair, lots of other famous artists didn't appear, like Lana Del Rey and Cardi B, both of whom have become notoriously political). Still, in the case of something this urgent, silence is its own kind of statement.

Following the announcement of the "Band Together, Bans Off" initiative, some of the featured artists took to social media to raise awareness about the message.

Billie Eilish—whose newest album just became this year's most streamed on Spotify—said, "I'm proud to be standing up for Planned Parenthood as they fight for fair and equal access to reproductive rights. We cannot live freely and more fully in the world when our basic right to access the reproductive health care we need is under attack. Every person deserves the right to control their body, their life, and their future."

According to Planned Parenthood's website, "Musicians across the country are standing in solidarity with Planned Parenthood….they're saying access to sexual and reproductive health care is about the same type of freedom that allows them to create music and speak their truth—because no one is free unless they control their own body." It seems that, no matter what kind of music or art these musicians create, reproductive justice is something that they all can agree on.

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The campaign comes at a critical time, due to harsh new policies in states like Alabama, Arkansas, and Georgia. Right now, the ACLU is currently fighting Missouri's Unborn Act, which would prohibit abortion after the detection of a fetal heartbeat, even in cases of rape and incest. Just this week, Planned Parenthood announced its decision to abscond from Title X, meaning it will no longer be receiving federal funding. Previously, the organization was given about $60 million per year in federal funding, which enabled them to perform 1.5 million abortions for low-income people in need of reproductive care.

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Sign the Planned Parenthood petition here.