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.

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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.

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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

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