Boston Calling 2024 Recap!

Boston Calling 2024 is in the books, with record crowds over the holiday weekend and River artists all over the lineup. Liv Lowe sat down with singer-songwriter Hozier before his set on Sunday to talk about playing Boston, the Unheard EP, and artist collaborations. Read the interview below.


Liv Lowe with Hozier, Sunday May 26 @ Boston Calling

This will be your third time playing Boston Calling. How has this festival – and playing in Boston – evolved for you over the last decade? 

It’s always been super supportive, playing in Boston area has always been a really special feeling. Like the first time I did Boston was one of the most– it was such a warm, outrageously supportive welcome, you know. And I think there’s the Irish thing there, the Irish connection, so that’s a really good feeling. And the last time we did a meet and greet as well, I was blown away by how long people were hanging around and waiting and queuing for a meet and greet that we did last year. So it’s always been a real special, sweet feeling. 

I remember seeing the line for your pop-up show at the Paradise last year wrapping around streets and streets, I mean it’s just incredible. And speaking of the last time I saw you – since then we’ve not only had Unreal Unearth come out but also the EP Unheard, how has the reception of that been? 

Great, I mean it’s kind of unexpected you know. These were songs that I just thought people might enjoy that I thought were worth releasing that never made the album. They fought for a place on the record and lost. So I feel glad that we released it, because it’s like we got a big hit on our hands and that was unexpected for me. 

One of those is a duet with Allison Russell on top of the duet you released with Brandi Carlile, what has it been like working with those artists? 

Oh my god amazing, they are incredibly supportive of each other as well too, they’re friends. I met them both at Newport Folk Festival which is kind of a special place for me. The first time I sang with Allison was also with Mavis, Allison was with Mavis and Rhiannon Giddens on stage and they needed a place to rehearse and we had a space that we could offer them. So that was the first time meeting Allison and hanging and both of those artists, Brandi and Allison, we’ve always just had a very wonderful supportive relationship and they’re artists who I so admire and so love. So yeah, sharing a song with Allison was amazing, I got to hop on one of her songs on her album The Returner around the same time so we sorta did a song swap, and I’m touring with Allison right now which is really, really special. 

And then you just hopped on a Noah Kahan song as well! We’re playing that version of “Northern Attitude” on the River as well. Are there any collabs with artists that you would really love to do, but you haven’t gotten to work with them yet? 

For sure, I mean there are so many artists who have been really inspiring for me and so many writers. Bon Iver was a huge artist for me. I remember being 18-19 discovering For Emma, Forever Ago and stuff like that. I love Florence Welch you know…I love her voice, I’d love to write for her at some point and write with her at some point. Yeah there’s loads, there’s so many artists. 

I guess jumping back here – I noticed that you announced you’re doing Newport again this year and Allison Russell is as well. You think anything will happen there? 

Yeah sure, if we can do it and we’re playing the same day! She’s so busy at the moment, but yeah definitely. I’m blessed that every show that we’re doing, she’s joining me on stage for like a couple songs. 

This will be the first Newport Folk I’m attending so I was really excited to see you on the lineup. 

Oh cool, it’s a sweet time, it’s a really sweet festival. 

I’ve heard! Kind of switching gears here a little bit, a little personal story. I happen to work with a university acapella group in the area and when they were doing their big competition this year I saw three different groups sing your songs in just the first round alone: “Nina Cried Power,” “Sunlight,” and “All Things End” which of course, is amazing for acapella. The arrangement was phenomenal. 

Wow yeah that’s cool, I have not seen that. 

I guess I’m just curious what you would say to those young artists?

I mean it’s the highest honor, that somebody would first of all cover your work but then rearrange it and reinterpret it and make it as something as part of their own creation. That honestly is the highest honor. When your work is being carried– there is an American poet called Robert Pinsky and he says the body of somebody else is the medium of the work. That poetry isn’t complete until it’s spoken out loud, when somebody else is reading out your work. He says poetry is unique in that the medium is somebody else’s body, it’s somebody else’s actual physical form. When that happens in music, that is not always the case, but when your work is inhabited by somebody else, that to me is one of the highest honors. It’s a big deal for me. I will say, I think I saw an arrangement once on Tik Tok of “Sunlight” and I don’t know if it was the same choir but they were in a stairwell doing it… stupidly good. It achieved something that mine could never achieve, and that’s also something that’s so worthwhile about exploring covers like that. 

Absolutely. And you’re no stranger to covers yourself. Do you have any floating around for your shows right now?

At the moment, not right now. We just did a version of Stevie Nicks and Tom Petty’s “Stop Draggin My Heart Around” when we were in Florida because we were very close to Tom Petty’s hometown and we just did that as fun. 

That’s so great! I don’t have too many more questions so I’ll end on kind of a fun one, as a person who travels a lot, always on the road, do you have any favorite road snacks or airport treats?

I have bit of a sweet tooth, I generally keep something sweet in my bag… I’m crazy for chocolate covered peanuts, or chocolate pretzels, anything that’s covered in chocolate that has a salty edge to it, you can find it in my bag when I’m traveling. 

Very Nice! Thanks again for chatting with me.

Thank you!