Jude Woodhead has made a name for himself with an ever growing catalogue of hypnotic tracks. Various genres and styles are fused together in his music, but all come together seamlessly under his moniker: Saint Jude.
With the release of his latest single, ‘Feedback Song’, earlier this week, Jude talks about forming a debut album, moving into songwriting, and how writing as Saint Jude allows him to express himself.
Tell me about ‘Feedback Song’? And is it part of a bigger project?
Yeah, so that’s going to be the first single on an album which should be out later this year. It’s one of two tracks on the album with Sarah Downie, from Drug Store Romeos.
This was the first time we worked together, but the track is actually really old – we made this one two or three years ago now. And it was our first ever meeting ever, basically. She’d done some vocals on this other thing I did, but [Feedback Song] was the first time we met and really sat down to make something.
For you, as a producer as well, when you look at constructing an album, how reliant are you on other artists to shape that vision for you?
I’ve got other people to do vocals on a few tracks, but this song and the other one with Sarah are the only two I’m not singing on at all. Normally, I’m writing in my own voice and then if there’s something missing – say, for example, I feel like there should be a rap verse in this, or a female voice at this bit, then I’ll get someone else on it.
[Sarah] definitely brings a lot of inspiration for the tracks we’ve done together. It’s not really me as a producer pushing it, and she really doesn’t need to be pushed – she’s a very inspiring person to work with. I’ve almost got… not too many ideas, but it’s like it could go in any possible way.
Your first release was in 2019. I imagine it’s been a pretty challenging, or at least weird, three years to start a music career. What’s it been like for you?
To be honest, I feel like lockdown made it a bit less bumpy than it would have been. This album would certainly be very different. But you know, I’ve been releasing music for ages, and I had all this stuff under my actual name before – mainly electronic stuff. I was doing a lot of sampling and dance tracks, and now I’ve started singing and writing lyrics.
When did that lyrical component start, and was that something you always wanted to eventually get to?
I didn’t really have any plans to do songwriting or anything like that, but I’ve always liked a lot of songwriters and all my favourite songs always had written lyrics. I think the reason I started writing myself was because when you’re working with samples or instrumentals, there’s only so much actual meaning that you can put behind music.
You have to really get into your samples and be at a really high level to give it that meaning. Now, I literally think of whatever I want, and then just start writing about it. You can’t do that with instrumental music, and in terms of the self-expression thing, [with lyrics] you can just express yourself more easily.
And now, not performing under your own name, do you think that gives you a bit of freedom to write music that you perhaps wouldn’t otherwise?
Yeah, perhaps. I mean, I think Saint Jude is quite close to myself. I’m not really playing a character that much. I think if it was under my own name, maybe I would feel more obliged to represent myself as a person, that is slightly true. But I don’t think it will be as true if it were a proper alter ego.
I really like your videos. How have they come about, and are they something you’ve always wanted to see alongside your music?
Yeah – it just seems like a bit of a missed opportunity if there isn’t any visual stuff to go along with songs. A lot of my favourite artists have lots of visual parts going on as well, and I’ve always done my own music videos. Although that video for this song is the first music video that I haven’t actually done myself – I got my friend Nina in for that one.
And what about live stuff? Have you got a chance to get back to gigging?
I’m hoping to do one soon, but I’ve had really bad tinnitus. So I haven’t actually even been DJing for quite a while. I’m trying to do one show and see what it’s like and just go from there, but I don’t know if I could ever really tour properly.