Former Gang of Youths guitarist Joji Malani has launched a new solo project, Pei – a Fijian word for baby, pronounced “pay” – sharing debut single ‘Honest’.
Co-written and co-produced by Middle Kids‘ Tim Fitz, ‘Honest’ is a departure from the anthemic rock of Malani’s previous band, incorporating more folk and electronic influences; anchored by fingerpicked acoustic guitar and banjo, stirring strings and manipulated samples foregrounding Malani’s soft vocals.
“It’s hard to be honest about what we’re going through and how much it affects us. It’s not even the big stuff. Losing a job or the end of a relationship can distable us in ways we don’t expect and sometimes we’re too embarrassed to admit it and subdue the feeling,” Malani says of ‘Honest’ in an accompanying statement.
“But it manifests itself in other areas of your life and you can turn to things and become unrecognisable to those around you all for the sake of filling that void. I had two friends who were going through hardship but couldn’t be upfront with how it was affecting them. It was painful to watch them struggle and turn to things that you hadn’t seen them do before. We have all been there and this song is about relating to being in that spot and being real with each other. Because that’s a big part of friendship.”
‘Honest’ arrives through Malani’s own label, Broth Records, which he founded following his departure from Gang of Youths in 2019. Since its formation, its roster has expanded to include releases from Coconut Cream, Meteor Infant, Morgues, Dutch Mustard and Alex Rzyan.
Malani co-founded Gang of Youths in 2012, playing lead guitar on both 2015 debut The Positions and 2017’s Go Farther in Lightness before exiting in 2019.
Check out the accompanying video for ‘Honest’ below.