Josh Pyke: ‘It was a really liberated album to make’

On the cusp of releasing his fifth album But For All These Shrinking Hearts, Josh Pyke’s career as a musician is more than just a day job; it is an obsession. “Recording is my passion, touring is my passion, writing songs is a compulsion, so I’d be unhappy doing anything else,” shares Pyke with PPcorn. “I just want to play gigs, and release music to people who genuinely value it. If I can keep doing that, I’d be satisfied.”

The Australian singer/songwriter unleashed the single, “Hollering Hearts” recently, and the ukulele driven tune taps into the creativity and passion that drives Pyke as an artist. “The song is basically about following the thing that makes your heart holler. A passion, a compulsion, sometimes an obsession. Whatever gives you the most joy and the most challenge is worth pursuing. “

Using the song as a springboard for a quirky and fun video clip titled, ‘Josh Pyke’s guide to the human body,’ we see Pyke dress up in a skeleton suit as he is built together. “The clip kinda jumped off the line “make these aching bones brand new,” and so we’re building up the body from a skeleton all the way to being the “real” me.”

While it looks like a lot of fun, the hazards of working long hours on the set of a video clip are not lost on Pyke; especially when they involve wearing plenty of makeup and costumes. “Clips are always fun to conceptualize and come up with the ideas, but funnily enough it’s not that fun standing in a cold studio in a body suit and thick face makeup for four hours!”

Inevitably though, the hard work pays off. “I always get involved with these elaborate clips and get very excited, but the reality of making most of them is that it’s quite hard work. It’s definitely worth it when you see the end results, though.”

Just as the film clip represents the making of Pyke, so does his upcoming album. Intuitively creative, the project was written and recorded in the space of two years, free of the restraints of deadlines and the pressure of publicity.

“All my albums are intensely personal, and are statements of my life and my creative outlook. So Shrinking Hearts represents exactly where I’m at creatively and personally at this point in my life. It’s hard for me to think of my records as anything but snapshots of my life. So whatever they’re portraying, I love them because they’re honest portrayals,” he says.

Working with John Castle (Megan Washington, Vance Joy), the singer recorded at different studios in Sydney before having the final product mixed in Melbourne. “Moving around between different studios really kept things fresh and creative. It was really collaborative. Between he and I, we played all the instruments, (except strings and horns), and basically just explored sounds and ideas with no big plan or agenda. It was a really liberated album to make.”

Announcing his Fans First shows, the ARIA award winner is giving his fans the ultimate gift; a taste of his new music before the rest of the general public hears it. Going to four venues across the east coast of Australia in the next few weeks, he’s giving people the chance to see him up close and personal.

“They’re always really cool, intimate and casual affairs. They are my way of thanking the audience who has always been there for me, and it’s fun to play small venues before kicking off into the touring cycle where I’ll play much bigger venues and festivals. I play solo, and it’s always a little shambolic, but always a lot of fun.”

Well established in his career, Pyke has learnt how to balance life on tour with his home life. “Luckily my balance of tour/work/home is pretty great these days. It was really hard early on, but now days I spend quite a few months off the road every year, and when I do tour in Australia I try to do a maximum of four days away and three at home.” He shares.

“When I tour overseas it’s obviously harder, but technology is pretty amazing for that side of things now. FaceTime, even just calling often, makes things much easier.”

Ultimately, Pyke wouldn’t be doing anything else. And it is apparent that he simply loves the creative process. “It’s just what I do. I spend four days a week in my studio, and the rest of the time I’m thinking about music. It’s not hard to be inspired and refreshed when you’re engaged in something that you love.”

On the verge of releasing But For All These Shrinking Hearts, there is still more to come from Pyke. His source of creativity and passion is limitless, and that it was motivates him everyday. “I still get excited at the idea of writing a song that no one has ever thought of before. I find that pretty much like a miracle, that songs are constantly being written for the first time. That’s an inspiration in itself.”

Josh Pyke’s album But For All These Shrinking Hearts is released on July 31.