Name change or not, Nick Murphy (fka Chet Faker) is still the killer songwriter he’s always been

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Name change or not, Nick Murphy (fka Chet Faker) is still the killer songwriter he’s always been

Photo by Willy Lukaitis
Words by Marnie Vinall

The renowned musician has returned with his stunning new album, Run Fast Sleep Naked.

It’s been five years since Nick Murphy’s debut album, Built on Glass (released as Chet Faker), was gifted to ears across the globe. Then, after a couple of collaborative EPs, Murphy released the Missing Link EP in 2017 – the Melbourne songwriter’s first release credited to his birth name.

Fans have now finally received the album they’ve been longing. Murphy reveals his growth and rawest self in his new album, Run Fast Sleep Naked. In contrast to artists who pump albums out quicker than the turn around of reality TV relationships, Murphy took his time creating Run Fast Sleep Naked.

“You need to live a certain amount to make the music,” he says. “I basically toured for five years and there just wasn’t enough time. It’s been such a long time coming because I really had to figure out what it was I wanted to be doing.”

Built On Glass achieved mammoth success, debuting at number one on the ARIA Charts and landing three songs in the triple j Hottest 100 top ten. The record’s lead single, ‘Talk Is Cheap’, took out the number one spot, but Murphy isn’t intimidated by his past success.

“I think that’s what Missing Link was about. It was kind of expelling that pressure,” he says. “That’s just not how music works. It’s about being honest and following a journey and the listeners going on that journey and trying to understand what the artist is doing.”

For Murphy, music became an outlet to express his most honest self. He’s also been grappling with what making music means to him on a more personal level.

“I became kind of obsessed with that question of ‘what do I believe in?’ I had had this success and everyone said it was supposed to be great, but I was still feeling kind of empty. It felt kind of shallow. I didn’t really get a kick out of popularity or people telling me how good I was. What I really wanted to do was express myself and learn about myself through music.”

Murphy spent a year travelling the globe in search of answers. Along the way he recorded the vocals for Run Fast Sleep Naked; the tracks had already been crafted with co-producer, Dave Harrington, and engineer, Phil Weinberg.

“I did the vocals last on this record,” Murphy says. “I went and travelled solo for basically an entire year with my microphone in my suitcase and recorded the vocals for each track in different locations. The songs were kind of snapshots of that experience or that path.”

Although many of us don’t get the chance to travel to the Northern Sahara Desert or search the streets of Tokyo to discover ourselves, Murphy hopes others can learn from the things he discovered along the way.

“I want to share this with people. I want to show people that’s it’s OK to feel stuff. I’m not trying to be cool for anyone, I’m not trying to impress anyone. My role and my purpose, as far as I’m concerned, is to feel and to show people the expressions of that. To help them express themselves. To help them feel free.”

It’s clear that in his new album, Murphy isn’t shy about his sensitive side or showing his vulnerabilities. He’s significantly evolved both as an artist and a person since Built on Glass and wants fans to connect with that growth, too.

“The music says what I want to say. I just hope people can gain some kind of self-growth out of it. For me, it’s a chapter of really important self-discovery. I really hope that people can get something similar out of it, and if not, can enjoy a song or two.” 

Nick Murphy’s new album, Run Fast Sleep Naked, is out now via Future Classic. See Murphy at The Forum on Wednesday May 1 and Groovin the Moo at the Prince of Wales Showground, Bendigo on Saturday May 4.