Having firmly established himself as one of Australia’s most respected and beloved artists, Josh Pyke today releases Best Of, B-Sides & Rarities – a decade after the release of his first solo album, Memories & Dust. The two disc delivery features handpicked singles spanning his five studio albums on one disc, plus a bonus disc made up of rare tracks and B-sides, along with two brand new songs.
Ahead of this momentous release, we caught up with Josh to discover forgotten songs, Facebook algorithms and how music has(n’t) transformed over 10 years.
You’re just about to release your Best Of, B-Sides & Rarities album. With over a decade of material, how did you narrow it down?
It was really hard actually! Deciding the songs to go on the actual Best Of disc was difficult for me, because the “singles” aren’t always my favourite songs, but they are the most appropriate ones to go on that record. So I kinda left a lot of that up to the label, and tweaked a few things here and there. With the B-Sides disc, I was a lot more involved and really dug deep into my old hard drives to find rough demos and songs that had never been released, or had slipped through the cracks somehow. That was really rewarding to allow this songs to get their place in the sun!
How does it feel to return to Memories & Dust after all this time?
It’s great! Ive never played quite a few of these songs live, so it’s truly like rediscovering them. Songs like Covers Are Thrown and Monkey With A Drum have never been performed live, so it’s been really fun getting to know those songs again by rehearsing with the band.
Does the Australian music scene feel any different now to when you were starting out?
Some things are very different, some things are very much the same. There’s obviously been huge changes in music creation and delivery with developments in technology like streaming and cheaper home recording tech. But it still comes down to good songs, so that has remained the same. Playing live is a constant though i think. It’s as fun and as gratifying to play live now, as it was 10 years ago.
Lots of your fans love your storytelling lyrics. What’s your favourite lyric that you’ve ever written?
It’s hard to decide! I think probably the more obscure lyrics are my favourite. “Though I feel empathy toward the ones who threaten me, I’d still leave them soft shelled to the beaks of crows” has always been a favourite of mine. I like that it’s actually quite a brutal sentiment.
You’ve also started posting photos of your animals to beat the Facebook algorithms. Tell us about your pets.
Haha, I only did that to point out how Facebook prioritises stupid posts. I can do a post promoting a charity and get 10 likes and then post something with my cat in it and hit 1000 likes. It’s frustrating and deserves to be made fun of!
ICYMI, Josh launched his stunning new song ‘Into The Wind’ in May, co-written at his home studio with Dustin Tebbutt and co-produced by John Castle. As if taking him right back to the beginning of his career, the track serves as a note to himself to keep at it and never stand still. Catch Josh Pyke on his huge Aussie tour kicking-off in late July. All tickets + dates here.