Recently returned home from Williamsburg in the borough of Brooklyn, New York, Australian cellist Richard Vaudrey looks relaxed and a little disheveled as he sinks back into the couch and scratches his thick, dark beard.
“In many ways I now view my cello not as a classical instrument, but literally like a hammer that you might use to build a house,” Vaudrey says. “And you can build a lot of different looking houses with a hammer.”
The classically trained cellist has spent the last six years immersed in the New York music scene while simultaneously completing his doctoral study in classical cello performance and contemporary improvisation at the State University of New York, Stony Brook. Now, back in his hometown of Melbourne, the inspired musician is about to release his first EP.
“I started completely classically and was a bit of a snob in terms of other music,” the 31-year-old cellist says. “I don’t know how much that had to do with the 90s and how compressed popular music had become, but definitely in the last five years I’ve appreciated the craft in a lot of popular and alternative music, and songwriters in particular. I’ve realised that as powerful as classical music is, it’s words and the human voice that take you that step further in terms of connecting with other people.”
Vaudrey’s enduring love of the cello and desire to reach a more contemporary audience has resulted in an extraordinary and unique sound that he describes as “post chestral-indie-dub-folk pop for cello voice and electronics.”
“As an actual fact it’s quite accurate as a description but it’s also a bit of a dig that you can’t really throw it into a genre,” he laughs. “Weirdly enough I wouldn’t say anything on this album is classical at all.”
Jesting off the EP title as “creative laziness,” VAUDREY is anything but unoriginal. Indeed, it’s nothing like you’ve ever heard before. Combining an orchestral type ambience with biting electronic beats and the beautifully distorted sound of the cello, the four tracks take you on a textural journey where you literally live and breath the music. This accompanied by Vaudrey’s surprisingly soothing yet coarse voice creates stunning and vivid soundscapes largely built off the cello. The overall feel of the EP is one of warmth and a dreamy ambiance.
The first three tracks in particular are impassioned, searching and expressive and show Vaudrey’s lyrical talent to connect with listeners in an honest and personal way. In the track Lovin, Vaudrey honestly sings: “If success is telling stories when a million people listen, I guess I'll die forgotten when a million people listen, because lovin doesn't give you numbers it gives you love.” While the songs may at first appear to be vignettes there is a definite theme of fulfillment concurrent throughout the album.
“I guess that all stems back to this expectation I felt at the time I was writing that you’re very much judged by the achievement you have from numbers,” Vaudrey says. “Whether it’s plays on the internet or dollars you earn. You know, it was a time in my life that I felt like what I was achieving so greatly in life, wasn’t equated in numbers. In terms of wonderful relationships, huge job satisfaction, and huge amounts of creative involvement. I felt like I was achieving a lot of great things beyond expectations measured in numerical value, and I think every song has a little bit of that in there and the issues that come around with that.”