Chet Faker took everyone by surprise. Including Nick Murphy.
‚ÄúIt was always meant to be a temporary project,‚Äù says Murphy of his musical moniker. ‚ÄúBut so much has changed. And I moved through some things. To the point where I finally realised, Holy shit this isn‚Äôt temporary. This is not the be all and end all of what I want to do.‚Äù
At 28 Murphy has done a lot. Emerging in 2012 with the Thinking in Textures EP, Murphy took Chet Faker international with the release of his self-produced 2014 debut LP, Built on Glass.
As Chet Faker, Murphy has performed sold out shows on five continents, and appeared at the likes of Coachella, Lollapalooza, Glastonbury, and Primavera. He performed on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Boiler Room, and Jimmy Kimmel Live!, and Built on Glass won Murphy five ARIAs, including Best Male Artist and Producer of the Year. His tracks have been streamed in the tens of millions.
So why put that recognition in jeopardy?
‚ÄúChet Faker was me trying to prove something to myself,‚Äù says Murphy. ‚ÄúBut my tastes are pretty dynamic and I realised I‚Äôve spent time resisting that. Now I want put everything in. It‚Äôs not conceptual anymore. It‚Äôs just me, and it made sense to show that in a name. It feels like a rediscovery.‚Äù
That feeling brings Murphy full-circle. Thinking in Textures came easily ‚Äì something he conjured between study and work commitments. But making Built on Glass was difficult. ‚ÄúEverything had to be finished to perfection,‚Äù he says. ‚ÄúI recorded it alone. I was so meticulous. I think now I was punishing myself just to see if I could do it.‚Äù
Its success, creatively and commercially, proved he could. In early 2015 Murphy moved to New York and began stockpiling new ideas. By early 2016 he‚Äôd sketched out the beginnings of a second Chet Faker album, and flew to Rick Rubin‚Äôs Shangri La studios in Malibu to begin work. Then, a hitch.
‚ÄúI remember having this ‚Äòah-ha‚Äô moment,‚Äù says Murphy. ‚ÄúI was in Shangri La. I could do whatever I wanted. And I thought, ‚ÄòOK. Well, I‚Äôve ‚Äòmade it.‚Äô But how do I feel about the music? I didn‚Äôt like it. I wasn‚Äôt getting anything from it. And I think that‚Äôs where all this stemmed from.‚Äù
Murphy returned to New York emboldened. He sought new dialogues with friends, most notably guitarist and producer, Dave Harrington (Darkside). The explorations he‚Äôd left behind when establishing Chet Faker returned as fresh creative avenues. By the time he released the brooding ‚ÄòFear Less‚Äô, under his own name, followed by ‚ÄòStop Me‚Äô in mid-2016, he knew everything was different.
‚ÄúThis huge wave came out,‚Äù says Murphy. ‚ÄúAnd I broadened the framework. Instead of having to make finished tracks, I could just explore. That felt like the missing link between where I was and where I‚Äôm going now.‚Äù
The Missing Link EP is a snapshot of that wave in motion. Opener ‚ÄòYour Time‚Äô, bears traces of Murphy‚Äôs previous incarnation, but the central motif of ‚ÄòBye‚Äô is voice-less distortion. ‚ÄòI Am Ready‚Äô embraces opposing movements; ‚ÄòForget About Me‚Äô is a grand, escalating ‚Äúpurge‚Äù unlike anything Murphy‚Äôs done. Closer, ‚ÄòWeak Education‚Äô is a personal callback ‚Äì¬† a reminder to have fun. It‚Äôs the sound of Murphy exhaling.
‚ÄúI haven‚Äôt been this excited since I started,‚Äù says Murphy. ‚ÄúI‚Äôm so happy to be doing what I‚Äôm doing right now. I‚Äôve knocked down some big walls. It‚Äôs going to help me out for a long time. So many ideas have been flowing since that switch. Since I let go.‚Äù