It’s been some time between innings for Pete Murray. The much-beloved singer-songwriter released his last record, Blue Sky Blue, in 2011 and is now looking forward to releasing his next record, Camacho, this coming June.
‘I was trying to work on a different sound. It doesn’t come easy and you need to take the time to work it out,’ Murray said, ‘it takes time when you change things up, you just can’t jump in the studio and do that. I was inspired to do something new.’
By a different sound, Murray started to listen to more than the usual folk-rock catalogue comprised mainly of Young, Dylan and Finn. Murray explored genres of hip-hop and electronic music in order to reconfigure his ideas surrounding production. As a result, he enlisted the help of notable hip-hop producers, Trails from A.B. Original and One Above from Hilltop Hoods, to obtain that new sound.
‘I would get some ideas down on Garageband, and I would send them off to Trials and he would return them and they would have this added big fat sound. I was trying to break down the barriers of my world and enter his world, and it was a lot of fun.’
Of course, another reason for the break was for Murray to spend time with his two boys. After constantly touring, Murray found his music lifestyle testing.
‘I tend to write about life experiences, so that time was challenging. Coming out of a marriage breakup, and it was a few years there, being away from your kids, it’s a really hard thing to deal with as a dad. It was a challenging time to be alone.’
‘During that time, you tend to learn about yourself and I feel better for it.’
With time to spend with his family, Murray felt rejuvenated and refreshed, an aura that he believed directly translated into the new record.
‘The positivity in the songs is a reflection of where I’m at, having kids and being a dad, a new marriage, it’s all reflected in the album. It’s positive, it’s fun, that’s what I want to get when I’m playing this album, touring it live. Especially compared to the old stuff, it’s really upbeat.’
‘With this album, I wanted to make sure I have fun doing it. I want to play these songs for a long time and I want this album to be consistent from start to finish. I don’t want any songs on the album that I don’t want to play. There have been songs on my previous albums that I wouldn’t want to play live and I don’t want to feel that way about this album.’
Murray’s musical journey started later than most. At age 22, Murray first picked up a guitar. It wasn’t until he was 30 that he released his first album. Achieving his success at a (relatively) old age has given Murray a drive that success can come at any time, particularly when it’s fairly due.
‘I feel lucky that I can actually have a career starting late. It’s not easy, actually maybe one of the hardest things you can do. I believe you can achieve success at any age, people respond to good songs,' Murray said, 'if you can write good music, then it’s going to get out there. It may not be commercial radio, but these days, your music can get there to a lot more people thanks to streaming.’
For many Australians, Murray is renowned and loved for his breakout sophomore record, See The Sun, which featured hits such as ‘So Beautiful’, ‘Opportunity’ and ‘Better Days’. While Murray acknowledges the connection that many people have with those songs, Murray has an underlying feeling that the general public have a fixed perception of who he is as an artist
‘I want to change the perception of some people, those who only know the singles and tend to judge me on my singles. You know I get the odd comment of like ‘Do you ever get sick of putting people to sleep with your songs?’ and it’s pretty frustrating cause they’re only referring to songs like ‘So Beautiful’ and they don’t hear what else you’re doing,' Murray said, 'not everyone has to be a fan, but I want this album to be played at a party and would fit in. You could turn it up, it’s got groove and beats and I want people to enjoy it with energy.’
‘I want it so you could put it on and people would have a new perception of this sound. I’m very well known for acoustic and mellow songs and that’s what people are used to hearing and that’s the frustrating part of music I guess.’
Murray felt that label pressures led to him being cast in such a light and as a result, directed the sonic direction of his new record.
‘Sometimes when the label is listening to the album and they pick the slow, acoustic songs as the singles, you thinking to yourself ‘come on, can we pick something else?’ but that’s the songs that connected to the most people,’ Murray said, ‘when I wrote this album, I didn’t want it to be too commercial, I didn’t want it to be too alternative, I just wanted it to sound cool.’
Looking for people to enjoy his music with energy, Murray is taking his band, The Stonemasons, on a 33-date tour of Australia featuring city centres and regional towns alike. Playing for regional crowds is undoubtedly the highlight for the Byron Bay-based Murray.
