FEATURE: Josh Pyke
By Alana Mazurke
Tomorrow night the amicable Josh Pyke will bring his Lone Wolf tour to the Melbourne Zoo Twilights, showcasing his ever talented ability to capture audiences. Last year saw the release of fourth LP The Beginning and End of Everything featuring latest single ‘Leeward Side’ and after making its way into the recent JJJ Hottest 100 vote, will undoubtedly be performed on Pyke’s first ever major national solo tour.
“I was most attracted to playing the Zoo Twilights actually; I haven’t yet been to one but I had heard a lot of really great things and they’re always successful…to be honest it was a bit of a no brainier.”
The tour which sees a lot of eclectic venue types was a continuing theme from agreeing to play the Melbourne Zoo. “It was the first show I had decided on and we filled the rest of the tour around it. It lead the way into finding venues to play at with a bit of difference.” The tour which began early February has already seen four sold out shows to which Pyke couldn’t be more humbled. “It’s definitely the better way to start off a tour!”
“I’ve done lots of solo touring but I’ve never done capital city solo touring; it’s only ever been quite rurally as a way to get my music out to regional areas. It can be quite prohibitive taking a van out to places like Broome or even Darwin.”
Pyke has had more than a lengthy career as a musician, starting out in 2003 with single ‘Kids Don’t Sell Their Hopes So Fast’ and having been in a band for 8 years prior; touring throughout calls for a constant reinvention of performances. “Australia’s a pretty small place to tour and so you have to give people something different every time – either with a band, or different arrangements and venues and you know playing solo, I really have to reinvent a lot of the songs. It’s been a really fun experience but when you play these songs live I mean I can, but also the audience can relate to the songs in a different way and kind of get a different meaning from them.”
“I think there are more songs in me that I’ll ever have time to write. Music has been the vehicle behind my ambition but I don’t think I’ll ever stop feeling the need to kind of push against something to challenge myself whether it’s musically or having a family…”
In a time of firsts, the Lone Wolf tour will soon become available to listen on repeat for each show will be recorded live and released on CD. Coming from a lengthy desire to record his shows live, Pyke has opted this tour to be the release of previous lament. “I’ve done a lot of shows in my life but I’ve never rerecorded a live CD, we’ve mainly felt like it was time to do that and playing a solo show would give it a point of difference from my records. It was also born out of a bit of regret on the last tour, we did this amazing run of shows in all these different theatres, where we rearranged a lot of the songs with violins, auto harps, banjos… a lot of instrumentation and I really wanted to record them at the time but we just couldn’t get it happening…I’ve always regretted that.”
Though the career spanning eleven years has seen a lot of ups for Josh; providing what I feel to be some of the finest contemporary folk music in Australia to date and without a doubt upholding a major presence as a figure in the Australian music industry. Surprisingly contrary to my belief, this hasn’t always been reciprocated from Josh Pyke himself. “There was a point where it was either make it or break it or just quit…to be honest that’s pretty much what every other artist I knew at that point who was doing music had done. I just didn’t have it in me to quit and whether or not that was smart or dumb I still don’t quite know. The first single ‘Kids Don’t Sell Their Hopes So Fast’ was a demo that got onto high rotation on JJJ so from that point on it was really about capitalising on opportunity and being mentally ready to throw my hat in the ring and go for it…”
“…From that point until a few years ago I really didn’t feel established. I felt like I was dodging a bullet every time a record went well and even then I was still kind of hustling to keep going and keep finding those opportunities. It’s really only been in the last, well really since this records come out that I really feel like, I wouldn’t say that I feel established but can say I feel like I’ve done enough now to feel comfortable in what I’ve achieved; I still feel really ambitious but I definitely feel like I’ve done what I’ve set out to do.”
There is a real drive and ambition behind Josh Pyke in him and in his music. It’s so intriguing to hear the way he talks about his desire to capture audiences and how he really transforms each show to make it something extremely special for the punters. The ability to create an aesthetic of a live performance where the relationship between performer and audience is not only intimate but engaging is something that Pyke does extremely well and the only way to understand is to experience firsthand.
Details about the Lone Wolf tour and ticket information are below.
February 28th // Melbourne Zoo Twilights
Tickets & Info here.
March 7th // Cairns
March 12th & 13th // Perth
March 21st // Newcastle
March 22nd // Canberra
Tickets & Info here.
Listen to latest track ‘Leeward Side’ here.