Interviews

Chatting with Hozier About "Take Me to Church" + Tour Dates (Interview)

If you aren't familiar with Hozier, listen to "Take Me to Church" now because his tour is already selling out and he just released his first self-titled album ahead of his Saturday Night Live debut.

Andrew Hozier-Byrne may hail from Ireland but his music owes a large debt to fifties blues and gospel from the United States. If you aren't already familiar with his music, it would be a good idea to get a head start now because a lot more people will be aware of him after he performs on Saturday Night Live this weekend. For the young artist, this is surely a huge milestone and a very memorable cap to the week during which he released his self-titled debut. In the past year, the 24-year old singer-songwriter had released two EPs, From Eden and Take Me to Church, the latter of which contains the slow-burning title track that helped him break through. Ahead of his performance at this past summer's Newport Folk Festival, Hozier chatted briefly with us about "Take Me to Church" and its controversial music video.

+++

Did you anticipate "Take me to Church" being as big of a hit as it has become?

No. When I first released it in Ireland, it was like the first group of songs that I recorded in my attic. And that I co-produced with Rob [Kirwan]. They were demoed in my attic. The vocals were all recorded in my attic, it was like the first project that I recorded myself. So no. I certainly didn't see it ending up here. It’s been an insane year, so really it has happened very, very fast.

Would you say the song is a bit anti-religion?

I wouldn’t say it’s… Well you could bring it that way. The objection of it is not anti-religion. But its certainly tongue-in-cheek attack against the Catholic Church. But also on a larger extent, just all organizations -- they always will exist -- that undermine humanity.

Have you faced any backlash from any critics or anyone in Ireland?

None that will I would consider worthy of the attention. You know, like the toilet wall of a Youtube comments section possibly. People spark a lot of debate there. But even so. You know thankfully I don't think it should be controversial, you know, a human right is a human right. So not a huge amount, thankfully, not yet. So the worst is yet to come.

The video was sort of about the Russian LGBT community. Do you feel as if you are trying to reach out to them actively?

Oh yeah. The video is very purposefully set to that. I didn't want the video to reflect the church as such. I didn't want to be so on-the-nose about it. It’s about just a different organization. Somewhere else in the world where the same thing is happening. Albeit in a more violent and... [with] a fairly bare-faced, a lot more bare-face, hatred. I have been following what was going on and conditions and stuff. I think Allout.org had words sharing information about the laws in Russia. So, that’s why we’re based on that.

Do you find yourself actively supporting any other causes?

I do. Oh yea. I have very strong feelings about a lot of things. I am sometimes reluctant to come straight to the forefront with it. You know first and foremost I'm a musician. I'm a songwriter. I don't want to confuse people. Like if I was writing songs just with my agenda. I think I would rather write songs that just reflect today naturally. Like just reflect life right now, and I would be wary of putting in a very deliberate pushing agenda in music. I think it's for people to reflect upon. But certainly my opinions will bleed through that.

What are your thoughts on the environment given that we are at Newport [an environmental festival to some extent] now?

Mostly very depressed ones. I think it’s incredibly frustrating and aggravating for anyone. Not even just [the] environment but just, you know, seemingly watching the world burn and having very little power to stop it. I’m very happy to do Newport festival. [It's] a big deal to me. Just all my influences, all played Newport from the Fifties onwards.

When was your first visit, as an artist, to the US?

Last year, yeah. We first stopped in New York, and it was also my first visit to America, full stop. I had never been to America. We did some stuff in NY. Some radio, little bits and pieces. People were very supportive. We played the show. I think the first, in The Slipper Room in New York. That felt good and the crowd were amazing.

+++

Hozier has already sold out many tour dates for this year and his early 2015 stretch, some of which are with native-Icelander Ásgeir. When I mentioned Ásgeir had gone to see him at Bowery Ballroom (from what I could tell on social media), and suggested that touring together would make sense, Hozier responded enthusiastically, "OH REALLY? Oh wow yeah, I think we are label mates. He’s a fantastic artist. I keep missing him." Hopefully you won't miss either of them as they are both currently touring the United States.

