It’s been a busy few months for PEZ, following the release of his much-anticipated second album. He has announced his first headline tour since 2014, his album Don’t Look Down debuted at number 7 on the ARIA album charts and it has already received over a million streams on Spotify. Two standout singles have spawned from the album, Calling Out featuring Paul Dempsey and Weekend featuring 360. He has also excited audiences ahead of his upcoming tour with the release of a new video shot around Melbourne for his track Can’t Wait which features Hailey Cramer. PEZ will perform at Jack Rabbit Slim’s in Northbridge this Saturday, April 8. CLAUDIA MOORE caught up with Pez to talk about the album, upcoming tour and just life in general.
Can you tell us a little about the inspiration behind the latest album?
The album was titled Don’t Look Down because that really sums up the whole journey I went through. It has been a crazy couple of years leading up to the album and I got a bit sick in the process so it really was about picking myself back up and not letting myself give up. I was really inspired by the journey it took for me to actually write another album and give music another shot. Right at the end before the album was released I got this surge of inspiration again and I realised I really wanted to do music again and work through everything to get back to a good place.
There has been 8 years between this album and your first album why did you wait so long to release another album?
Just after the first album there was a while where I didn’t think I was ever going to make another album. Just after the first release I wrote the song The Game and that went really well but then the pressure to write another album started to mount and I was really freaked out by that. Every time I would go to write a song my mind would get in the way and writing music started to become like a chore. It was a weird cycle of starting to write again and then panicking and it just repeated for a few years. Then right at the end my whole life changed and I grew up and my whole perspective towards music shifted and I was ready to do another album. Just before the album was released my daughter was born and I think that’s changed my perspective even more and will definitely shape my music a lot in the future.
The album features cameos from Paul Dempsey and 360, what was it like collaborating with them?
360 is someone who is always so fun and he is one of my best friends so we have worked a lot together. I really enjoy collaborating with people I am really close with and it become like a family almost. Paul Dempsey was a really different experience as he is such an icon and was really lucky to be able to collaborate and work with him. I really enjoy collaborating with other artists and I like to work with people I have a natural chemistry with. This time I also found a lot of the collaborating happened online and I didn’t even meet some of the artists in person, which was also very unique.
Your song Weekend discusses both you and 360’s days working as manually labourers, what made you decide to go back and write about those days?
Right before I wrote the latest album I started running out of money so had to go back to manual labor. A good friend of mine started his own landscaping business so I started helping him with that. I was talking to 360 about labouring again and we started reminiscing about the days where we were working very hard. It also reminded me of the days where I was full time labouring and was so inspired to do my music and the motivation I had to make my music work so I didn’t have to do another labouring job. Going through the whole process of working again dragged up all that lost passion for music and I started to become inspired again.
You haven’t had a headline tour since 2014; did touring with The Thundamentals at the end of last year help inspire you to take on this upcoming tour?
For sure, The Thundamentals are such good guys so they were really good to tour with. The shows all had a great vibe about them and I found that the process was much less nerve racking this time around. I haven’t always enjoyed performing in the past as I always got really nervous and that impacted my ability to enjoy myself. I found people had such a great response to my recent performances. It was so great to let go of everything and just have fun touring again and that made me really excited about the solo tour and having a chance to play a longer set.
What most excites you about a headline tour again? What can fans expect from these shows?
I am so excited because after performing with The Thundamentals I realised how much more I enjoy it now. I now realise I was always too in my head and took everything way too seriously. I’m ready to just give myself over and just enjoy performing and connect with the energy coming from the crowd. It will also be really good to do some more intimate shows this time playing at some smaller venues, which I haven’t done in a while. I am excited by the chance to get up close and personal with fans this time and the smaller venues will help with that.