Pete Murray is without a doubt one of Australia’s most loved musicians.
Back in mid 2000s this Chinchilla-born artist had his first three full-length albums reach number one on the Australian Music Charts. It seems success seems to quietly follow this musician who cites Nick Drake and Bob Dylan as his greatest influences.
Now, almost 15 years on, and after a significant break from recording, Pete Murray is back with Camacho, a cruisey hip new offering that pulls away from the acoustic rock of the past, launching Murray into a very new zone.
This was all part of the plan, because the last thing Murray wanted to do with his music was replicate the past.
‘I wanted to do something different for sure,’ says Murray. ‘I really enjoyed the process. It’s totally the opposite of what I have done before. Even the way we recorded it. In the past I would get in the studio with a band in four weeks or so and I’d get the cuts down and have different grooves and then have the verse and chorus, and then we’d layer on top once we had it all together. This time I was writing stuff and finding loops and beats and using them as we recorded. We worked with Trials (AB Original), a hip-hop producer, for the beat side of it. The drum sounds are super fat, punchy even. And it’s a groove that sits on top of the music.’
This is a big sound that Murray is bringing to the stage. Recreating the album is something that he’s looking forward to.
‘For drums we have triggers and pads and we will take samples from recordings to play with the drums so we will make it bigger. We will probably make some elements of backing tracks as well to try and replicate the sound of the album.
‘I wanted to be very contemporary and doing something that had a fresher sound and not so old school,’ says Murray of Camacho.
‘I wanted to make something that would be around for a long time. The sound is rich; it’s not a pop band. Some of the songs have a lot of nostalgia…’
When I ask Murray how he writes his music, I get an unexpected response.
‘In the bathroom.’
There I was imagining him sitting on a deck at sunset watching the surf roll in. Or in his home studio. I wasn’t imagining him in the bathroom.
‘It’s a great place to make music,’ he laughs. ‘The sound is good, you aren’t distracted by anything, and you can’t look outside.’
Clearly this is the writing haunt of a procrastinator who wants to eliminate distraction.
Murray admits this is so. ‘It’s part of my personality to procrastinate!’
The album was recorded at Kicks Iron Studio on the Byron Arts and Industry Estate.
Releasing this album is pretty significant for Murray, who reflects on how different his life is from his dad’s. His dad died at the age Murray is now: 47.
‘He worked his whole life and sold his business. Mum had bought a caravan they were going to semi-retire. He had a heart attack and died two weeks after he stopped working. I didn’t want that to happen to me; I wanted to travel the world.’ And that’s what Murray has done.
That being so, the decisions Murray has made around this album have been very conscious ones.
‘I am not getting any younger, and I feel this is the most important album of my life. You are not the young dude everyone wants to go and see any more, so you have to do something that is going to draw people right in.’
Response so far has been pretty damn good.
‘I haven’t had the amount of positive press or feedback since Feeler’, says Murray. ‘I have set myself a goal to have an album that was great from start to finish. One reviewer said there are no weak moments on this album from start to finish – it’s the kind of feedback you want.
‘I feel good about it. I like it myself and for me there’s nothing in there that I don’t want to play live. I set that as a goal for myself; with this one, you want to love playing your album. I want every song on the album to be one I want to play live.’
And as it turns out it is. Catch Pete Murray tonight at Lismore City Hall when he kicks off his national tour.
For tickets and tour info go to petemurray.com.