Brendan: Hi, everyone. This is Brendan the Blind Guy here. Today I'm lucky enough to be talking to one of Australia's best musical storytellers, Mr. Josh Pyke. Now-

Josh Pyke: Hi.

Brendan: Josh, you're on tour at the moment for your Best of Josh Pyke, which if my spidey senses are correct is a massive 13 date tour. And then if I'm correct, you're going overseas to the UK and Europe, and then over to New Zealand before heading back to Australia for another massive regional tour. So, uh, wow. Like h- how do you find the time? And like that- that sounds exhausting to me, or- or am I just getting old or something?

Josh Pyke: Um, I mean, it's just my job, you know? So it's like, uh, I find the time because I don't do anything else. (laughs) That's all I do. I go- go on tour and then come home and spend time with the family, and then head back out on the road, so ...

Brendan: Yeah, fantastic.

Josh Pyke: It's not actually that hard to find the time.

Brendan: Yeah. Fair enough. And you mentioned family there, so I'm guessing family's very important, and I- I know I'm gonna disappoint the female listeners by going, "Yes, you are happily married and have a family."

Josh Pyke: Mm-hmm (affirmative)-

Brendan: Um, so how does your music career affect your family life for good or for worse?

Josh Pyke: Well, I think it's a matter of finding balance, and, you know, I'm fortunate enough that over the years, that I've been able to get that balance. So, you know, whilst I do go away on tour, um, you know, pretty frequently, when I'm at home I'm, you know, I'm all hands on deck-

Brendan: Yeah.

Josh Pyke: Uh, being a dad. So I guess I spend lot of time with my kids and drop them at school and pick them up, and all that kind of stuff.

Brendan: That's fantastic.

Josh Pyke: But then I, you know, get to go off on tour and kinda have a bit of my own time as well, so it's pretty balanced.

Brendan: Oh, wow. Yeah, that sounds pretty amazing. Now that leads me to your hiatus at the end of the year. So w- why are you leaving us, Josh? Why?

Josh Pyke: (laughs) I'm a bit tired from touring, so, you know? It's been 10 years of pretty constant touring and I just feel like I wanna deal with some other creative projects that, you know, always going away on tour kind of often prevents me from-

Brendan: Mm-hmm (affirmative)-

Josh Pyke: -from doing. So, you know, I wanna do some film and TV work, and, um, produce some other artists in my studio at home

Brendan: Mm-hmm (affirmative)-

Josh Pyke: -and all that kind of stuff, but it's hard to fit in those projects when you have- you have tours lined up all- all the way through the year.

Brendan: Yeah, fair enough. And so you mentioned some of those projects, now looking at some of the projects, it's l- it's amazing. You're an ambassador for the ILF as well as APRA, and a family man, and you've got the Josh Pyke Partnership programme. So before-

Josh Pyke: Yeah.

Brendan: Before I get you to elaborate a bit on all of those projects, wow that's- that's insanely busy. Like I know I said it before, but wow, you're a busy man. So tell me a little bit more about your projects.

Josh Pyke: Um, yeah. I mean, the ILF thing is something I've been involved in for probably eight years or something now.

Brendan: Mm-hmm (affirmative)-

Josh Pyke: And, um, you know, I went out to the Tiwi Islands with them this year, (off Darwin) and ran some literacy workshops for the kids there, and, um, I'm doing some stuff on Indi- Indigenous Literacy Day-

Brendan: Oh, wow.

Josh Pyke: -with them.

Brendan: Yep.

Josh Pyke: And, you know, the APRA stuff and the JP Partnership stuff, it is ... I mean, it does keep me busy but it's like I reckon I still ... I probably still work less hours a week than a normal nine to fiver does.

Brendan: Oh, well-

Josh Pyke: I'm not complaining. (laughs)

Brendan: Oh, th- that's great. That's great. No, it sounds like an amazing life. Now your songs, now I was listening to your music and ... oh, like everyone does. Now your songs to me are very unique in the structure, that you don't follow the typical pop music structure of repetition and, you know, innuendos and everything. Instead, it seems that you might repeat one or two lines, but instead of much repetition, you take the listeners on a journey to- to the memory or to the feeling that you were experiencing at the time. Now, I'm just really intrigued, what's your formula and approach at writing these amazing songs?

