TALK at SXSW 2023 in Austin, photo by Cliff Tomlinson

Nicholas Durocher (better known as TALK) has been having a whirlwind experience over the last couple of years since releasing his breakout hit "Run Away to Mars."

The Canadian artist recently played SXSW in Austin, Texas, where he performed a busy six showcases over four days, including a full-capacity show at the Mohawk indoor stage. Afterwards, he chatted with Variance about the rollercoaster inspiration behind "Mars," which he says he wrote in the early days of the pandemic, after building up to what he thought was going to be his real shot at making music his career, and then quickly watching the world shut down, leaving him to believe his dreams were crashing down as well. 

Retreating back to his parents' house, writing from his childhood bedroom, he imagined where would be the furthest place in the universe to escape the uncertainty of the global health crisis. "That was mars," he says, speaking with us from atop the downtown Whole Foods in Austin, while noting he had been watching the 2014 movie Interstellar starring Matthew McConaughey at the time. "I think he's probably the greatest fucking guy that ever lived," he declared.

Today, TALK is back with his new single, "Afraid of the Dark," a song he previewed during his performances at SXSW. Later this spring, he'll also be hitting the road opening for the likes of Young the Giant, Milky Chance and fellow Canadian star Shania Twain.

"It’s been a year and a half since I released new original music and I forgot how scary this shit can be," said TALK in a note on social media ahead of the song's release.

Check out our full interview with TALK below.