Across the internet there’s one question that’s often echoed by fans of the early GOOD Music era: where the hell is Mr. Hudson? Good news. We found him.
When we caught up with Mr. Hudson earlier this week, he was driving topless through San Fernando Valley, bobbing and weaving through lanes of traffic (or so he tells us over the phone). And more good news, he’s on his way to see Anthony Kilhoffer, a fellow producer and engineer from the heydays of GOOD Music. It’s been ten years since the two met while working on projects for Kanye West and the rest of the label’s artists. But this time, they’re teaming up to work on Mr. Hudson’s next single, “Can’t Forget You”—his first in two years.
But the 38-year-old producer hasn’t been far from the music industry by any stretch. Since 2008, when his name was heavily featured throughout the liner notes of Ye’s 808s & Heartbreak, he’s been working behind-the-scenes with major artists such as Future, Idris Elba, Duran Duran, Vic Mensa and more. Most recently, he worked on two tracks with English singer JP Cooper, “September Song” and “She’s On My Mind.” Mr. Hudson is also getting his feet wet in film scoring as he produced and performed the music for for the upcoming anime short, Children of Ether, which is premiering in 300 theaters across North America on July 26. The short, directed by LeSean Thomas (The Boondocks, Cannon Busters), follows a young black woman who discovers that she possesses supernatural powers as she navigates a dystopian world.
Ahead of its release, we caught up with Mr. Hudson to talk about Children of Ether, his work with GOOD Music and how motivational speakers on Instagram got him on “beast mode.”
How did you get involved with LeSean Thomas and Children of Ether?
You know the funny thing was the first music for a picture that I did, was working with the GOOD Music guys on a movie that never came out [Cruel Summer]. You know, as is the case with most creative things, not everything comes out. But I had a little bit of experience doing that. LeSean had really come up to me. He's a fan of the whole GOOD Music family and I think one of his big references for Children of Ether was 808s & Heartbreak. He gave me complete creative control to dial that in with an ear to where we are sonically in 2016, at that point. It was a very pleasurable process for me because I just made a ton of music and I sent it all to him and he would cherry-pick what worked in terms of mood.
Through the process, I was watching the aesthetic develop and the story develop. So I could marinate in that, you know, I wasn’t just shooting in the dark. It has a lovely sort of muted 90s feel, Children of Ether. So I could definitely hark back to watching manga as a teenager in England.
What did you used to watch?
Ghost in the Shell was the predictable way in for me.
You mentioned you sent a bunch of different sounds to LeSean, what would you say is the overall mood that either LeSean was going for or what you were going for in sending him music?
I just wanted shit to feel menacing. There's a lot of fear in the story. There needs to be a sense of ever present danger, you know.
I'm driving to meet Mr. Kilhoffer. I met [him] ten years ago, he was engineering and mixing a lot of stuff for Kanye and the whole squad and I'm heading to see him now. He's gonna mix a song today.
That’s dope. You've worked with so many people. Idris Elba, Jay-Z, Kanye West, Duran Duran, Future, etc. Who else do you want to work with?
I've been working with Jake Shears on his new record, writing some songs with him. I'm like Jason Bourne, just drop me in anywhere and I'll do some damage. I love going back to London and I'm working with up-and-coming people like Moss Kena. Moss is incredible. KP Cooper, "September Song" and his new song "She's On My Mind." That just dropped this week.
The challenge for me is finding time for my own stuff and people hit me up everyday and are like "what the fuck Hudson, you haven't put a record out since like last millennium." So, I'm finally gonna put some new music out. I'm mixing a song today with Kilhoffer. I'm really excited I'm shooting the video tomorrow. It's called “Can’t Forget You.” I'm just finally organizing my time and my new thing is get up, make a cup of coffee and then just go ham all day. I'm just on some kind of beast mode in the last couple of months. Maybe I've changed something in my diet or something but the last couple of months I've been working eight days a week. It also might be [that] I've been following a couple motivational speeches on Instagram. You know, the guys and girls who shout at you about "yes you can achieve xy and z." I'm definitely Mr. Hudson 2.0 or 3.0 mode at the moment. Beast mode. I'm saying red 100 emojis, italicized, underlined.
Since you've worked with Jay Z and Kanye West, do you have any comment on the rumored feud going on between the two?
It's tricky for me to speak on that stuff. I think that they're like brothers right. Since "Big Brother." Those guys, they've been working together for twenty years so I'm sure it's all good. You can't make an omelet without breaking eggs. That sounds really deep but it also kind of sums up what I'm talking about. I haven't spoken to either of them recently so it's all good. I can't speak on it, you know what I mean? I'm kind of busy running around doing my own thing as well so we're not at brunch saying "oh my God, what did he say?" It's not like that. It'd be boring if everyone was just playing happy families all the time.
What else have you been up to?
I'm always spinning plates, it's kind of hard to remember but I've got to drop a new long player at some point. That's the focus now. You can only be the bridesmaid so many times.
Would you want to work on another movie?
I would love to do some more music in the pictures. Anyone listening out there, who needs some...holla at ya boy basically.
In the meantime, fans can snag a ticket for Children of Ether here.