Musician Pete Murray recalls when Ed Sheeran was his support act.
It’s been six years between your last record – 2011’s Blue Sky Blue – and the new release, Camacho. That’s quite a long gap in a world of short attention spans. Guns N’ Roses took 15 years [to release their sixth album Chinese Democracy]. I thought I was going to catch up with them at one stage. It is risky taking that long. All these things go through your head: will people remember me? Will I be relevant? I’m not getting any younger. You second guess yourself. There are a lot of new influences and collaborators on the album. I wanted to reinvent myself a bit. You tend to do what you do; change doesn’t come easy. I listened to old interviews with The Beatles and saw how they made a conscious effort to write something different, which is how they went from “She Loves You” [in 1963] to the songs on Rubber Soul and Revolver [in the mid-1960s]. I had to turn off my old Neil Young and Bob Dylan records. I listened to hip-hop and electronica for the sonics and tried to bring it into what I was doing. Your timing has worked out well; real musicians are back. People like Ed Sheeran and Adele come through and it’s based just on their talent, not image or autotuned vocals. Ed actually supported me in Borderline, this small bar in England, years ago. He was this ginger-haired kid, super-friendly bloke. And now he’s changed music! You sold close to a million copies of your first two albums, 2003’s Feeler and 2005’s See The Sun. Music has changed a lot since then… The guys from [music act] Busby Marou asked me what it was like to actually earn a royalty from album sales. It’s an interesting time to release a new album – it’s all about streaming now, not buying albums. I’m very lucky that I’m in that very small percentage of Australian artists who can make a living from music. But it’s not easy. Longevity’s a tough thing. I’ve seen bands come in, win ARIAS and then disappear off the face of the earth. Fatherhood and music aren’t always compatible. How do you make it work? That was part of the reason I took my time making this album. I got to spend as much time as I could with my sons. Charlie is 13 and Pedro’s nearly 10. I don’t work from nine-to-five, but there are times you don’t see them for a few weeks or more if you tour overseas. Coming out of a marriage break-up [Murray and Amanda Coutts split in 2009], that’s something you have to learn as a parent. You don’t see the kids all the time, so you have to make sure it’s quality time when you do. The title track of Camacho seems to touch on the pain of divorce. It’s nothing negative about my ex, but you struggle without having the kids around all the time. I’m sure a lot of dads feel that after a marriage ends.
“Ed Sheeran was this ginger-haired kid, superfriendly bloke. And now he’s changed music!”
I was pretty lost. I felt I lost a lot of confidence. I was procrastinating a lot. I kept a low profile. I like my privacy. I’m not a celebrity, I’m a musician. There is a lot of love on the record – songs about falling for your photographer wife Mira Eady. I kept her waiting for so long she got to the stage where she said, “You need to break down these walls.” The song “Connected” is about when a relationship moves from casual to serious. She helped me through all the hard times. How did you meet? At her birthday party at a local bar in Byron Bay. I went with a guy I knew from surfing who was actually trying to pick her up, but she wasn’t having a bar of him. We got talking and got on really well. I didn’t think I’d get married again. She wanted to do it, but there was no pressure from her. We’ve been together for five years, and it felt like the time was right. Another change between albums is social media. Do you embrace it? Fans have direct access to you. I still struggle to get used to that. I like to have a little bit of privacy, but now your popularity is judged by how many hits you get or how many followers you have. I recently posted a video of me doing some exercise and people went ballistic. Someone had asked me how I keep fit, so I filmed some of my routine. When you get older – I’m 47 – you need to stay fit. I don’t post about it too much. It can seem wanky. But you don’t have to get fat when you get older. You can still keep yourself healthy.
``i was pretty lost after my marriage ended´´