2014 Hozier US Tour Dates:

Sep 29 Nashville, TN Exit In

Sep 30 Nashville, TN Exit In

Oct 1 Atlanta, GA Variety Playhouse

Oct 3 Austin, TX Austin City Limits Festival

Oct 4 Dallas, TX The Kessler

Oct 5 Houston, TX Warehouse Live

Oct 12 Álvaro Obregón, MX Corona Capital Festival

Oct 16 Los Angeles, CA The Cathedral Sanctuary at Immanuel Presbyterian Church

Oct 17 San Francisco, CA Regency Ballroom

Oct 19 Portland, OR Wonder Ballroom

Oct 20 Vancouver, BC Commodore Ballroom

Oct 21 Seattle, WA The Showbox

Oct 24 Boulder, CO Fox Theatre

Oct 26 Chicago, IL Metro

Oct 28 Toronto, ON Phoenix Concert Theatre

Oct 29 Montreal, QC Virgin Mobile Corona Theatre

Oct 31 Boston, MA Paradise Rock Club

Nov 1 Philadelphia, PA The Trocadero Theatre

Nov 4 Washington, DC 9:30 Club

Nov 5 New York, NY Irving Plaza

Nov 6 New York, NY Irving Plaza

2015 Hozier US Tour Dates (includes some shows with Ásgeir:

Feb 5 San Diego, CA North Park Theatre

Feb 6 Los Angeles, CA Fonda

Feb 10 Oakland, CA Fox Theater

Feb 11 Sacramento, CA Ace of Spades

Feb 13 Portland, OR Crystal Ballroom

Feb 14 Seattle, WA Paramount Theatre

Feb 15 Vancouver, BC Orpheum Theatre

Feb 17 Salt Lake City, UT The Depot

Feb 18 Denver, CO Ogden Theatre

Feb 20 Minneapolis, MN First Avenue

Feb 21 Milwaukee, WI Pabst Theater

Feb 23 Lawrence, KS Liberty Hall

Feb 24 Saint Louis, MO The Pageant

Feb 25 Chicago, IL Riviera Theater

Feb 27 Columbus, OH Newport Music Hall

Feb 28 Royal Oak, MI Royal Oak Music Theatre

March 2 Toronto, ON Sound Academy

March 3 Montreal, QC Massey Hall

March 4 Boston, MA House of Blues

March 6 New York, NY Beacon Theatre

March 7 Philadelphia, PA Electric Factory

March 9 Washington, DC Lincoln Theatre

March 12 Charlotte, NC The Fillmore Charlotte

March 13 Atlanta, GA Tabernacle

March 14 Nashville, TN Ryman Auditorium

Music


Books


Film


Recent
Music

Run the Jewels - "Ooh LA LA" (Singles Going Steady)

Run the Jewels' "Ooh LA LA" may hit with old-school hip-hop swagger, but it also frustratingly affirms misogynistic bro-culture.

Books

New Translation of Balzac's 'Lost Illusions' Captivates

More than just a tale of one man's fall, Balzac's Lost Illusions charts how literature becomes another commodity in a system that demands backroom deals, moral compromise, and connections.

Music

Protomartyr - "Processed by the Boys" (Singles Going Steady)

Protomartyr's "Processed By the Boys" is a gripping spin on reality as we know it, and here, the revolution is being televised.

Music

Go-Go's Bassist Kathy Valentine Is on the "Write" Track After a Rock-Hard Life

The '80s were a wild and crazy time also filled with troubles, heartbreak and disappointment for Go-Go's bass player-guitarist Kathy Valentine, who covers many of those moments in her intriguing dual project that she discusses in this freewheeling interview.

Music

New Brain Trajectory: An Interview With Lee Ranaldo and Raül Refree

Two guitarists, Lee Ranaldo and Raül Refree make an album largely absent of guitar playing and enter into a bold new phase of their careers. "We want to take this wherever we can and be free of genre restraints," says Lee Ranaldo.

Books

'Trans Power' Is a Celebration of Radical Power and Beauty

Juno Roche's Trans Power discusses trans identity not as a passageway between one of two linear destinations, but as a destination of its own.

Music

Yves Tumor Soars With 'Heaven to a Tortured Mind'

On Heaven to a Tortured Mind, Yves Tumor relishes his shift to microphone caressing rock star. Here he steps out of his sonic chrysalis, dons some shiny black wings and soars.

Music

Mike Patton and Anthony Pateras' tētēma Don't Hit the Mark on 'Necroscape'

tētēma's Necroscape has some highlights and some interesting ambiance, but ultimately it's a catalog of misses for Mike Patton and Anthony Pateras.

Music

M. Ward Offers Comforting Escapism on 'Migration Stories'

Although M. Ward didn't plan the songs on Migration Stories for this pandemic, they're still capable of acting as a balm in these dark hours.

Music

Parsonsfield Add Indie Pop to Their Folk on 'Happy Hour on the Floor'

Happy Hour on the Floor is a considerable departure from Parsonsfield's acclaimed rustic folk sound signaling their indie-pop orientation. Parsonsfield remind their audience to bestow gratitude and practice happiness: a truly welcomed exaltation.

Music

JARV IS... - "House Music All Night Long" (Singles Going Steady)

"House Music All Night Long" is a song our inner, self-isolated freaks can jive to. JARV IS... cleverly captures how dazed and confused some of us may feel over the current pandemic, trapped in our homes.

Music

All Kinds of Time: Adam Schlesinger's Pursuit of Pure, Peerless Pop

Adam Schlesinger was a poet laureate of pure pop music. There was never a melody too bright, a lyrical conceit too playfully dumb, or a vibe full of radiation that he would shy away from. His sudden passing from COVID-19 means one of the brightest stars in the power-pop universe has suddenly dimmed.

Music

Folkie Eliza Gilkyson Turns Up the Heat on '2020'

Eliza Gilkyson aims to inspire the troops of resistance on her superb new album, 2020. The ten songs serve as a rallying cry for the long haul.

Music

Human Impact Hit Home with a Seismic First Album From a Veteran Lineup

On their self-titled debut, Human Impact provide a soundtrack for this dislocated moment where both humanity and nature are crying out for relief.

Music

Monophonics Are an Ardent Blast of True Rock 'n' Soul on 'It's Only Us'

The third time's the charm as Bay Area soul sextet Monophonics release their shiniest record yet in It's Only Us.

Film

'Slay the Dragon' Is a Road Map of the GOP's Methods for Dividing and Conquering American Democracy

If a time traveler from the past wanted to learn how to subvert democracy for a few million bucks, gerrymandering documentary Slay the Dragon would be a superb guide.

Music

Bobby Previte / Jamie Saft / Nels Cline: Music from the Early 21st Century

A power-trio of electric guitar, keyboards, and drums takes on the challenge of free improvisation—but using primarily elements of rock and electronica as strongly as the usual creative music or jazz. The result is focused.

Books

Does Inclusivity Mean That Everyone Does the Same Thing?

What is the meaning of diversity in today's world? Russell Jacoby raises and addresses some pertinent questions in his latest work, On Diversity.

Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews
Features
Collapse Expand Features
PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.