Vulture Chats with Pete Murray
Pete Murray, you surly, genetically blessed, vocally seducing son of a bee sting. We at Vulture Magazine had a chat to said bee sting on the cusp of his first national Australian tour.
How is life in Byron Bay treating you as opposed to Brisbane?
Oh, it’s awesome. Byron’s fantastic. I love it, it’s just a great community here in Byron, yeah I just can’t say enough nice things about it. And, I mean, I’m kind of over the city too. I’ve got a lot of friends in Brisbane, but it’s nice to be out of the hustle and bustle. I had to go to Sydney the other day for a bit of promo stuff, and I was driving through the street as I do in Byron and I was just getting so many honks and beeps and stuff, so um, yeah it’s just kind of nice to be here and kick back after a tour run.
Are you back in Byron now?
I’m back in Byron, yeah. Tomorrow I’m heading over to Western Australia, start another two weeks on the tour, so um, just staying at home for a bit.
So what can the fans expect from this tour?
Well this is the first solo tour I’ve done so, I kinda just want these shows to be very laid back (sic) like people are in my lounge room, watching and if they wanna hear a song they can yell it out, or if they want to ask me a question or something they can ask that question. But really it’s about having a good time. During the show too, I’ve got a support act, a Byron Bay guy, he does beat boxing and plays guitar and stuff on stage with me and I play stomp box and acoustic and harmonica and my guitar tech is also my bass player in the band so he jumps into the bass and we kind of get this really peachy community kind of groove with the tracks.
Sounds good! Sounds eclectic and will appeal to a lot of people. That’ll be good. So how long was the recording process for this album?
Ah, yeah it was…gee..not too long really, it was done pretty quickly. I remember I spent a week doing the acoustic versions of the songs cuz this is a remake of the Blue Sky Blue album, which is an electric album and I spent a week trying some different versions, then I got some other players in and tried another style, just different vibes again with these tracks and then once we had the beds down, that’s when our guitar parts are sent off to some of the other artists that are involved and they kinda got back to me whenever they could. Busby Marou came into the studio and recorded here, but all the other guys, Ash Grunwald recorded the guitar at his place, Bernard Fanning pre-recorded his track in LA, and Katie Noonan recorded at a studio in Brisbane as well. So I dunno, probably a month to like, five weeks. It wasn’t long.
So as you mentioned, Busby Marou and Katie Noonan, there were a lot of collaborations on this record, is that on purpose, is that something you just always wanted to do?
Well my myself and management talked about eighteen months ago about what we should do that’s different, that I haven’t done in Australia before, and I hadn’t done a solo national tour, so I thought let’s do that, and then never worked with any other artists before so we thought let’s do that as well. So even though we didn’t write the songs together, just having those guys have their input and the way that they add their flavour to the track I guess is the thing that I got from them. And in the song, ‘Blue Sky Blue’, with Natalie Pa’apa’a (from Blue King Brown) wrote the part then we had to find someone else to perform it because she was overseas on tour so we had to find a girl called Fantine to do that part. It was great to develop on that version that Natalie wrote, the rap and the rhyme for that ‘Blue Sky Blue’ part, I think that’s the real difference out of all the tracks, that stands out to being the difference for me, although you’ve got the other songs obviously, with people like Katie Noonan, I mean, you know Katie’s voice is so haunting and so perfect for that track, ‘Hold It All For Love’.
Yes, I listened to it last night, I love the acoustic version of ‘Led’. I like all acoustic but that song particularly sat with me.
That’s got a great groove to it that one, it’s really nice. It’s got a soulful kind of groove.
So have you got a dream collaboration now that you’ve got a taste for it?
Ahh, yeah I dunno. It’d be nice to actually nice to sit down and write something with someone one day, rather than have the songs done and then sent off. I dunno who I’d like to work with darl, I haven’t thought that far, but this is a great start definitely. I’m good mates with all these guys to start with, but I admire their work too, I’m a big fan of what they do so I’m very blessed that they had the time to be a part of it.
So you’ve already started the tour, is there a favourite song to perform of it (the record)?
Not really, no, I’m enjoying it all. It’s really just good fun. Whatever happens live and whatever songs we do, they’re all good fun and it is a fun tour, you know, if people want to hear a song, just yell out or if they want to ask a question just yell out, so that’s the whole idea of this, is just to have fun with it. A lot of people really feel that they are in my lounge room.
Yeah, it sounds interactive. It’ll be good to check out. Well, your personal life has suffered some setbacks, yet I found this album was surprisingly upbeat, it wasn’t melancholy, or anything like that so, I guess the question is did the personal aspect play much into the writing process with this album?
Yeah well I always kind of write about personal experience, but for this you know, I kind of wanted it to be a very positive thing, going through a breakup, I didn’t want it to be a negative album or bitter or anything. It’s kind of positive and you know, moving forward, and looking forward to the future I guess.
Yep, always gotta be moving forward mate. Ok, so what’s your proudest moment so far?
That’s tough, I mean, there’s been so many great things, so many great festivals I’ve played at, so many great live gigs that have been amazing. Ummm, I mean obviously having two children, two boys, it’s a very proud moment when you have kids for the first time. Uniquely I think, probably having a bit of a jam and play along with my kids.
Really? They’re musical?
Yeah, well Charlie, the eldest son, he’s nine, he’s pretty musical, he’s starting to get into it. My youngest one, he’s five, Pedro, he’s a bit of a thug, so he’ll probably do security for me I think (laughs).
A thug? Why, does he beat up his brother?
Yeah, he’s a bit tough. He gets a bit fiery.
Alright so what’s your favourite city to perform in? Worldwide, any city.
Uhhhh, you know what, it depends on the crowd. Depends what the crowds like. It’s a hard one to say. You know I like going overseas because, that’s exciting, I mean anywhere overseas is quite fun. I’ve done a lot of great shows in Amsterdam. Amsterdam is a pretty cool city. Holland has got a few great places. It’s hard to name one to be honest. I really couldn’t. It’d be too hard.
If you could punch, kick or slap any past or current musician, who would it be and why?
Anyone that just grinds your gears? You don’t like their music? You don’t like their message?
Anyone that, a few guys have done it too, anyone that walks on stage and are kinda not happy with how big the crowd is, then walk off. For example, Liam Gallagher (of Oasis). He did a show in Brisbane one time and he had like, three thousand people at the entertainment centre, and apparently he just played like four songs and then walked off. Then Noel had to sing the rest of the set. I mean that guy deserves a slap for doing that.
You would never do that to us, would you?
Nahh, of couse I wouldn’t do it. Anyone like that that has just got a massive ego, needs to be kicked or slapped, whatever.
Do you have a five year plan?
Um, still working on that at the moment. I guess I‘m looking at doing this next album. Hopefully I can record that by the end of this year, or early next year.
Planning the next one already??!
Yeah, yeah! I’d like to get onto that. Still working on what direction I’m going with that. I’m sure I’ll work it out pretty soon.
Pete Murray tours nationally Feb – April 2013. Ticket info from www.petemurray.com