Speaking to a friend our writer was sharing the exciting news that she’d be interviewing musician Josh Pyke about his upcoming Lone Wolf tour. Her announcement was met with squeals and questions, from when the tour was beginning to what questions were going to be asked. Christie Ots took that enthusiasm into her interview with Pyke about the Lone Wolf tour, which kicks off 14 February 2014 in Tasmania.
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The first thing that struck me about Pyke was how friendly he was, living up to his reputation of being a lovely and easygoing guy. When asked about the more intimate settings for his Lone Wolf tour Pyke explained, “I just thought, because it’s a solo tour, I just wanted to play in a few venues where I could properly engage with the audience. Venues like the Old Museum, that are more conducive to having an interactive experience”.
Performing without a band this time around, Pyke is touring his latest album The Beginning and the End of Everything, an album that was written while touring for his previous album Only Sparrows. This album was recorded mostly at Pyke’s home, and many have commented on the ambient noises you can hear in the background, but what about the emotional impact on the record?
“It’s a great feeling to be able go down to the studio whenever I want and inspiration strikes, as opposed to having to go in for a few hours and say okay I have to do this,” Pyke said. “It could be 10 o’clock at night and if I have an idea I could pop down and record it. Most of the time that you’re writing music you’re just sitting around waiting for inspiration, like a lightning strike, so you can’t force it and with this I wasn’t feeling the pressure and looking at the clock.”
The Beginning and the End of Everything seems to have a very relaxed feel, which belies the stereotype that all musicians are tortured souls and Pyke seems to agree, “I’ve always said I wouldn’t trade my happiness for a good song, but everyone has a balance, even if you’re the Dali Lama you aren’t going to be the happiest person in the world.”
“My way of dealing with negative things or dark times has always been to write a song about it to figure out what to do. I don’t think it’s necessary to be a depressed mess to write songs, but even if you’re a sane and comfortable person, you’re going to have periods where you are struggling with stuff. Some people talk to their web design creative buddies or go to therapy and my thing is to write songs about it. Luckily I have been able to make a career out of that.”
Joking about his penchant for touring Pyke laughs about the year he spent 76% of the year in hotel rooms. “Touring as much as I do kind of helps that in some ways because that can be a very fragile place. You’re pretty raw and tired when you’re on the road, having ups and downs with shows, so for me it’s the best place to write which is fortunate because I tour a lot.”
One of the most appealing things is how relatable he is, just like the rest of us who’re searching for something, “I feel like the character Augie March, from The Adventures of Augie March is someone I relate to. It’s hard to explain, but I feel like there’s a vibe in some people, of always searching for something. I don’t think that’s unique to me, but I feel like there are people in books and in history who are always searching for something. It’s not necessarily about finding it, that’s just been a recurring theme in my life and definitely my song writing.”
His music reflects his straightforward and insightful view on the small details of making music. When asked how he finds the titles of his songs Pyke elaborates, “It’s usually just a line from the song. I remember years ago when I was in my first punk band and we would always name the songs something totally different to what it was about. Then I worked in a record store and people would come into the store and say I want that song, I don’t know the name, but the chorus goes like this… and I would be like Okay well I know the chorus so I know the song. It made me realize that just for the ease of finding the material you might as well just call the song the chorus words. It doesn’t really matter because the song is much more important than the title.”
Letting my excitement for the Lone Wolf tour infiltrate my voice I asked Pyke if there were any surprises that we could expect in the upcoming tour,
“The looping thing seems to surprise people a lot,” he mused, “I use a looping pedal in my live solo shows, which allows you to come up with little tricks and things. It can lead to some pretty wild moments where things go very badly wrong as well, which is cool – it’s all part of the drama. That’s something people may or may not look forward to,” Pyke laughed.
Finally as the conversation wound to a close, Pyke shared one last thing with our readers, “If you open yourself up to the world, the world will open itself up to you; that is genuinely what I think”.
The Lone Wolf tour starts February 14th, 2014 in Hobart and travels around Australia. For more information, check out http://joshpyke.com/joshpyke/