Xavier Rudd has made a vocation of intertwining his perception and way of life with his eclectic style of music. His latest release, Storm Boy, is proving to follow these same lines while also surpassing beyond any preconceived notions from the artist. Two days after the May 25 release of the new album, Rudd will perform the first show of his huge 2018 tour at the Cali Roots Festival in Monterey, California. During this tour, Rudd will be joining Michael Franti and Spearhead at Red Rocks on June 1. To prepare for this exciting lineup of soulful sounds, we spoke with Rudd about his new album, why he loves Colorado and how this is the best he’s ever felt.
303 Magazine: It is a beautiful, sunny afternoon in Colorado! How are things in Australia?
Xavier Rudd: Oh, it’s great here. It is about nine o’clock in the morning. Everything’s cool.
303: Do you have any morning rituals?
XR: Oh, I usually take the dogs for a walk in the morning. I take them down to the pond for a swim.
303: I hear this is supposed to be your biggest tour yet. How do you prepare for such a feat?
XR: Is it my biggest yet? I guess if you look at the dates on paper, it can be a bit daunting. A lot of shows, a lot of towns. Once I am into it, the spirit of the show and the music makes me feel blessed.
303: You have a couple of singles out, and “Walk Away” is one. It seems to be about trusting yourself and moving away from things that are not serving you anymore. Do you have a specific experience that inspired this message?
XR: I’d say that is a pretty accurate description of what it is about. It doesn’t relate to me so much. However, there have been some new beginnings in my life where I am drawing from. It is just generally, like you said, having the self-love enough to hold your own when you need to walk away from something or someone.
303: Is there any sort of science that goes into configuring the tracklist of your albums?
XR: There is actually. It takes some time shuffling things around. Sometimes, you know, when I record something will lend itself to a certain position on the record. I guess on this one it took me a while to work out the track order. It needs to flow.
303: On the first day of June you are going to be here in Denver. Is there anything in particular that you are looking forward to?
XR: Yes, I am doing the show with Michael Franti. It’s been years since we did a show together, so that will be cool. Also, Colorado is probably my favorite place in the states. I like those mountain folk. It is a totally different scene aesthetically from where I grew up. There is a similar energy and vibration, though, and I enjoy that. It is kind of like home.
303: How does Colorado compare to the rest of the world to other audiences?
XR: I guess all audiences are similar energetically wherever you go. Colorado is one place, however, where the people are different. I don’t know if that is the altitude or the vibrations from the mountains, but people are fit and alive. Even in their eyes, their eyes are very awake and passionate. I love that. It is a special vibration and it is nice to share that.
303: It will be very interesting seeing your many instruments on the Red Rocks stage. What are you planning to bring?
XR: I’m bringing a bit of everything. I have a small piece band and I am bringing my old solo percussion rig which is something I have not brought out in a while. I am bringing a lot of shit, and I don’t know how much time we have on stage. Usually, I need about two and a half hours to do what I want to do. If I have to fit it in an hour or so then I’ll just have to try a bit of everything.
303: Is there anything you would say to someone before they check out your album or buy tickets to see you at Red Rocks?
XR: I am really proud of this record. There are some things here that I wrote about 12 years ago that I just haven’t come across a time in my life to really develop them. I am excited to get it out and have people hear it. On a personal note, I feel the strongest and clearest I’ve ever felt. I am excited to come and share that, I’m feeling good.
This interview has been edited condensed for length and clarity. Get tickets for Xavier Rudd and Michael Franti at Red Rocks here.