Celebrating Success: Exclusive Interview with Alfie Hudson-Taylor and Fionnán Barrett from ‘How To Break An Artist’ Podcast

On the evening of Tuesday, April 30th, at London’s charming venue, The Social, the Never Fade Records session showcased an abundance of talent. Throughout the night, attendees were treated to performances by artists such as Imo, Hedara, Finscéalta, Sunflower Thieves, and Alfie Hudson-Taylor. The intimate atmosphere of the venue enhanced the experience, creating a truly wholesome and memorable night for all involved.

Prior to the live performances commencing, I was fortunate enough to sit down with the co-hosts of the previously reviewed podcast How To Break An ArtistAlfie Hudson-Taylor and Fionnán Barrett, also known as Finscéalta – to discuss season three of the podcast, their individual solo careers, and more

Firstly, I just wanted to say thank you for sitting down with me today and I guess a good place to start would be by asking how you’re feeling about tonight? 

Fionnán: “Good (laughs) I’m feeling really good!” 

Alfie: “I’m feeling great, really excited to be playing the Never Fade’s session as Alfie Hudson-Taylor the solo artist. My band played a number of times, then I was at the Christmas session on my own so to be back here feels good!”

I know in the intro episode of How To Break An Artist, Alfie you mentioned you worked in a cafe. Is that how you two met?

Alfie: “There was this cool cafe in Brighton called the Coffee Counter, it’s gone now sadly. It was the first cafe I went to and felt at home in Brighton when I moved there so I was in making a coffee one morning and I see this fella come along and I was like “ok he’s Irish because, look at him” (laughs) and then he starts talking to me and I’m like alright, this is the first person who recognises me for my music because the cafe life wasn’t like I’m Alfie from Hudson Taylor. Fionnán was the first person who came up and said I like your music.

Fionnán: “I didn’t have anywhere to go because college was closed due to Covid and I’d just kind of go there to get out of the house. I went there and I was writing Therapy at the time and I asked Alfie for advice.

Fionnán, you’re a director as well as a musician and you directed Alfie’s latest video Plastic Song. Are there any stories you can share from that day and/or about the process?

Fionnán: “It was really fun. I did one video before which is my own (Therapy) but that was like 6 months of my own time. Alfie trusted me and I just gave him a vision and he was like cool, which was lovely because that doesn’t always happen. He smashed the performance, we did two very different takes in the same day and we used the final shot and went with the second one.”

Alfie: “It was all down to this man. You were a dream to work with and now I’m making him go as red as a tomato (laughs). It was a really, really fun day and an incredible vision from Fionnán. It was cool to see that side of him.”

Speaking of your friendship and connection, would you ever write a song together?

Alfie: “We have thought about it. We’ve been talking about it and it’s definitely going to happen.”

Fionnán: “I just recorded my EP recently and that’s half a decades worth of songwriting for me so to get that done, I feel like now I’d be up for writing with people. Having that to show that this is what I’ve done myself. Before that it felt daunting because I didn’t know myself what my sound was or anything so now the record’s done, I’d love to.

This question is for Fionnán regarding your latest single release Fall For You, is there anything you can share about the track?

Fionnán: “It’s my oldest song. I wrote it when I was 19 and then I changed the verses for two or three year after that. I’m just excited to put it out. I feel like being in London and releasing a song and playing a gig feels very full circle for me. When I was 19 I’d just kind of dream of these things so it feels really good for me to be putting the track out.”

Alfie, your debut came out in March, closesly followed by the second release of Plastic Song. Do you have any particular highlights regarding the releases as a newly solo artist?

Alfie: “It still doesn’t feel normal. It’s been crazy to see my own name and my own songs out in the world. I’m still processing that after so long of being in a band, so yeah it’s been really cool to experience that. The songs with the recordings, that’s really a stand out moment for me because it was all done all in one live take in the studio. Being In Love and Plastic Song was 8 and a half minutes of live recording and then we chopped them up into two songs but they’re both delivered as one as well. That was a really fun experience and a very challenging thing for me to do as a musician after not playing music for a couple of years but it was really fun. And just how it all feels now with the podcast and that extra layer of chat really.”

This question was inspired from listening to How To Break An Artist actually. Mental health is a very prominent thing, maybe even now more than ever. Are you able to share with readers what you may have found that helps you with your mental health?

Fionnán: “Somewhere that’s peaceful that’s out in the sticks. My dogs, two border collies, they’ve been particularly good.

Alfie: “I’d have to agree, yeah. Being in nature with an animal. Dog, cat, whatever. They just give you a bit of comfort and make you feel very present. I’d also say just try and be honest and open with the people that you trust. Talking about it really helps.”

Lastly, what does the future hold for you both? There will be a season three, right?

Alfie: “We’ve already bagged one episode in the can, as they say. “

Fionnán: “I’ll have an EP out after the summer and they’ll be another new song out pretty soon too.

Alfie: “And for me, I’m writing songs all the time. I’d like to work with other artists in the upcoming months on the podcast and it’s just really nice to have it there. I can spend a bit of time thinking about it and where I want to go with it. I’ve been loving doing the podcast.”