Five minutes with Nick Murray

"I prefer to write about things and events and take a lot of inspiration from Bob Dylan, Woody Guthrie, Joni Mitchell and Gillian Welch."

Nick Murray is a Sydney-based Folk-Blues 'n' Roots singer-songwriter. His songs deal with current issues surrounding social injustice and environmental damage.

Drawing from his folk roots, Nick is bringing his story-telling abilities to to Lust for Live, Saturday November 5 at the Macquarie Inn, Dubbo. Lust for Live's Clinton Hoy caught up with Nick to find out more...

[Clinton Hoy] I see you've put a bit of a tour together, what's the motivation behind that? And are these all-new places for you?

[Nick Murray] I recently released my debut EP, "Blue Fruits" and the tour is off the back of that. I've been itching to get to places outside of Sydney. All the places on my tour will be new! I'm very excited to perform for new audiences and I'm hoping that they enjoy the style of music I bring.

[CH] Congrats on the EP! It's very easy these days to record music and put it out in the big wide world - but how important is making that human connection and playing live?

[NM] It is probably a bit too easy to release music nowadays and that shows in what's being released. But at the end of the day, music is about storytelling and live music is storytelling in its purest form. Playing for other people is what I enjoy the most and it's the best way to make that connection. I also enjoy the unpredictability of live performance. Sometimes set lists change, songs played differently, unexpected things happening with the audience. All of these things fuel that human connection.

[CH] What's your favourite live experience so far?

[NM] I performed as part of RAW Sydney's event at Manning Bar last year and it was a great experience to be on a big stage in front of a couple hundred people. However, my favourite live experience was my "Blue Fruits" EP Launch earlier this year. There was a really great vibe in the venue and plenty of my friends and family were in attendance. Having people come up to you after a gig and wanting to talk about your music is one of the most rewarding things about being a musician.

Nick Murray with his band for the launch of his debut EP - Blue Fruits. Recorded 7/4/16.

[CH] Can you tell me what inspires your songs? And what your writing/recording process is?

[NM] I really draw inspiration from what I experience. What I see, hear and think really drives the songs that I write. I prefer to write about things and events and take a lot of inspiration from Bob Dylan, Woody Guthrie, Joni Mitchell and Gillian Welch. People also say, "write what you know" and while that is great advice, there are things that I think are important to write about that I may not necessarily have personally experienced. Environmentalism, social injustice, power. A lot of my songs are essentially songs about power; what it is and how it moves in the world.

My writing process is always different. Sometimes I write to see what works on paper and a melody may come along during that. Other times I'll be playing something on the guitar/piano and the words will gradually come that way. I find it easier to write with the music already in my mind.

[CH] Do you have a favourite song from your EP? Can you tell us a bit about the origins behind the song?

[NM] It's very hard to choose a favourite but I am very happy with how Devil's Playground turned out on the album. I had my cousin, Jess Randall, play violin on the track and she was absolutely incredible. The song is a typical dark blues progression and the words are equally as dark. It came from thinking about people who feel like they are at their end. Who can't cope with this world or the cards they've been dealt. And a lot of that has to do with the power structures that control people's lives. There's an emotive vocal section at the back end of the song and that's one of my favourite things to sing.

[CH] One more question for you - what's the best part about playing to new audiences?

[NM] I think it's purely having that chance to connect with new people, to share my story. It's great seeing how audiences respond to my music and it's interesting to see how individual people respond differently. I'm hoping to continue playing for new people in a whole heap of new places. Maybe someone will hear something that makes them think something or helps them get through something they're dealing with. That's always nice.