Most of us first heard the name Chet Faker when he was mentioned in the same sentence as the 2013 ARIA show-stealer, Australian electronic artist Flume. Now it is Faker’s turn to shine in his own right, with no less than nine (yep, nine) 2014 ARIA nominations and the 2014 ARIA Producer Of The Year already under his belt. All this from beautifully bearded Melbourne musician Nick Murphy (stage name Chet Faker), who decided to write, record and produce his own full-length release – the critically acclaimed Built On Glass. So, why the hype? Glad you asked. Here are as many reasons as Chet Faker has ARIA nominations (which is a whopping nine, for those of you who didn’t keep up…):
Number One: He’s got soul. Contrary to his nom de plume (actually a reference to the legendary Chet Baker, who Murphy admires), Murphy is anything but fraudulent. In a world of self-indulgent electro-indie-look-I-can-experiment-the-sh-t-out-of-music, Chet Faker’s vocal abilities, sincere lyrics and understated compositions stand out as an example of true artistry, minus the bull—-. This stuff comes from somewhere deep.
Number Two: Electro soul is really a thing. That works. Not usually bedmates in the music world, these two genres come together with surprising harmony – slow handclaps, chilled vocals, woozy electronica. Making intimate music with electronic instruments is no mean feat, but Chet Faker has it down.
Number Three: That voice. Murphy’s work is a cool blend of drifting ambience, meditative beats and disorienting electronica, but through it all he casts a surprisingly warm and soulful lifeline – his voice. You may feel, at times, as if you’re floating in an unfamiliar place, but the gentle croon that issues from Murphy’s throat ensures you’ll never feel abandoned.
Number Four: He’s new around here. Sort of. Don’t be fooled by the recent spate of hype: Murphy’s been at this gig for years now. But 2014 has been his year and breakthrough artists are rewarded at the ARIAs – as they should be, it’s a tough world out there. Murphy’s steady climb to widespread popularity this year has earned him a well-deserved spot in the Best Breakthrough Artist category.
Number Five: Flume + Faker = dance time. When these two make music together, good things happen. Fuzzing synth whines eerily through lazy dance beats and life quickly becomes a hipster dance party. No one can be too cool to groove to these beats. Seriously. Cue nomination for Best Dance Release.
Number Six: His live shows deliver. Done right, electronic music performance can be the most riveting live show you will ever see. Done wrong, it’s just a dude with a laptop, trying to reproduce what he did in the studio. Drawing huge crowds to his live shows and rave reviews from the critics, Murphy has proved himself a talented performer with a gift for reaching his audience.
Number Seven: He has a solid team. As any gracious musician recognises, album production is a team process, whether you’re a solo artist or not. Both the cover art and engineering of Built On Glass are up for ARIA noms – and though the awards may be credited to Chet Faker as an artist, it is worth remembering the names behind the names.
Number Eight: He does things himself. Already awarded the 2014 ARIA Producer Of The Year, Chet Faker is also up for Best Independent Release. Built On Glass was mostly recorded in Murphy’s home studio, and apart from the guitar solo on “Dead Body” he performed all the music on the album himself. Coz you know, if you want something done properly…
Number Nine: That beard. Okay, I’m joking, but you’ve got to respect a man who wears his hipster street-cred on his face. And damn, does he do it well.