The very talented Pete Murray and his mate Benny Owen (former drummer of Ash Grunwald) have come up with an amazing new concept of combining their love of music and fitness to create a retreat for fans to attend and enjoy. Shannon-Lee Sloane had a chat with Pete about the retreat, his recent album and upcoming gigs.
So some exciting news! This Monday the first Music and Movements Escape retreat begins, a retreat aimed at music and fitness lovers, it is a great concept. How did this come about?
Pete: My friend Benny Owen used to be over 120kg’s and was basically known as the fat drummer. He came to me with this idea. He approached me a little while ago and it’s funny because I saw him a few years ago and he was always this big fella, always very jovial. I saw him at the blues fest a couple of years ago and it was Benny but it was super fit Benny and I was like Mate! What is happening? I didn’t even recognize him. He had lost so much weight and had been training hard and now he is training other people. So when he approached me a little while ago and we talked about doing something where we could combine both our passions of both music and fitness I thought it was a great idea. We talked about going to Elements resort which is here in Byron and it’s an amazing 5 star resort, a really great place. So we talked about doing this and then everything just kind of fell into place and we thought let’s give it a crack. We decided in November last year, let’s try and do one and we didn’t give ourselves much time, but we thought whoever is really interested will want to come along. We didn’t want a massive crowd either; we wanted it to be a kind of an intimate experience. What our goal is for this is to give people an opportunity to learn how to have a balanced life, you know, a combination of fitness and fun and music, all the stuff that we are into. Also it is to give them that opportunity to hang out with their favourite artist, and for this one obviously it’s me. So it gives my fans, not just an acoustic show, but the opportunity to come and train with me and hang out. So that’s what we want to do, with other artists as well, so the concept is to have other artists come and do this and enjoy the experience as well.
The retreat goes for 4 nights, what can guests expect from this magical escape?
Pete: So there is yoga, bush walks, horse riding, learning how to surf, fitness sessions, the gig and also Benny and his partner Lailani are taking groups out to different places to eat some nights as well. So giving people a chance to look around the town at the same time, it will be a really good experience for everyone to not just hang out at the resort but to get out and see Byron as well.
What have you been doing in the last few weeks leading up to now in preparation for the retreat?
Pete: Well, my job is to do the interviews and talk to people and tell everyone about it, so I have been busy doing that. I have been down to Sydney and done some TV shows, so lots of promo. We have been busy working out the structure and how it is going to happen. What is happening on what day and I have also been demoing some new songs, so there has been lots happening on that front as well, so it has been a pretty busy time for me. Plus we had a busy Christmas with the kids and I just had a little baby girl 3 weeks ago. So chuck that into the mix and I’m a busy man right now.
As you mentioned earlier, you’re working with Benny Owen on this venture. Who are some other artists you’ve enjoyed working with or touring with over the years?
Pete: I have plenty of good friends in the industry, Ash Grunwald, Bernard Fanning, Katie Noonen. I got Jimmy Barnes up on stage to sing with me once which was unbelievable because he is such a great guy and he has such a great voice, you know, his voice is so powerful and mine is soft and you know, trying to sing with him was difficult because he just blew me away. Kasey Chambers, I have done shows together with her before and we have toured together. I am sure I have forgotten a lot of people, I did my album, Blue Sky Blue and I got Bernard Fanning and Katie Noonen and Ash Grunwald to play on that with me. So in relation to recording projects I have worked with those guys, which was great fun. On the new album I did something different, I worked with a guy called Trials who is with A.B. Original, so he pop produces, so I worked with him on the beats for some of the new tracks for the new album. So that was a really good experience and I really enjoyed that. To see how he works and you know a very different world from mine.
I think my favourite album of yours has always been Feeler. I was living in a share house with other musicians and creative types at the time the album was released and we thrashed that album, so great memories for me…
Pete: Have you heard the new album, Camacho? Because it’s funny you know, I have been getting amazing reviews off this album like the same as I did with Feeler. I have been doing some other interviews and have been talking about how a lot of my fans have started to give feedback now, because that album has been around for maybe 6 months, and they are starting to list it as their favourite album and people are saying they never thought they would put another album before Feeler. It is an amazing feeling especially because Feeler is such a big album. My goal was to make this album as good as Feeler, so to get that feedback has been really positive and it feels like I’ve done the right thing.
What memories do you have of the time Feeler was released?
Pete: Yeah I had just had my first baby boy Charlie, who is now 14. A lot changed then from being recognizable, people noticing who you are and taking a second look at you and getting photos with you and autographs. When your life changes like that once, it changes forever. Which it is nice, it doesn’t bother me that stuff, I have always had pretty normal fans, so I have never had anyone who is a bit weird or crazy *laughs*
After the retreat you’ll be playing some more gigs through February and March, can you tell me a bit about those?
Pete: Yeah A Day On The Green, it is a good line up, James Blunt, Alex Lloyd, myself, should be good fun. A Day On The Green are always good fun to play, I like them.
And I believe there will be more Music and Movement retreats in the near future with dates to be announced soon?
Pete: Yeah we are just talking about that right now and just trying to work out what we will do and how we will do it for the next one.
So lots of positive and bright things happening for you at the moment, I am really happy to see such a talent being used as it should be. Thanks so much for chatting with me today Pete and thanks for the music.
The Music and Movements retreat commences this Monday the 12th of February. If you miss this one, be sure to keep an ear out for the next one. You can also catch Pete play the following gigs on these dates:
Feb 24th: Get Your Groove On – Bella Vista, NSW
March 10th: A Day On The Green – Sydney
March 11th: A Day On The Green – Mount Cotton, QLD
March 17th: A Day On The Green – Rutherglen, VIC
March 20th: A Day On The Green – Olympia, WA
For more information on the Music And Movement Retreats, check out this link: www.musicandmovementescapes.com
And for more on Pete Murray check out: