Pinkiscool on his heartfelt new ballad, ‘Surface’, and where to from here

Pinkiscool on his heartfelt new ballad, ‘Surface’, and where to from here

Words by Benjamin Lamb

Pinkiscool gets raw and emotional on his latest single.

It’s clear ‘Surface’ comes from an artist with a rich musical history; its harmonies, reminiscent of old-school jazz mingle with modern folk instrumentation and elements of classic electronica. 

This amalgamation is a culmination of Tyler Murray’s broad musical taste which influences his sonic identity as pinkiscool.

“There’s a lot of different avenues where it all comes from. Growing up, Mum and Dad put on records by Miles Davis, Ella Fitzgerald, all that kind of stuff. Then in school, I joined a rock program called RockLab, and you’d write songs,” explains Murray.

“It’s where I met one of my teachers, Rob, who was the first one to introduce me to the idea that if you want to record something you’re gonna need this interface, this microphone…”

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An important element of pinkiscool’s music is who he works with behind the scenes. It’s Murray’s intention to collaborate with as many people as he can in the Australian music industry.

Coming to the recording stage with an immense knowledge, he’s able to gel with producers and engineers and get the most out of the process. 

For ‘Surface’, he was joined by longtime collaborator Cyrus Villanueva and engineer Nick Rowse, who has also been there since the early pinkiscool days. 

“I’ve been working with him since my first release, ‘Monday’. He’s an incredibly talented dude.”

“We also had a guy, Darren Ziesing, who is a mastering engineer, one of the best mastering engineers I’ve ever worked with,” says Murray.

“I’ve tried a couple of other mixing engineers, and they’re incredibly talented people, but don’t always get the sound I specifically want. I’m in tune with the audio engineering, mixing and mastering and all that stuff, probably to the point where it’s annoying,” he laughs.

Another key component of pinkiscool’s music is the lyrics. His music is introspective and gives listeners a glimpse into his personal life.

But it does beg the question, is it difficult for other people to fit into such an emotional and personal process?

“It depends on who I’m working with. Sometimes it just clicks and I’ll come in and I’ll have a chat with them for like two hours, before we even start. Talk about what’s going on in my life, about what’s going on the other person’s life, just see what’s up emotionally.

“I feel like that’s how honest art is made, as opposed to just trying to write a song that will get on the radio or something. That is usually how I start, and then we’ll make an instrumental that like, relates to the feeling of what we talked about. And then we’ll dive in lyrically from there,” he says.

As an artist, puts a great level of consideration and energy into the visual components of his work.

“I saw everything visually, from the first day. I had the visual in my head, I’m that way with everything. It’s not synesthesia, I just knew I wanted it to be in the water, and sunset, so it’s a little bit dreamy, trippy, or whatever,” he says.

“Visuals are huge for me.”

After signing with Sony Music, there’s a lot in the works for pinkiscool. When COVID-19 restrictions begin to lift, there’s scope to take ‘Surface’ and his other hit songs on the road.

“Hopefully when everything opens back up, I’ll start doing heaps more live stuff, and definitely get on a festival circuit or something.”

There’s also an EP on the horizon, which will be full of the songs he’s been releasing over the last few years.

“I think I write a lot. And my process is to choose the [songs] that fit together. Even if they’re musically different, at least emotionally and lyrically they might relate to each other in a certain way. It will be really small things that kind of connect them and make them a bit more coherent.”

“I think if I was ever going to write with the intention of like a full collection of work, I’d have to be working on a 12-song album, or something I can really focus on. [This EP] is more a collection of songs that relate to each other, and have their own individual meaning and purpose.”

‘Surface’ is out now on most streaming services. Find out more about pinkiscool here.