Chet Faker is dead. Long live Nick Murphy.
Last fall, Murphy, the soulful Australian singer and electronic music producer, announced that he was dropping the Faker moniker to record under his given name. With his growing popularity and stellar reputation as a live artist, the switch came off to some fans as confusing and arbitrary. Yet as Murphy made clear in the press release for his surprise new EP Missing Link, the decision was necessary for his creative evolution.
“Chet Faker was me trying to prove something to myself,” Murphy said. “But my tastes are pretty dynamic and I realized I’ve spent time resisting that. Now I want to put everything in. It’s not conceptual anymore. It’s just me, and it made sense to show that in a name. It feels like a rediscovery.”
That restlessness has always been a part of Murphy’s identity as both a producer and songwriter. Although he primarily works as a solo artist -- and with his loop pedals and multi instrumental talents, he’s dazzling all by himself -- Murphy has always been a generous collaborator. Whether hooking up with the rapper and singer GoldLink or, in the video above, dueting with Nkechi Anele for a cover of “Rock On,” Murphy isn’t afraid to share the spotlight with others.
“Drop the Game” w/ Flume
Murphy and fellow Aussie Flume have seen their careers take off congruently and the two have worked together on various singles and album cuts, as well as the collaborative 2013 EP Lockjaw. Flume commented that the record “doesn't sound particularly like Flume or specifically like, you know, a Chet Faker record it really is kinda like a hybrid of both sounds going to one” and with Murphy’s impassioned vocals and Flume’s restrained beat, the EP’s opening track “Drop the Game” bears that out.
“1998” w/ Banks
The slinky track “1998” from Chet Faker’s debut album Built on Glass was originally released as a single in 2014 but the following year, Murphy released a new version with vocals from Banks. With the addition of her sweet, sad singing voice, the song takes on a new dimension, capturing the estrangement both sides feel when going through a breakup.
“The Trouble With Us” w/ Marcus Marr
If Murphy’s collaborations with Flume spotlight the similarities between their sound (specifically, their predilection for woozy, heady melodies), his EP Work with Marcus Marr found Murphy stepping somewhat outside his comfort zone. Marr’s crisp, funky dance rock might not have seemed a natural fit for Murphy’s pained vocals but tracks like “The Trouble With Us” launches his anguished singing voice in an unexpected direction.
“No Reason” w/ Bonobo
Bonobo’s new album Migration is perfect rainy day electronic music and “No Reason” utilizes Murphy’s haunting vocals to devastating effect. The sound of both artists is rich in texture and mood, and the twosome are teaming up for a show with their fellow collaborators Marcus Marr and Innov Gnawa at Colorado’s iconic Red Rocks Amphitheatre on May 12 (click here for tickets).
“Your Time” w/ Kaytranada
Finally, we come to this collaboration with Canadian producer Kaytranada off of Murphy’s brand new EP Missing Link. As its title suggests, the new record bridges the gap between Murphy’s old moniker and his new musical identity and “Your Time” certainly feels like a shift in direction. But as his other collaborations prove, Murphy is a dexterous artist and though this track features his hallmarked vocal loops, Kaytranada's typically warm, sinuous beat is unlike anything found on the Chet Faker records of old.
With his many different skill sets and sounds, it’s impossible to predict what Murphy will do next. But as these songs show, we’re excited to find out. For more content on Nick Murphy and to get tickets to select shows, keep it here on AXS.com.