Interview with Father Murphy vocalist and guitarist Rev. Freddy Murphy
By John Hill
For Father Murphy, religion sets the stage for the Italian duo to build upon different themes and sounds to create something impactful. With their new record, Croce, the duo tells a story about the crucifixion behind scary chamber pop, and occasionally, straight noise. Following the record’s March 17 release via The Flenser is an 80 day tour spanning all the stations of the cross.
Who is Father Murphy?
Father Murphy is me, myself, Freddy, and Kiara Lee. We were a trio years ago, up until a couple years recently, because we needed something more personal and the third member wanted a different life. We were always touring, so it wasn’t possible for him to have any relationship with anyone but the two of us. And the fact we were a couple during the time, we needed something more personal.
Croce is pretty heavy. Do you begin with the concept of the record or the sound?
Each release that we’ve done since we started, it’s like a different concept. Each release is like a step in Father Murphy’s character path. When we got deep down with ourselves in the religious themes, we started thinking about what the concept could be and how to represent the concept with sound. From that, we started thinking how many movements we’d need to describe such [a] subject, and all these ideas of Father Murphy representing the Catholic sense of guilt.
It started from, like, the priest of the parish where I was going to, he was trying to convince me to become a priest myself. And then, until I was 9 [or] 10, I was almost convinced until my parents told me to think over things. But this guy started to tell me all these stories about [how] the sense of guilt is something that will never abandon you, and that you have to feel it. He told me [that] once there was this kid who swore against his mother, and he went to the priest and said, “I swore against my mother!” The priest said, “Oh, there’s nothing you can do. But the only thing you can do is to go back to your house, and take an axe and cut your leg off.” So, the kid did it. He went back home and cut his leg off, but it was lucky, because this saint was walking by and put the leg back.
Yeah! So, all the sense of guilt has to share with the story. Thanks to the scar, and thanks to the fact for having a saint coming back, he will always remember the guilt inside, because he did it. So, when we started thinking about having something in sound, we thought of how to make that song in sound.
Where the concept for Croce come from?
Croce is Italian for “cross.” It’s a concept about the Cross [as] a symbol, and the cross [as] a movement. The first part is about sacrifice, what you need to experience and suffer to achieve something bigger or better in terms of consciousness, kind of like a brighter mind in looking toward things. And of course, for us, the first example of “cross” is the crucifixion, and Jesus’ sacrifice that he was born in order to get to the cross. And the last part is kind of like a triumph march, which is something you need.
What’s your relationship with religion like now? Is it observational or are you practicing?
No, we try to be as far from any kind of religion [laughs]. But we feel really attracted for the need of religiousness in our lives, but really it’s just another way to find empathy or people we love. But as for “religions” and something institutionalized, we stay away from [that] as far as possible. It’s sterile, dangerous, and suffocating. Dangerous, dangerous, dangerous. It’s funny, one of Kiara’s relatives is involved with the Church and studied the Bible for several years, in Hebrew and Sanskrit and everything else. He said the worst thing that happened to Christianity was the Catholic Church.