Pete Murray is a mainstay in the Australian music scene, having created music since the early 2000s, Pete finally took the leap out and explored international ventures with the release of his newest EP, The Night, a project he worked on across Los Angeles, Nashville and back at him home in Australia and would become his first co-written piece to date.
“People ask about COVID, you know? And how was COVID? Have I been writing a lot and creative in that time?" Murray says to EARMILK at the top of our interview. "I have been in the studio, but with COVID, I just really spent a lot of time with my family and that was probably the main thing I did, family is good; you know, we’ve had a lot of time together recently and everyone is great here."
When Murray recorded this whole body of music – he easily has album's worth of material stored up – Murray (and his team) decided an EP might be a better thing to come out with, and with this body of work, he thought these songs worked really well together, they were quite personal for him, emotive, and each song had a consistent kind of vibe; which just worked well as a six-track EP.
With this release, it was actually the first time Murray did co-writing, he went out to Los Angeles and Nashville, which was the first thing that was different when it came to the creative process of the EP – even though he still wrote some of the songs himself, this was a good excuse for Murray to go and take himself out of his comfort zone and travel to another country, write with other great writers.
At the time of working on this EP, there was a fair bit of back and forth international relations with the guys Murray was working with: "it was interesting coming home to finish things off," Murray tells EARMILK, "it was an interesting process of doing that - whereas in the past, I always worked in Australia with Australian session providers, players, producers, so it was a really good thing to get an international feel about the EP, I really enjoyed it, especially having someone else in the room with you writing, which is a different process."
"You really start to get this bond working through songs," Murray continues on his experience co-writing in the U.S., "sometimes on your own you can become a little bit sleepy (laughs), but when working with others, you've got a structure: you have a day to get the song done, and some cases in Nashville, I had half a day and then I'd go to another session. So it was a good different process."
Adapting to change was important for Murray on this produce, he is the type of artist that truly believes if you do not adapt, you become bored.
"The last album was a lot more produced and it featured a lot of beats and loops, and a whole lot of production on it, but with this one, it was a little bit of a rawer vibe." -- Pete Murray
On this project, Murray went back to using a good friend of his (who help with engineering and production in Australia) Garrett, he is a singer-songwriter himself and has a warm sound, rich acoustic tone and vocal tone, which Murray wanted on the project. "So I think having that and going from more of an organic flavour to the last one – it was really good to keep things raw as well," Murray explains. "This new record has showcases some of my best work, which is really good feedback to get from someone."
The songs on the EP are pretty personal and people are evidently connecting to those six intimate tracks off the EP, as they do and have done in the past with Murray's music, in fact, Murray is optimistic that people will kind of continue to do so with this release.
"A real concern for me was getting in a room and not having anything to offer." Murray laughs. "In America, I am nobody at all – small scale - so you get over the fact people have to Google your name to know who you are."
There was a time during the creative process where Murray went to Nashville and jumped into a couple of sessions, he had guys calling their friends: ‘Hey, you’ve got to work with this guy. He’s a great lyricist, has a good voice. Great sense of melody,’ so it was a really positive thing for Murray to hear that from other contemporaries, songwriters, people that know their craft.
"And for them to pass it on, gave me the opportunity to get other sessions, which was great," Murray adds. "It kind of made me think down the track – and when we get over COVID – I would like to spend more time overseas and do some more co-writing, probably for other people, not necessarily for myself."
When it came to releasing the EP as a whole, Murray knew he had to try a different approach: "These days, especially with streaming, the way people listen to music has changed a lot," Murray says. "People don’t listen to albums as much anymore, and I think there are a lot of songs there that people might not hear if you put an entire album out."
You would have – in the old days – a few singles that would come off the album and then people would buy the album. These days, you don’t have to, you can listen to whatever you want, anytime you want, as you know, you pay a monthly subscription. For people to really tune into an album is a difficult thing to do.
"I think we just – when Management and I talked about it – the easiest thing to do would be an EP, Murray details on the release. "And not just have so many songs. Six songs was just enough."
Two of highlights from the record are "If We Never Dance Again," a song that wasn't actually written about COVID. "No, no it wasn’t," Murray assures EARMILK. "The song was written when COVID wasn’t around. But you could relate it to COVID for sure."
And the other song is, “Found My Place,” which was the first single Murray was going to go with upon release, it has a great grove and lyrically it is about passing on and listening to kids. In fact, that second single that Murray did is not your standard single.
"These days you are not necessarily looking for a commercial hit, you’re looking for streaming, and what might get onto playlists," Murray emphasises to EARMILK. "The second song is a nice acoustic track with string arrangements behind it and normally that would have never seen the light of day with a major release."
With the release of this EP, Murray would like listeners to feel some sort of mood from it... a feeling maybe too, "Hopefully they can get some sort of feeling out of this," Murray adds, "that will stay with them forever and bring them back to this moment in time, like some of my other songs have done in the past."
The songs work well together on this EP and it is a beautiful sounding EP. So hopefully people can connect to it and love it and play it a lot.