On a balmy June day in Adelaide I caught up with Josh Pyke who was lamenting the unusually cold weather over in Sydney. ‘It’s bloody freezing but it’s nice to feel the seasons for once’. Pyke is on the cusp of releasing a 2-disc compilation titled Best of, B-Sides & Rarities, out June 30. As the name suggests it is a collection of old favourites and lost gems, as well as a couple of new studio tracks. The release marks the 10 years anniversary of Pyke’s first studio album Memories & Dust (2007) and I asked Pyke what prompted the move towards the realm of a “greatest hits” release. ‘It just felt like the right time…I also wanted to release all this old footage that I’d had from touring the UK…there were these things converging to make it the right time to do it’.
Pyke largely left the decisions concerning the ‘Best of’ tracks to other people, ‘it’s very hard for me to choose songs for a best of because it’s like choosing what your favourite children are’. Pyke got his hands dirty for the ‘B-Sides & Rarities’ disc, however, delving into 10 years of forgotten wonders, ‘I dug deep and found demos and old songs that we’d recorded but hadn’t made albums for whatever reason, some of those ones date back to 2005’.
The upcoming tour will hit mostly larger cities and later in the year Pyke will tour regionally. Pyke has invested in the regions over the last 10 years which has paved the way for him to play further afield, ‘It’s really rewarding, not as many artists go out there as they should, regional audiences are always grateful and enthusiastic when people make the effort’. It was on one such regional tour Pyke picked up one of his prized unusual instruments, a baritone recorder, ‘It might’ve been in Busselton…surprisingly I’ve used it quite a lot on my recordings, it just sounds great’.
Fans are not likely to see the recorder on stage as it is strictly reserved for the studio, although Pyke didn’t rule out a future career as a solo recordist (jokes). For the moment Pyke is concentrating on this upcoming tour as the end of a musical chapter, or ‘book-end’, as he put it. The live shows will include a complete recital of Pyke’s first studio album Memories & Dust, ‘There are songs on that album that I’ve never, ever played live…for me it was an opportunity to finally play an album in full’. As well as marking the 10 year anniversary of the 2007 release, performing the whole album was a reminder that when artists make an album ‘they are telling a story over 12 songs, as opposed to having 12 separate songs on an album…people live with albums, so when you see a whole album played live it’s a soundtrack to other people’s lives not just the song writer’.
The Adelaide show on August 17 will be at The Gov which Pyke has played numerous times over the years, ‘it’s [The Gov] a great place to play, it’s one of my favourite venues…the crowds always really engaged and they go there for the right reasons’. Supported by Kyle Lionhart, Josh Pyke will play The Gov on August 17.
By James Hickey