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May 21, 2019

Interview with Josh Pyke - For all these shrinking hearts

by Seth Robinson 4 January 2016

“I don’t like the word muse, but I do think of my drive as a person. Sometimes we’re getting along great, and then sometimes we’re not seeing eye to eye and we need a break from each over. I’ve realised that it’s like any relationship, if it’s worth pursuing you just have to stick with it and ride out those times.”

It’s this thought from Josh Pyke that kicks off our interview. He’s just released his fifth studio album, But For All These Shrinking Hearts, a work that Pyke has previously said is largely about his own relationships with creativity. Inspired in part by the story of Charles Redheffer’s fraudulent perpetual motion machine, It’s an album that has given Pyke an opportunity to reflect on his own body of work. In the lead up to his 2016 tour, I caught up with him to hear his thoughts, about the past, present and future.

“I don’t really believe in writer’s block anymore. I think there are just times when you won’t want to write songs. I think you can force yourself to break through, but as with personal relationships, if something’s not right and you force it, it’s not going to work long term. I think particularly with creativity, it needs to be ‘right’, so personally I say let it lie for a while and give yourself some breathing space.”

It’s this relationship that Pyke says he set out to explore with the album, along with the notion that “through creative thinking, human kind will innovate our way out of trouble”. It’s an idea that Pyke applies most directly to the environmental plight we face as a society, and the lack of support we give our artists, and while he says he set out to tell a story of hope and optimism, reflecting on the work has left him with a slightly different feeling.

“If there’s one prevailing emotion, it’s disillusionment. I’ve never written a record where on reflection I realised that the themes are largely negative. I want there to be hope in there as well, as I’m certainly a hopeful person, but it’s not something I think about when I write the songs. I write the songs, then I put together the ones that tell a story. It’s just turned out the story I was telling was more one of disillusionment than I realised. When I was putting together the track listing I was kind of like, ‘this is telling a story about my relationship with creativity, and the process of it’, but it’s actually disillusionment. I hope I don’t feel that way for much longer, because it’s sad to be disillusioned by the state of the world… it’s just hard not to be at the moment.”

“Touring is a very different beast to the introspection of writing songs. It’s definitely a celebration of music. So, It’s very much a hopeful experience playing music and engaging with the audience, because you’re all there for the same reason.”
For Pyke and his fans, All These Shrinking Hearts offers a moment of decision, whether to ride it out with optimism, or let the disillusionment prevail. Either way, it’s an album that takes us as listeners on a journey.

Take the first step and catch Josh Pyke in concert, live across Australia through January and February of 2016.

For more information visit www.joshpyke.com.

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