Josh Pyke: Um, I think, you know, I think the key for me is that there is no formula and I avoid ... from very early on, kind of refused to write with any kind of agenda.

Brendan: Yep.

Josh Pyke: Um, because I think, you know, once you sort of start thinking of formulas and stuff, you just ... you're trapping yourself.

Brendan: Yeah, fair enough. Yeah.

Josh Pyke: You stifle creativity. So, yeah, I think it's- it's more just about experimenting and, you know, waiting for lightning to strike, and that kind of thing, being in a position, where you can develop those ideas.

Brendan: Yeah.

Josh Pyke: Um, but yeah, it's all about following your instincts, you know, like being ... If something doesn't feel right for whatever reason when you're creating whatever art you're creating, I think that's a pretty good indicator that that's not right for you, and you just kind of keep experimenting until you can feel that you're on the right path.

Brendan: Um, yeah, fair enough. That's- that's great. And okay, so before your hiatus at the end of the year, what can us, including me, new fans to your shows expect at your live shows? I mean, is it a bit of a dominated mainly by acoustic or full band production, or a bit of a mixture? And what can we expect at your live shows?

Josh Pyke: Um, well, the shows that I'm doing right now are full band shows.

Brendan: Yep.

Josh Pyke: And then the- the regional and overseas shows are gonna be solo, so, uh, you know kinda presenting the songs the way they were written originally. Uh, but I'm still gonna be playing Memories & Dust in full.

Brendan: Yep.

Josh Pyke: So that'll be really fun and it's just been great, celebratory, and a really fun- fun thing to be doing.

Brendan: Yeah, nice. And so with the regional tour being more stripped back and acoustic, I've noticed, from being a music fan and going to live shows all the time, um, a lot of ... I've- I've found in my experience that a lot of solo acoustic shows, if they're not executed right, can sometimes be a little bit dreary and a little bit boring as such, but I really can't imagine this is going to be you in any shape or way. So what's kind of your key to combat that at your live shows, and kind of bring a bitbit more hype and a bit more fullness to the show alternatively?

Josh Pyke: Yeah, sure. Um, I think ... so I use a loop pedal in some of the songs that builds kind of rhythms and harmonies. I think that's kind of helpful. But mostly it's about just engaging the audience, and, you know, showing your personality and chatting to the audience and involving them. So, you know, if people wanna shout a question, I'm happy to answer during a show. Um, and you know, I mean, the reality is it helps if people know the music-

Brendan: Yeah.

Josh Pyke: -and I'm fortunate enough that people know most of the songs when I'm playing these shows, so it's kind of like they're more engaged kind of straight away anyway. Um, but it's just- just practise, you know? It's like, y- I've been performing hundreds of shows a year for- for 10 years, and you just get good at learning how to read a crowd and- and figuring out what they- what they want, what a crowd wants.

Brendan: Fantastic. That sounds exactly what I look for at shows, so yeah, I'm very keen to see you on tour later this year. Now I was reading in your early days, your first ever performance, if I'm correct, was at your primary school when you were 12, at the graduation, but then you kind of went a little bit off the grid, you know, off the scene, for a little while before getting back into music. So tell me a little bit more about that and what made you get back into it and pursue it as a career?

Josh Pyke: Uh, I don’t know, I mean, I wasn’t ever out. I was definitely pursuing it but I just took a long time to get anywhere, you know? Ever since I was 12 I was in bands, and, you know, even as early as that age I thought to myself, "This is what I wanna do for my job."

Brendan: Mm-hmm (affirmative)-

Josh Pyke: But it just took a long time to get anywhere, you know? It's a tough industry, and I was in a band for years. It was only when I was about 24 that I quit the band.

Brendan: Oh, wow.

