In the wake of a viral video storm, Andrew Hozier remains a mix of stoical and determined. Tall and soft spoken, he hasn’t allowed himself to be overwhelmed by the roaring success of ‘Take Me To Church’, a tale of monochrome heartbreak that has made him an unintentional champion of LGBTQ rights.
Does he mind having to talk about the video every. single. interview? “It’s fine. I wrote the song, it’s not a chore”. There’s no shirking of responsibility from Hozier, who at 24 has been flung into a circus that’s eating him up. Hailing from County Wicklow, the so-called Garden of Ireland, home seems like a land far from the places he’s spent his summer.
Performances on Ellen (“I only found out about it the day before”), festivals spent with fellow punters like Jack White, it seems fame has crept up on Hozier so quickly he’s not had time to process it. “You get busy, things get more hectic, and then it happens. By the time it happens you’re wrapped up in thinking about other things”. And so onto the next he continues, with his hugely awaited debut around the corner.
Unconventional until the end, it seems that success has come backwards. The bluesy influence of his music has seen “tickets go out of the door in America”. Even though he’s open about how well shows sell, Hozier will only admit to “doing OK”. There’s no resting on laurels, no self-congratulatory aggrandising. “I’m a bit of a freak, I’m never happy. I don’t waste time being happy,” he confesses, before laughing at the thought.
“I do enjoy stuff, I love stuff. I love stuff a lot…but with my own work, I don’t waste time patting myself on the back. There’s always more to do... I go through everything with a fine tooth comb, to the point where I exhaust all options”. It sounds draining, but despite the meticulous fine-tuning, there’s no apparent end game, no five year plan. “I would never want things to make too much sense.”
Conversation lilts off, to books and influences wider than American rock n roll. Is Hozier an avid reader? Lyrically ‘Take Me To Church’ points to literary tradition as much as it does moral dilemmas. “There are a few heavy references, though I don’t read as much as I could, or I’d like to say that I do. I’ve read ‘1984’ a fair few times, and Portrait Of The Artist As A Young Man influenced the first EP heavily…My brother’s got this amazing insult which he’d pull out every chance he got: ‘which f*cking Penguin classic are you reading today’”.
We end with Hozier recounting a children’s story by Oscar Wilde, a story of forbidden love, where religion gets in the way of a man marrying a mermaid. It sounds haunting and beautiful, youthful but tinged with earnest morals, quite like the man himself.
'Hozier's self titled debut is out on Monday 6th October. '
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