Josh Pyke On 'Memories And Dust'
Josh Pyke was in his first band aged twelve and wrote his first song at fourteen. As he recalls, a career in music was the only thing he was ever cut out for.
"From really early on, I remember being six or seven, and singing along to records of my parents. It was the only thing I ever did. There was no question I was ever going to be doing anything else. Music was always what I wanted to do.
"Yeah, it's been a lot of hard work. I mean there's been many years leading up to this point where I questioned whether anything was every going to happen for me. Working three or four jobs at a time to try and earn enough money so I could go back on the road. Going on another tour where you would lose thousands of dollars. But still, I never really questioned whether it was what I was going to do," he reflects.
Pyke is now reaping the benefits of that determination. He has toured the UK and abroad, won himself a spot on the bill at Glastonbury and has an ARIA award-winning album, 'Memories and Dust', under his belt. He's also toured Australia extensively and seen his second (self produced) album, 'Chimney's Afire', debut at number one on the ARIA Australian chart.
When asked whether he expected so much success from the album, Pyke remains humble. "I did not expect it, to be honest. We released it in October and at this time there was really high traffic with releases, but we made a decision to do it because I really believed I had a strong enough core of supporters that would support the record anyway. It was a bit of a risk, but I am glad we released it when we did."
Featuring beautifully crafted songs, the album showcases Pyke's poetic lyrics as he deals with childhood memories, relationships and his ties to the elements especially water. The actual title, 'Chimney's Afire', comes from the term whalers used to describe the plume of blood and water spurted out of harpooned whales blowhole.
When asked why he had so many references to the ocean on the album, Pyke explained that one side of his family were sailors and whalers and supposably on the boat that captured Napoleon.
"It's all family folklore; it was stuff I was told when I was growing up so I have had this romantic notion that it was in my blood for a long time. It was just childish romantic notions, but I wanted to run with it, when I looked back on the album [and the songs] there was this theme running through it, and I wanted to take it to that conclusion.
"I definitely write from my own experience and about people that are close to me, but I try to write vaguely, with enough images and metaphors so people can relate it to their own lives, I don't want people reading my diary, I want them to be able to put these thoughts and emotions into their own lives and to get something out of them.
Looking towards the future, Pyke plans to tour for the rest of '09, playing mostly songs from 'Chimneys Afire'. He is also getting ready to auction off the giant guitar boat that was seen in his recent film clip for 'Make You Happy' to raise money for the Indigenous Literary Project.