Take Me Down: The Pete Murray Interview

On Friday, one of Australia’s best-loved musicians, Pete Murray drops his sixth studio album, Camacho. With over a million album sales to his name, you’d imagine the Byron Bay singer-songwriter to exude confidence, but we discovered that he gets a little anxious like everyone else.

Taking the full band on the road is something Pete Murray gets excited about, and his impending national Camacho Tour will see Murray play a huge 33 dates from Lismore on 12 July to Darwin on 9 September (and er’rywhere in between). Though the singer loves playing new music for the first time to his loyal fans, he’ll be mixing the new with some old, but don’t expect a Greatest Hits tour.

We caught up with Pete Murray for a quick tête-à-tête this week, to discuss his first album release since 2011’s Blue Sky Blue, and about getting pumped to play sell-out shows across the country.

TGW:  Congratulations on the new album Pete, we’ve heard it and it’s amazing. With the release of Camacho, your sixth album, do you feel any differently than before your very first album, Feelerwas about to drop 14 years ago?  And if so, how?

PM:  Do you know what?  I feel exactly the same now as I did then, a bit anxious – not nervous, but… excited.  I mean, I thought Feeler would bomb, and then it didn’t.  You just never know how it will go. I hope this album meets peoples’ expectations, as I think there are some strong songs on there from start to finish.  I want it to be a good old word-of-mouth thing, too.

TGW: You actually started writing tracks for Camacho back in 2011, at the same time you visited Abbey Rd Studios, London.

PM:  Yeah, I took a photo outside!

TGW: It’s a long way from chilly London to sunny Newrybar. How relevant is your immediate environment to your songwriting?

PM: Well most of my inspiration comes from life experience, no matter where I am or where I go. People think I have this great life in Byron Bay, just sitting by the sea writing songs and playing my guitar.  I tell you what – I can’t just sit on the beach – I need to be in the water.  And I actually write best when I’m somewhere like my bathroom.  Just staring at the white tiles, concentrating… and the sound is great.

“People think I have this great life in Byron Bay, just sitting by the sea writing songs and playing my guitar…I actually write best when I’m somewhere like my bathroom. Just staring at the white tiles, concentrating…”

TGW: You’ve got an impressive production assemblage on this album: Australian producer Tony Buchen (Montaigne, The Preatures), Sydney-based One Above aka Andrew Burford (Hilltop Hoods, DraphtAllday), Jon Hume (Matt Corby, Lisa Mitchell) and Trials from A.B. Original with whom you worked closely to create the sound, particularly the beats.  Were you specific about the sound you wanted, or were you happy to experiment a bit with the tracks?

PM: A bit of both. I was pretty specific about a few of the tracks, but was happy to experiment with some of the others. I wanted “phat” beats and some bigger sounds. I also wanted it to sound anthemic, with some singalong choruses and an upbeat, positive feel…you said you’ve heard the album?

TGW: Yep, we’ve been swaying along to it all week.

PM: That’s great! I mean so many people say to me, “don’t you get sick of writing songs that put people to sleep?” When they’ve only ever listened to about 3 tracks, rather than a whole album.  I’m like, “you’re a moron.”  I wanted this to be a good mix of songs but still an album you listen to from start to finish.  I know kids these days tend to just listen to singles but… I’ve been writing this for the last 6 years, you know?  It’s strength is as an album, not just singles.

Pete Murray general use low res

“So many people ask me, don’t you get sick of writing songs that put people to sleep?, when they’ve only ever listened to about 3 tracks, rather than a whole album…I wanted [Camacho] to be a good mix of songs, but still an album you listen to from start to finish.”

TGW: Your last tour was back in 2014 (the Feeler 10th anniversary tour) – do you have any unusual rituals or routines that you stick to whilst touring?

PM: Hmmm, to be honest not really.  I’m actually pretty boring on that front. I do like to spend about half an hour by myself beforehand, just to focus before going onstage.

TGW: You’ve had 3 albums at number 1 on the Australian music charts, several songs in the Top 40, so many accolades and nominations… when you’re this successful how do you keep calling a spade a spade?

PM: Well, I’ve never won an ARIA, so I’m not that successful…

TGW: <silence>

PM: I’m joking! Look I’m more than happy with what I’ve done, what I’ve achieved, and I hope that I can still have a career for a lot longer. Just to keep going, to keep playing my music around the world is my goal.

TGW: In the past you’ve cited Nick Drake, Neil Young and Bob Dylan as among your biggest influences.  If you could choose just one song from one of those artists, which would it be and why?

PM: Yeah, that’s a tough one. And before I answer, I have to say that I purposely wanted to move away from that kind of sound with this new album. I really just wanted something that was more organic, fresher, not as heavy.  But to answer your question, it would have to be Neil Young’s Cinnamon Girl.

TGW: I’m sure you’re asked about So Beautiful all the time, and it’s hard to believe the song wasn’t inspired by a break up, rather by a group of pretentious people you encountered one night in a Brisbane pub. The track is now 12 years old, but it’s still right up there as far as break up anthems go. Will it be on your set list this time around?

PM: Well… I’m not sure, I think it’s time to let it go a little bit. This isn’t a greatest hits tour or anything. I’d rather just focus on the new album, to be honest. Which isn’t to say I won’t revisit some old tracks here and there. It’s probably just a case of reading the crowd.

TGW:  Ok, final question.  Just how many Byron Bay Organic Doughnuts do you think you can lift at one time with those arms?

PM:  Byron Bay Donuts?  Ha. I reckon quite a few!

About Camacho

The first single Take Me Down cleverly reveals a new direction for Pete Murray, yet it manages to retain the warm, smooth vocals he is known for, but with the addition of dreamy choral elements. The song is about a beautiful relationship with an unknown future. Murray explains that it’s about “being in the moment. It’s emotive, moody, sexual and vulnerable.” 

“So many times in the past I have jumped into a studio for four to six weeks and recorded an album. With Camacho there was no rush, it was going to be finished when it was finished.”

For the recording of Camacho, Murray teamed up with hip-hop producer Trials from  A.B. Original, introducing loops and beats across the album. They wanted to take time to get it right: “So many times in the past I have jumped into a studio for four to six weeks and recorded an album. With Camacho there was no rush, it was going to be finished when it was finished,” he says. Murray was only interested in one person mixing the album – Eric J Dubowsky.

The finished product is an uplifting, emotive and powerful album.     

Pete Murray CAMACHO

Pre-Order for Camacho is available now – all album iTunes pre-orders will instantly receive the Take Me Down single. See below for national tour dates.

Pete Murray National Camacho Tour

Presented By TEG Live

BUY TICKETS HERE

  • 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

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