‘When you play regional shows, they’re very appreciative of you coming down. And you get a lot of characters at those shows, in those sort of towns, everyone knows each other and it’s like a big night out. Once you get a read of the vibe, you can have an absolutely cracking night.’
With a new record and a new sound to boot, Murray is keen to write his own story. One Aussie town at a time.
Pete Murray's new record, Camacho, is out June 2
PETE MURRAY NATIONAL CAMACHO TOUR
WED 12 JUL | LISMORE CITY HALL, LISMORE NSW | LIC AA
THU 13 JUL | VILLA NOOSA, NOOSAVILLE, QLD | 18+
FRI 14 JUL | THE TIVOLI THEATRE, BRISBANE, QLD | 18+
THU 20 JUL | GREAT WESTERN HOTEL, ROCKHAMPTON, QLD | LIC AA
FRI 21 JUL | RACEHORSE HOTEL, IPSWICH, QLD | 18+
SAT 22 JUL | THE STAR GOLD COAST, QLD | LIC AA
SUN 23 JUL | REDLAND BAY HOTEL, REDLAND BAY, QLD | 18+
WED 26 JUL | CEX COFFS HARBOUR, NSW | 18+
THU 27 JUL | THE CAMBRIDGE HOTEL, NEWCASTLE, NSW | 18+
FRI 28 JUL | THE ENTRANCE LEAGUES CLUB, BATEAU BAY | 18+
SAT 29 JUL | ENMORE THEATRE, SYDNEY NSW | LIC AA
THU 3 AUG | NAUTILUS THEATRE, PORT LINCOLN, SA | LIC AA
FRI 4 AUG | HER MAJESTY’S THEATRE, ADELAIDE, SA | LIC AA
SAT 5 AUG | LIGHTHOUSE THEATRE, WARRNAMBOOL, VIC | LIC AA
WED 9 AUG | EASTBANK THEATRE, SHEPPARTON, VIC | LIC AA
THU 10 AUG | CHELSEA HEIGHTS HOTEL, CHELSEA HEIGHTS, VIC | 18+
FRI 11 AUG | WREST POINT SHOWROOM, HOBART, TAS | 18+
SAT 12 AUG | LAUNCESTON COUNTRY CLUB, LAUNCESTON, TAS | LIC AA
THU 17 AUG | BATEMANS BAY SOLDIERS CLUB, BATEMANS BAY, NSW | 18+
FRI 18 AUG | WAVES, WOLLONGONG, NSW | 18+
SAT 19 AUG | CANBERRA THEATRE, CANBERRA, ACT | LIC AA
SUN 20 AUG | BEER DELUXE, ALBURY, NSW | 18+
WED 23 AUG | ULUMBARRA THEATRE, BENDIGO, VIC | LIC AA
THU 24 AUG | REGENT MULTIPLEX THEATRE, BALLARAT, VIC | LIC AA
FRI 25 AUG | FORUM THEATRE, MELBOURNE, VIC | 18+
SAT 26 AUG | THE WOOL EXCHANGE, GEELONG, VIC | 18+
FRI 1 SEP | WINTERSUN HOTEL, GERALDTON, WA | 18+
SAT 2 SEP | FREMANTLE ARTS CENTRE, FREMANTLE, WA | 18+
SUN 3 SEP | DUNSBOROUGH TAVERN, DUNSBOROUGH, WA | 18+
WED 6 SEP | EMPIRE THEATRE, TOOWOOMBA, QLD | LIC AA
THU 7 SEP | THE VILLE, TOWNSVILLE, QLD | LIC AA
FRI 8 SEP | TANKS ARTS CENTRE, CAIRNS, QLD | 18+
SAT 9 SEP | DARWIN SKI CLUB, DARWIN, NT | LIC/AA
Alex Capper, once affectionally called by Ross & John of 3AW as the '7 foot fucker', loves the Essendon Football Club, stalking reddit and dabbing. He thinks he can speak French, but he can't.