Not only is Hudson Moore an up-and-coming star in the country music world, but he is also a big fan of movies. Moore’s new song, “The Cold Gray Light of Dawn,” can be heard during the end credits of the western revenge drama, “Sweetwater,” which released to limited theaters on Oct. 11.
“Sweetwater” takes place in the deserts of 1880s New Mexico. Sarah (January Jones) is a former prostitute turned farmer’s wife, who – with the help of a renegade sheriff (Ed Harris) – seeks vengeance against the sadistic and greedy Prophet Josiah (Jason Isaacs).
The Chico Movie Examiner recently conducted an over-the-phone interview with Moore in which he discusses the process of creating the theme song for “Sweetwater”; what made him want to become a country singer; and the possibility of finishing his film degree. Check out the full interview below.
Note: There is a very mild spoiler about “Sweetwater” during the interview. It has been marked.
David Wangberg: When I was doing my research last night, I kept getting your name mixed up. I know they gave me the email, but I kept thinking your name was Hunter Moore, so I do apologize for that. [laughs]
Hudson Moore: [laughs] That’s all right.
DW: Does that happen quite often?
HM: Very rarely do people get my name right the first time around, so no big deal.
DW: Are you an avid movie watcher?
HM: I am; I love film. I was actually a film major at UT [University of Texas] for three years before I put school on hold to pursue music, so, yes, I love film.
DW: Do you think you might go back and finish your degree?
HM: Yeah, I think so. I think when the time opens up a little bit. I did three years, so I don’t have too far to go in it. It’s definitely important to me to get that degree eventually; I definitely think I’ll go back and give it a shot.
DW: Were you on the set of “Sweetwater” when they asked you to do the song?
HM: I was – I was on the set, not quite when they asked me to [do the song]. To give a little background, my brother, Tucker Moore, is a producer on this film. And he invited out to the set for a couple days, and they were out in Santa Fe, New Mexico. I got to be around for some of the scenes and, of course, an incredible cast and just kind of got a vibe for the film. But [it was] mainly to support him and just kind of get a glimpse into what he was doing. Then I went home, and, I think, a few weeks later, Tucker called me and asked if I wanted to write the theme song for this. They needed something to play over the end credits. I said, “Absolutely.” That’s kind of how he approached me. I got a glimpse into the set before he asked me to write the song.
DW: OK. I know there are a lot of people who will write the theme song [for a film], but I’ve never really heard if they’re on the set, or if they watch an advanced copy of it before it’s ready to release.
HM: Tucker sent me a rough cut of the film, and Wally Wilson – my friend who helped me write this song – was in Austin, and he was staying at the South Congress Motel. So, we went over there; we watched the rough cut, and we wrote this song. Oh, and, by the way, Tucker said, “Hey, guys. By the way, you have a week to do this. Record it, write it, mix it, and send it to us.” The clock was ticking, but it was just so inspiring that, honestly, we wrote the song an hour after watching the film.
DW: How long does it normally take for you to do one song – write it, record it, and all that?
HM: It really depends. I’ve written songs in one hour, and I’ll get on them right then and there. This song just kind of comes like a burst of lighting. With other songs, I still have ideas that are halfway finished that I started years ago. It’s really a blessing, when you can finish a full song and record it in that short amount of time. So, it really worked out nicely.
DW: I was listening to a couple of your other songs, and they have more of a rock country feel to them, or a pop country feel. This one, “The Cold Gray Light of Dawn” sounds more like an old-style kind of country song.
HM: You’re totally right. To me, it’s more of like a folk song. The western was obviously set in the late 1800s, so I wanted the song to kind of have that period piece feel. You know, when you’re listening to it, it matches sonically to what you’re seeing on screen. It’s definitely different from anything I had ever done. Like you said, my stuff is more rock and pop music, but this was a total departure, which was, artistically, really fun.
[Mild spoiler alert]
DW: And it kind of had to play from the last scene, where she [January Jones] goes to burn the clothes, and then the credits play. I’ve seen some other films where they transition from a scene that’s quiet or sad, and then it has an upbeat song [during the credits], and it doesn’t really fit. This one really fit.
HM: Yeah, I know what you mean. Some films, it’s almost like they want to take you out of the film and kind of lift you up. But, honestly, I wanted the song to be the theme song for the film. So we wanted the sentiment and the vibe of the song to align with the story. And the story, you know, it has some dark elements to it and some somber elements, so we thought it was appropriate to stay in that realm.
[End mild spoiler alert]
DW: I know you said you were pursuing your film degree. Do you have any plans on possibly becoming an actor?
HM: No, I don’t think I could do it professionally – full time. I’m going to keep my day job, but it’s always been something that I wanted to explore. I grew up making short films around the house, and I kind of grew up being in front of the camera. So, I would like to act – work my way up doing small roles, and see if it catches on; see if it’s something that I think I could have a future in. I’ll always continue to perform live and to write music. I’ll keep my day job, as they say, but I’d definitely like to act sometime in the future.
DW: Well, there are a couple other singers who become actors or actors who become singers, too. At least, it’s worth a shot. [laughs]
HM: [laughs] Yeah, Jeff Bridges is a good example. And Jason Aldean, this is his first role, and I think he did a really good job. I can see him doing more of this kind of thing.
DW: What was it that made you want to pursue a career in music?
HM: I really just fell in love with music early on. I was about 11 years old when I started playing drums and guitar, and I taught myself. Along with sports and other things, it was my greatest passion. I started writing songs at about 16, and as I got older and into college, I recorded my first album and played a couple shows, I realized, “Wow, I’m having so much fun with this. This is really what I want to do with my life.”
DW: What kind of film degree were you pursuing in college? Were you looking to become a director, writer, or something else?
HM: My dream was – of course, music was always the dream as well. But considering film, I really wanted to be a director. My brother, Tucker, was always a great storyteller. He was a great lyricist, and he was a great screenwriter. For me, I was more behind the camera. I loved to stage a shot; to visualize how a story is going to be told onscreen – that was what I really loved.
DW: Are there any upcoming concerts you want to promote, or are you doing another CD?
HM: I’d love to mention that I’m coming out with a new album next month called “True Love”; it’ll be on iTunes. You can go to hudsonmoore.net for any tour dates we’re going to be playing through the end of the year – all over Texas and the region.
DW: And is “The Cold Gray Light of Dawn” going to be on that album, or is it just going to be on the “Sweetwater” soundtrack?
HM: I’m not 100 percent sure, but I think it’s going to be on this album.
This concludes the interview, but the Chico Movie Examiner would like to thank Hudson Moore for taking the time to talk about “Sweetwater” and “The Cold Gray Light of Dawn.”