We caught up with the Aussie music mainstay to chat about all things music.
There’s no question that Pete Murray knows how to write a great song. From ‘Opportunity’ to ‘Feeler,’ his unique laidback acoustic rock vibes have garnered him a bunch of fans across the globe. We caught up with him ahead of the release of his new EP, The Night.
After an illustrious career now almost spanning two decades, Murray’s unwavering passion for music is still as strong as the day he started.
“I just try to write music that I enjoy playing live. I think that’s an important thing, rather than just trying to focus on following trends or whatever anyone else is doing. If you don’t enjoy what you’re doing, no one else will either,” he says.
Above all, live performance is what still keeps it interesting and fresh.
“Live performance is what I enjoy doing, so I write songs that I’m going to enjoy playing live.”
Murray’s mission to keep things fresh has resulted in a few different vibes on his upcoming release.
“I think there are a few slightly different melodies and feels that I might have done on this one. I still kinda do what I do but let’s take ‘If We Never Dance Again’ (a single from The Night), I write big choruses, but not to the same level as this one.”
The process behind The Night strayed from Murray’s approach to his previous releases, too, and saw him working with a number of co-writers. Although the process was foreign and a little nerve-racking, it helped to keep things exciting.
“I went overseas and did some co-writing with a few people on some of the tracks, so there was a bit of back and forth, then I came back home and did some stuff in my studio here. I don’t have a band in the studio with me, it was more kind of performing myself and having one or two session musos come in with a producer.
“I think doing those different styles of recording, going to different studios, you know, overseas and back home, keeps it pretty fresh as well. I think if I was doing the same thing all the time, the music would sound similar, and you might lose a bit of interest yourself.
“I was fairly nervous about [co-writing] to be honest. This time ’round for The Night, I was really trying to experiment and do that. You’re not just relying on yourself for melody and music, when you do hit a brick wall yourself, someone has to go, ‘Hang on, what about this?’ The bouncing ideas off each other is pretty exciting,” says Murray.
Murray’s music is undoubtedly sincere and emotional, written from the heart and usually penned solo, or with a select number of people who truly understand where he’s coming from, which meant the idea of co-writing took some getting used to.
“It was pretty nerve-racking because I knew I was going to be writing with a lot of experienced writers, guys that’d been doing it for a long time, and I was very concerned that I wouldn’t bring much to the table, that was my fear, I think.
“So the very first song that I did in the first writing session in L.A, I pretty much wrote 99 per cent of it before I went in there, I had a fair bit done.”
Usually one to release full-length albums, the sessions for The Night were only ever intended to result in a handful of tracks.
“We were always looking at doing an EP for this release.”
Music in 2021 looks a lot different to when Murray first came on the scene back in the early 2000s. Gone are the days of buying full albums; nowadays, people consume music in a smaller way, often only streaming one or two songs at a time from their favourite artists.
“The younger generation is really flying through music,” says Murray.
This is something he factors in when making music.
“I think times have changed a lot, with the streaming sites you’re probably going to get a bit more bang for your buck.
“I don’t know if people have got the time to listen to an album anymore, attention spans can be so small now, I think it was the right way to go, to put an EP out.”
When songs are consumed without the context of the album, there is more emphasis placed on music videos, which is definitely the case for Murray’s single from The Night, ‘If We Never Dance Again.’ It’s a heartfelt piece of music with a video that matches the intimate nature of the track.
“It’s a really powerful and emotional clip, and it suits the song. It was more about having some beautiful, cinematic footage, that people will get caught up and really watch and ask questions like, ‘What’s really happening?’ ‘Is she alive?’, ‘Is she dead?’, ‘Is she here?’, ‘Have they broken up?’, ‘What’s going on?’
“The clip’s been shot really well. We thought it might be nice to have little snippet of me in the rear vision mirror driving, we did have it in there at one stage, but I went, ‘Nah take it out’ I didn’t need to be in there,” he laughs.
2020 will always go down as the year the world went without live performances, but our scenario Down Under has seen the slow return of festivals and gigs, allowing us to experience some semblance of normality.
One of these upcoming festivals is the By The C Festival, that includes acts like Icehouse, James Reyne, Baby Animals and, of course, Pete Murray.
“That’s a great fun festival on the beach. Playing-wise, it’s hard not to do the bigger songs, but I am throwing in a couple of new ones in there as well.”