Xavier Rudd is about to embark on his largest tour to date, playing in all the Australian major capital cities, North America, and Europe in support of his new album, Nanna, his first album in three years. We caught up with Xavier to talk about the album, his inspiration behind Nanna, and touring with his new band, The United Nations.

After coming back from a tour that lasted an incredible thirty months, how was it returning to the inside of a studio to record Nanna? Was it difficult to adjust back to the confines of the studio? Or was it something you were eager to begin again?

No, not difficult.. I’ve been excited by this project the whole time. It’s been something I’ve wanted to do for a long, long time, many years, and I was more than ready to get into this project.

What were the main influences and inspiration behind the music and lyrics of Nanna?

Human beings versus creation. I had some powerful experiences in a few different places in the world in the last few years that gave me an interesting read of this and yeah… It’s a bizarre thing and hard to elaborate but that’s where it’s from.

Nanna will be the first time we will hear you perform as a front man for the newly formed The United Nations. What made you step away from your usual solo performances and form a band for this album?

[It’s] something I always wanted to do. The time presented this year – I’ve been patient with the concept but this was really the time that it presented and everything felt right this year to put it together, and as soon as I did, the right members and the right everything came together.

Of all the instruments you play, which one do you feel most connected with? Does it change?

I feel connected to all of them, you know what I mean. I have a particular soft spot for the white and blonde guitar… it  always changes.

You have a large following in Canada where your music has also been very well received. What do you think it is about your music that resounds so well with the Canadian people?

I don’t know really… They’re earthbound kind of folks, you know? Canada’s a very powerful ancestral land, very similar to Australia and I think naturally the spirit of land resides in all of us. And I think there’s that common thread that links to my music in Canada.
There is a video of you performing at the Beloved festival in 2013 in which you invite a child up onstage wearing a “Free Hugs” sign around their neck, and you hug them. You are clearly moved by the incident in the video. Can you tell us more about that moment, what it meant for you, and if it served as inspiration behind any of the tracks for Nanna?

Yeah, that was a particularly powerful moment and very emotional, that young boy had very strong energy. No, there’s nothing that directly comes from that in Nanna but you know, our path and our experiences are all part of/my path and my experiences are reflected through my music at some point.
Who are some bands or artists, or even just songs, which have caught your attention recently?

I’d say… the new Midnite record that I’m loving, and a local guy who I saw in the street called Kyle Lionheart from Byron Bay. His record’s great too.

What do you have planned for the second half of 2015?

I’m gonna be in lots of different continents playing pumping music with a pumping band!

Xavier Rudd Tour Dates

Thursday 19 March
The Forum Theatre, Melbourne VIC

Saturday 21 March
The Metro, Sydney NSW

Sunday 22 March
The Tivoli, Brisbane QLA

Friday 27 March
HQ Complex, Adelaide SA

Sunday 29 March
West Coast Blues & Roots, Fremantle WA

Sunday 5 April
Bluesfest, Byron Bay NSW

Nanna out now in Australia on Salt X/Universal.