Pete Murray: 'Do People Listen To An Album From Start To Finish Anymore?'

22 June 2022 | 8:00 am | Tyler Jenke

“I think you’ve got to be a little bit more intelligent in the way you do music these days."

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When the COVID pandemic hit back in early 2020, it undeniably put a halt to any progress made by musicians. One artist who found themselves affected greatly was Pete Murray

A veteran mainstay of the local scene, Murray had been spending the time over the preceding months working here and abroad on new music. But with stages empty and fans forced inside, it presented something of a less-than-ideal situation.

“I think everyone who is a musician would all agree that when you lose something that you love, you miss it big time,” Murray explains to The Music. “And we need to put new music out, and then you’ve got to promote it, and the best way to promote it is to get out and tour it live.”

Undeterred though, Murray soldiered on, emerging in early 2021 with new EP, The Night, his first body of work since 2017’s Camacho. One year later, he returned with a second EP, maintaining the momentum with his next release, Before I Go. However, despite the way that he effortlessly pivoted to deal with these times, their respective arrivals weren’t quite as he had first planned.

“The plan was to put these two EPs out, and then we had a tour booked for it,” Murray recalls. “The Night was the first one, and that came out after the first year that COVID hit, and we had a tour locked and everything lined up for it. But we changed plans, and pushed the tour back. 

“All of these songs were pretty much recorded around the same time, but Before I Go, I was still working on that during COVID whenever I could get time and it was safe to get into the studio with Garrett Kato who was helping produce that one. So there were bits and pieces going on there; mixing happening, mastering happening, but just no touring.”

The writing sessions of the record had seen Murray head over to the US for the first time to participate in some co-writing. Having worked across Nashville and Los Angeles, he returned home in 2020, worked on more new music back in Australia, but ultimately was forced to put sessions on hold. 

Though eventually released as two separate EPs, Murray explains that their creation was in line with the traditional album format, and he still views them as such.

“For me, this is an album and the album is The Night Before I Go, which we're putting out on vinyl and that's from a lyric on Waiting For The Love on The Night EP,” he explains. 

In reality though, their release as separate EPs was planned from the start as something of a response to the way in which streaming services such as Spotify dealt with new music. As Murray notes, gone are the days in which artists would buy a CD and listen to it as they examine the artwork. As a result, he feels his music needs to be somewhat split up in order for it to reach as many fans as it used to.

“Once a song goes up on Spotify, it's considered old the day that it goes up,” he explains. “So distributors won't try to get it onto playlists for you, and it becomes old. If it's new, it gets a chance to go on a lot of playlists. Gone are the days we do three singles and then drop an album.

“So if you've got 10 songs on the album, you drop three singles, and then the seven other songs will be considered old straight away. The chances of them getting on playlists and getting heard are a lot less likely for things to happen. So you split that into two, you’ve got two bites of the cherry where you can put three singles out and then kind of put two songs out after that on the EP.

“There's also the attention span of people,” he adds. “Do people listen to an album from start to finish anymore? Not so much.”

Despite their separate releases, the EPs manage to pull off the feat of sounding near-perfect however they’re listened to. While The Night feels more subdued, Before I Go feels more celebratory, and placed together, they form an impressive musical arc.

But the question does remain though, with the music industry changing so much over these years, does that mean that Pete Murray will take the route of established artists like Pendulum and simply eschew the standard album format in favour of smaller releases? Well, maybe not.

“I think my fanbase still likes my albums,” he notes. “I think the majority of my fanbase still like to listen to my songs and probably some of the songs that aren’t the hit singles. But it makes total sense to release it as an EP, and then maybe tie it together again later. 

“I know there are guys still doing albums, but I don't know how successful they are unless you're a really big act and that works for you. I mean, The Kid LAROI, for example, is doing an album and he’s a massive artist, but he's got that fan base there worldwide that will check it out. 

“I think you’ve got to be a little bit more intelligent in the way you do music these days,” he adds. “Just how you put it out there and how you get it before the biggest crowd possible.”

However, the more things change, the more things stay the same, and no more is that true when it comes to the old standard of touring. Though he was able to get the odd show in here and there amidst the perils of COVID, it was just last month that Murray was able to announce his long-awaited Before I Go tour last month.

“Honestly, I can’t tell you how good it is to be back playing live music,” he’d said in a statement to fans at the time. “I've wanted to play both these EPs for ages, I’m absolutely pumped about it!”

Indeed, the 17-date tour will be an extensive one, ranging from July until October as Murray performs along Australia's east coast, including dates in Canberra, Melbourne, Newcastle, and Cairns.

Ultimately, he’s just happy to be able to finally get back out on the road and do exactly what it is a musician like him is supposed to be able to do.

“It's great [to announce a tour like this],” he explains. “And I feel blessed. The band I have playing with me, these guys are seriously fantastic players. We just played Bluesfest recently, and we had a lot of people – photographers, the crew, all the bands – all saying to us, ‘You guys are the tightest band, it just blew us away.’

“I think a lot of people probably still, if they've never seen me live, they'll think of So Beautiful, which is a pretty mellow song,” he adds. “But my live shows are super dynamic and it’s really a lot more fun.”

In addition to blowing away people who might still have the Feeler-era of Pete Murray in their minds, he explains that while the live shows are about giving the fans what they want, it’s just as much fun for him to finally be able to play many of these songs live.

“I'm looking forward to playing tracks like Burning Up and Colour off Before I Go and some of the others that will have a lot more of a live presence to them,” he explains. “And we’ll probably drop it down and play some of the other songs a bit softer and more intimate as well, which gives you the dynamic of the show. 

“But playing live, when you're playing with a good band and the band’s backing you, it's so much fun. When you don't have a great band, it’s not as fun,” he adds with a laugh.

Now with a band that he admits is one of his best to date, and with crowd responses that seem to indicate that everything about his live show is getting better with every gig he plays, it feels as though Murray is performing at the top of his game as both a musician and a live performer.

“I've had good players pretty much most of my career, but especially this band – the guys that are playing with me now, they are phenomenally good,” he explains. “Every show we've been doing this year so far, people have been really impressed with it and it's just what you love. You want to entertain people, and to make sure they come away saying, ‘That was unbelievable!'

“I think that that's how you build your career, too. On live touring here and around the world, that's what you have to do. You put on a good show and people will come back and see you again, and then you want them to talk about it and go, ‘Wow, that was spectacular!’”


Sun 10th July | Gold Coast QLD | Miami Marketta

Sat 23rd July |Jindabyne NSW | The Station

Thurs 4th Aug | Cairns QLD | Tanks Arts Centre

Fri 5th Aug | Mission Beach QLD | Mission Beach

Sat 6th Aug | Gladstone QLD |Harvey Road Tavern

Thurs 25th Aug | Canberra ACT | Canberra Theatre

Fri 26th Aug | Dee Why NSW | Dee Why RSL

Sat 27th Aug | Kellyville Ridge NSW | Ettamogah Hotel

Thurs 1st Sep | Mt Evelyn VIC | York on Lilydale

Fri 2nd Sep | Chelsea Heights VIC |Chelsea Heights Hotel

Sat 3rd Sep | Melbourne VIC |  Corner Hotel

Thurs 29th Sep | Newcastle NSW, Exchange Hotel

Fri 30th Sep | Shoal Bay NSW | Shoal Bay Country Club

Sat 1st Oct | Bateau Bay NSW | Entrance League Club

Thurs 13th Oct | Berriedale TAS |Granada Tavern

Fri 14th Oct | Mulgrave VIC | Village Green Hotel

Sat 15th Oct | Torquay Hotel

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