Josh Pyke has had an amazing career in the world of music and is about to embark on his ‘10 years Of Memories and Dust’ regional tour of Australia. He has also announced the end of the year will see him going on hiatus. Shannon-Lee spoke to Josh about the tour, the hiatus and what the future holds for Josh Pyke.
10 Years ago Memories and Dust was released. What are your memories of that time in your life?
It was a really turbulent time for me, I had done a mini album just before Memories and Dust came out and had been signed to Island records in the UK and Europe. So I had been touring a lot back and forth across from Australia to the UK and yeah it was really full on. I wrote most of the songs on the road doing that, and it was just you know an incredibly exciting time because everything felt like it was kind of you know, blowing up and it was something I had been working towards for 10 years, so it was really really exciting and confronting and realizing that my life was changing quite a lot. You know trying to find balance and all that, it was full on.
Since that time you’ve had a pretty amazing career in the music industry, touring with an awesome and long list of talented musicians. Who is your favourite person or band you’ve toured with?
Oh god that’s tough, there’s been so many. One of my favourite bands is still Cloud Control. That was one of the first big tours that I did, headline tours back in the day and I still love that band so much. I’ve done so much touring with a bloke called Jack Carty who I’m about to head over to the UK and Europe with and he’s become one of my best mates. But yeah I’ve toured with Eskimo Joe, Bob Evans, John Butler and lots of other Aussie legends, Tim Rogers, Chris Chaney, Phil from Grinspoon, so many that have played really seminal roles in my musical life.
So this tour you’ll be playing you album Memories and Dust in its entirety. Do you have a favourite song from the album that you love to play live?
You know playing memories and dust, the actual song itself, is still really rewarding for me and people sing along to it really loudly and it’s always really great. Playing middle of the hill is always great but I think what I’ve found is playing vibrations in air has been really special on the first bit of this tour that I’ve done. You know when I wrote that song it was very much about the idea that I was pretty sure nothing was going to happen musically for me, and that was what kind of inspired the song, so playing it 10 years later and hearing people sing along with it is quite a special thing.
Something I really love and admire about your music is your lyrics and storytelling, have you always had a love for words and writing?
I have yeah, it was always the way I would express myself from early on, writing stories and poems and silly stories and jokes when I was a little kid. Growing up and then focusing on songwriting was always the thing that I found the most satisfaction in and I still love writing today and exploring different types of writing and different ways of writing songs. So yeah it has always been a thing that has come relatively easy to me and when something comes easy to you, you want to kind of go further with that and push yourself with it.
When I am listening to your music it tends to make me reflect on things in my life. Is that something you feel when you are writing? A time for reflection?
Definitely. All my songs come from a personal experience or something that’s happening to me as I am writing the song or has happened to me in my life. So like I say, song writing has always been the way that I kind of process things in my own life and try and make sense of them, so you know, even when I am playing these songs that are 10 or 12 years old I still find myself kind of reflecting on what I was trying to tell myself at the time of writing them and so it is kind of a reminder, a continuing reminder to myself for certain things or certain morals or principals that I try and stand by.
I read that you were in a band at the age of 12, what influenced you to get into music at such a young age?
Well it was kind of a bit of a fomo type thing, like I had some friends in a band and they knew I could sing so they asked me to join their band to do a performance at our year 6 graduation concert and I initially said no I was like way too nervous you know. I was not a very sort of outgoing kid. Then I told my Mum about it and she was like I think you’re going to regret this if you don’t do it. If you do it and you hate it then you never have to do it again, but it is better to regret something than regret not having done it. So yeah I did it and I was completely hooked. Completely hooked from that first performance and you know I still feel that same feeling when I perform today, it’s just that feeling of instant gratification where you’re up on stage playing and feeling that crowd with you and you have to think on your feet and you have to stay in the moment and all these things that are hard to do in normal life, so I was hooked straight away.
After this tour you’re going on hiatus. What other creative projects are you going to focus on then?
Well I’m just going to take a hiatus from touring. So you know like for 13 years now I’ve done a record then toured then done a record then toured for a couple of years and it’s been incredible. I can’t imagine a better way to have spent the last 13 years but other things like wanting to produce other artists or do things for film and TV has had to take a back seat and I really want to engage in that a bit more so in order for me to do that it requires me to not be off on tour every month so it is a chance to dig into those things.
I’m a big fan of Justine Clarke and have taken my kids to see her perform a few times; I read that you will be working with her for her new TV series?
Yeah we’ve already done it, so I co wrote and recorded and produced 5 songs including the theme song for her TV show. It was really fun, that show comes out in November. I found it really rewarding to be doing something in that world, you know like writing for kids, you can be really absurdist and not worrying about if the song will get played on the radio and you can really engage in that process as if you were a child.
You have kids as well right and they are fans of Justine too?
Yeah I’ve got two kids and they are fans of Justine, oh yeah they freaked out, I’ve had loads of well known musicians come and hang out at my studio and then on the day that she was there, she came out of the studio and they were just like literally rolling around on the ground completely out of control *laughs* it was really funny.
You’ve released 5 amazing albums over the years, any chance we will see another one in the future?
Oh yeah no doubt. I mean I’ve already written an albums worth of stuff. I just don’t feel compelled to release it at this point. I just feel you know I need to feel compelled to do these things. I really love all the songs I have written at the moment and I have sort of started formulating a plan of how I want to record them and how I want to make them sound. But yeah, I guess it’s just about trusting your instinct and my instincts are telling me to wait this time so that’s what I am going to do.
And finally, what is a day in the life of Josh Pyke like when you are not on tour?
*laughs* Well when I am not on tour it is fairly domestic because I have kids as we mentioned, so I am lucky enough to spend a lot of time with them. So I look after my 4 year old on Mondays and then I drop my kids off at school on Tuesday and Wednesday and pick them up. In between those times I am hanging out at my studio. So I go down and record stuff. Or what I’ve been trying to do if I’m not feeling inspired is I go out and meet up with another musician or another creative person and have kind of like a, not a meeting, but just a discussion because I find chatting to other creative people really inspiring. Then if possible I try and go to the beach or something like that. Kind of take advantage of this type of schedule I have made for myself over the years because I used to try and guilt myself out and just lock myself in the studio until I came out with something and it just doesn’t work like that. So I just let my instincts lead me to do what I want to do on any given day and just you know try and relax a bit.
Josh’s tour is not one you want to miss! You can see him at the following venues throughout November and December. Tix can be purchased through joshpyke.com
November 3rd – Byron Bay Brewery – Byron Bay
November 4th – Longpoint Vineyard – Port Maquarie
November 11th – Baroque Bar – Katoomba
November 12th – Canberra Theatre – Canberra
November 23rd – Ramsgate Hotel – Henley Beach
November 24th – Norwood Live – Norwood
November 30th – Mt Pleasant Tavern – Mackay
December 1st – Darymple Tavern – Townsville
December 2nd – Tanks Arts Centre – Cairns
December 8th – Sooki Lounge – Belgrave, VIC
December 9th – Karova Lounge – Ballarat
December 10th – Theatre Royal – Castlemaine