Josh Pyke: The band kind of broke- broke up. Um, so yeah, there was never a break from it, but it was just a matter of thing being very- very difficult and hard to, you know, hard to break through, and knocking on a lot of doors, you know, trying- trying to get stuff happening.

Brendan: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Nice. So you've always been musical from day one, yes?

Josh Pyke: Uh, yeah, pretty much. Yeah.

Brendan: How did you kind of, um, discover that music was your passion?

Josh Pyke: Well, I mean at first, it was listening to music and just really feeling that engagement with, you know, other artists and songs, and then, you know, I did piano lessons early on, and I just realised that I, you know, I could do it. I think it's, you know, you've gotta do stuff, and, you know, some- some people are really fast runners, and some people are really good at languages, and I'm just ... the only thing that I've ever been kind of good at is- is doing music, so yeah, it's just the way that it was.

Brendan: Yeah. Nice. Nice. So out of all of your amazing songs, and your amazing songwriting abilities, what seems to be to you your biggest inspiration and the biggest kind of theme as such in your- in your songs and songwriting?

Josh Pyke: I think, um, it's just always been about projecting what's in my- in my own life, you know? So ...

Brendan: Mm-hmm (affirmative)-

Josh Pyke: I can't- I can't really write about things that aren't based on my own life.

Brendan: Yep.

Josh Pyke: Um, and so whatever's inspiring me, whether it's things that are happening to me personally or stuff that's happening in the world and it's my personal view on. It's kind of as simple as that, I would say. That's the way I process the world-

Brendan: Yeah, fantastic.

Josh Pyke: -in a way, writing songs about it. So, yeah.

Brendan: Yeah, fantastic. And with all of those stories, now what would be the first story that comes to mind if I say, "Hilarious, what the fudge?"

Josh Pyke: Uh ... (laughs) In terms of, um, gigs and stuff, do you mean?

Brendan: Well, just out of all your stories along the road, yeah.

Josh Pyke: (laughs) Um, I mean, in terms of my songwriting, I think, you know, Middle of the Hill still gets that kind of response, you know? People aren't ever sure if it's- if it's fictional or- or real, but, uh, yeah, all those things happened. There really was a girl that hit my sister on the head-

Brendan: Wow. (laughs)

Josh Pyke: -and there really was a white van that came down the hill and tried to abduct me, and stuff that ... yeah.

Brendan: Wow. Wow. So that in itself is a pretty "what the fudge?" story in it- in itself. Wow.

Josh Pyke: Yeah.

Brendan: Wow. And so what advice would you have for young Australians, uh, hoping to kind of follow in your footsteps and succeed in the Australian music industry?

Josh Pyke: I think it's really hard to give specific advice, you know, on a- on a general way. There's no magic recipe for success in the music industry at all, you know, that's the difficulty about it all, because if there was, obviously lots more people would be successful.

Brendan: Mm-hmm (affirmative)-

Josh Pyke: But, I mean, all I would say is that, you know, you need a kind of really delusional level of self belief to do it, and if you have that and you're compelled to do it, then you need to, you know, kind of lay it all on the line and pursue it.

Brendan: Yep.

Josh Pyke: Um, and that- that's a really confronting thing to do, but it's what's gotta be done.

Brendan: Yeah, that's some great advice. You know, confidence can be a- a massive issue in today's youth, so, yeah.

Josh Pyke: Yeah.

Brendan: And finally, what's next for Josh Pyke after your hiatus?

Josh Pyke: Ah, I don't know. I mean I- I'm already thinking about new album ideas, and I- I've written a bunch of songs.

Brendan: Fantastic.

Josh Pyke: Um, so I'm sure it'll just be more of the same, you know, come- come and do some more albums and maybe some more collaborations, and just, you know, keep engaging in creative projects.

Brendan: Fantastic. Fantastic. Well, thank you very much for your time tonight, Josh, and hope you enjoy the- the weather and the show tonight in Bunbury, and I look forward to seeing you out on tour later this year.

Josh Pyke: Awesome, and thanks so much.

Brendan: Thank you very much. Bye.

Josh Pyke: Bye.