Pete Murray is all for trying new things. The singer songwriter is reworking a number of tracks – including from last year’s release, Camacho – into a looping, stomping, harmonised acoustic show which, even by his own standards, is going to be something special. He’s also about to re-launch his career in the United Kingdom, as well as going back to his roots playing smaller pub-style venues on his upcoming Australian tour dates.
‘Heartbeats’, the latest single from Camacho, has been released as a remix by none other than Peter Mayes – one half of ARIA-winning dance duo PNAU. For Murray, life is all about experiences, and as he tells Music Feeds, there are plenty of those on his horizon.
Music Feeds: So before we get too far into what’s coming up – tell us about the Movements & Music retreat a couple months back?
Pete Murray: Oh yeah, it was actually really awesome. So I’m just talking to Kasey Chambers at the moment, who’s interested in doing one, and Busby Marou. So yeah, just seeing if we can get those guys involved, seeing if it’s going to work with their touring schedules. And then I’ll do another one in probably March next year, I think. But yeah, it was really great, the feedback’s been super positive. Everyone that came along to the first one absolutely loved it. It’s such a unique concept I think. We weren’t sure how everyone would go, like would we just get people that wanted to come for the gig; would they not want to get involved with the fitness side of things and all of the activities and things that were involved in it? But everyone did everything, you know, there was yoga in the mornings first thing, then a training session every day, there was horse riding and learn to surf lessons, so it was great, and everyone just absolutely loved it. The gig on the beach there was pretty special too.
MF: You were taking people through your recording studio at home as well, weren’t you?
PM: Oh yeah that was great. That was like a VIP experience we had, so people could pay a bit more and come sit in the studio and go through some different albums, different songs… it was awesome actually, everyone loved it because nobody gets the opportunity to do that. So I think that was the really big thing; all the guys that did it went, “That was really great” and the ones that didn’t do it, when they found out about it went, “oh, we would’ve done that,” but I just don’t think people really understood what it was about. But you could sit in the studio, go through all the songs and really break them down and talk about the whole process, which I think was a unique insight for some.
MF: You’ve got the new single Heartbeats out now but you’ve released it as a remix – how did that one come about?
PM: Yeah, my tour manager was the tour manager for PNAU so originally when I wrote this song I was actually interested in having a full on the floor groove, and then as we kind of went into the recording process I kind of lost that idea and ended up with something a little bit different. But I always wanted to hear it with a bit of a full on the floor groove to it; a bit more of a dance flavour. So I asked my tour manager to talk to the guys in PNAU and Peter Mayes, to see if he was interested in doing the remix. So we sent him the song, he loved it and was super keen on it.
So the next thing was we needed to have a chat, like, ‘alright – how do we do this?’ Because you can’t just jump in and make this a big PNAU song. I mean, he could’ve, it kind of lends itself to do that. But yeah, we had to talk about how to do it. So I kind of sent him more in the direction of a Coldplay vibe, rather than too dancey; but his mix is fantastic. I really like it.
I let him have his way. It’s all his mix, I just said at the start, “this is where I think you should take it” to give him that direction but yeah, didn’t really make too many comments at the end, either. So, he didn’t have to make any changes because I thought what he’d done was great. I didn’t feel like he needed to change it too much at all, which yeah, was really cool.
MF: Is that the sort of thing you think you might do again?
PM: Yeah, I think so, for sure. I wouldn’t even mind letting someone like him take it even further into the dance world; just to like go for gold and see what he can come up with. I think it would be interesting to do that.
MF: I was checking out your tour dates, and couldn’t help noticing there’s a sneaky little Maldives show in there before your Aussie dates begin – taking a working holiday?
PM: Yes! Yeah, I know, that’s going to be a good one. I’ve played there, I think last year? It’s an awesome place. I’ve put a couple of posts up on socials about that, just so people know it’s happening. I mean, if you’ve got the money…and you want a really great experience you should get over there and check it out, because it’s so good. I mean, life’s about experiences as far as I’m concerned, so if you can go and do something like that – if you’re a fan of the music of course, and you want to come and see me in a little intimate setting – it’s beautiful.
People can go and check out the perfect wave, and they’re a surf company so they take people on these little surf trips all over the place. But yeah, they’ve come up with the idea of having artists come over and play in some of these places now. It’s a really good one – Kandooma Resort is the place where we’re doing it – it’s really nice, it’s nice and relaxing and so beautiful; if you don’t surf there’s still great swimming and snorkelling and a nice pool, and the suite is really amazing. It’s pretty killer.
MF: Well it sounds unreal. And for you, you get to make it a working holiday as well.
PM: Yeah, well I’ve actually got to go to the UK the week before it. So I’ve got to go to the UK, then stop and do a couple shows in the Maldives, squeeze in some surfing, come home and then I’ve got the mid-year tour a couple weeks – or a week, actually – after that I think it is. So it’s a pretty busy time of year for me, once we hit June.
My album is about to drop [in the UK] now. We’ve been signed up with the record label for a number of years and the Australian company has been awesome to me here, but overseas they haven’t really done anything for me. So that’s all finished now so I’m basically looking to start making music over there and build it all up, back to doing the hard yards and playing lots of shows and just starting from scratch over there I guess. There’s a bit of a fan base in Holland and the UK I guess, so we can build on something. I think if you’ve got a good show and you’ve got good songs people will want to hear it.
MF: So no sneaky Aussie shows squeezed in between now and then?
PM: No, nothing in Australia til the mid-year shows, which I think is the end of June then through July and August.
MF: Then you have a lot of show dates in Australia, starting in June. How do you prepare for such an extensive tour?
PM: Well, it’s all over the weekends, so it’s not too bad! You know, once you’ve got your crew together and your band you just go and play a handful of shows then come home for a few days then go and do it again. So I think that’s the beauty of it – you’re not out on the road permanently for the whole three months, you get that break and come home.
I think a couple of those shows have sold out already, which is good. And look I think a lot of them are more the pub type venues, which is such a good vibe. It might not be the most comfortable for some people, some people prefer to go sit in a theatre to watch you play; but it’s just so much fun, you know. We don’t often get to go to these smaller venues any more, but it’s great fun and such a different vibe. I’m really looking forward to it actually, it’ll be a lot of fun.
MF: And this is a three-piece tour, is that right?
PM: Yeah, I’m playing acoustic, then we’ve got Simon Fisenden is playing bass, and Brett Wood is playing electric guitar and acoustic guitar. We’re doing things like making loops on the guitar, and we’ve got some programmed beats and loops ready to go and we’ve got the stomp as well. So some tracks will be loops and stomp and some will just be acoustic and three-part harmonies. So yeah, it’ll be nice and lush but also have a good vibe and a good groove happening with a lot of the tracks. It’ll be very different to anything I’ve done.
MF: Well Camacho did have a lot of heavier bluesy elements to it, how you were going to translate that acoustically for this tour?
PM: Well yeah, it’s true. There’s a lot of bluesy elements there for sure. It’s still going to be bluesy, Brett’s playing electric so we’ll still be able to get some of those bluesy elements in some of the tones that he’s playing. Plus we’ve got the bass, and some of the beats and loops will just fatten things up.
MF: And stomp as well, obviously.
PM: Yeah, and the stomp as well, exactly. So I think the main thing will be getting those three-part harmonies cutting through. It’s actually quite funny, we had a rehearsal the other day and I just recorded it on my phone and been listening to it and it’s great! It’s actually really, really, exciting. So much so I’m actually thinking about recording it, even just to sell at the shows or something because there’s a really cool vibe to it.
MF: Does it kind of take you back to your original song writing process, the acoustic vibe?
PM: Yeah, I’ve always kind of written that way anyway, except for the last album, I started to write songs on acoustic but I would also add a drum loop to it. So, that was the difference, where in the past I would sort of jump in with the band and put it together, but this time using loops and beats. But when we rehearse this stuff it’s a bit different because some of the loops and stuff are just on the guitar, you know, you do a bit of a beat on the guitar and that tone it creates is something different again. We’re trying to keep some of the songs fresh-sounding for people, so it’s interesting when you do something new like that, it sounds great and you kind of go, “wow, why didn’t I do that in the first place?”