Aussie folk-pop fave Pete Murray’s upcoming tour is about to put your summer road trip to shame. The smooth crooner is spending the first month of 2019 taking his PM3 Summer Sessions tour to 20 venues around the country. While his most recent tours have made cameo appearances in the capital cities, this time he is skipping the big smoke to play smaller towns from Mooloolaba in Queensland to Narrabeen in NSW.
In the spirit of the intimate tour, Pete is also bringing only two musicians to accompany him for the shows. Fans can look forward to tunes from his 2017 LP Camacho, the usual hits and a helluva lot of three-part harmonising.
We caught up with Pete to chat about the Summer Sessions, connecting with fans and why he’ll be getting back to basics on his new record.
Music Feeds: You’re about to hit the road for the PM3 Summer Sessions. What do you enjoy the most about playing these smaller shows?
Pete Murray: Regional stuff is always a lot of fun. They don’t get to see as many bands as city folk do. So when they come out, they’re always ready to have a good time. I find that people in those regional areas are super polite and really nice and loose at the same time (laughs). They know how to have a good time at the shows.
I think city people may be harder to please sometimes. Intimate shows are always a lot of fun. There’s less pressure and you can talk to people too. You can communicate with the crowd and you can hear what they’re saying to you. So it’s always a lot more fun.
I think for people going to smaller shows, the fans like that as well. When you’re playing a bigger show, the connection isn’t quite as good.
MF: You haven’t done a tour like this in a few years, so what inspired the tour for this Summer?
PM: Well, I just wanted to do a summer tour because it’s been a while since I’ve done a summer run. The last album came out last year and it has been six years in between albums, so I’ve done a few tours in that time but a lot of those were over winter. So I was talking with my manager and I was like “You know what? We need to organise a summer run because this is crazy”. That’s when people have the most fun and everyone wants to go out and do things, so let’s do it now and have some fun with it.
MF: I feel like a lot of your music is made to be experienced live on a warm summer’s night, so it only makes sense.
PM: Yeah, absolutely. It is. And we’re doing this three piece called PM3 so we’re using licks and beats and a stomp box to get a groove going and then we just jam to the groove. So it’s a lot more fun than when you’ve got your whole band and you’ve got the structure of the song and you’ve got to stick to that. The verse, chorus, verse, bridge. With the three piece, you’re just going for it and you can kind of extend it if you want.
The three-part harmonies are another big feature of this tour. We’ve kind of done it before but the majority of the songs we’re doing have three-part harmonies. So everyone who saw this show on the winter run I just did loved it and were saying that it was their favourite show of mine that they’d seen because it was intimate and you could hear the harmonies. It was a really nice sound.
MF: So does that mean we can expect to hear a new twist on the songs on this tour?
PM: Yeah, that’s right. They’ll definitely have a different flavour and it’s something that I haven’t done aside from the last tour. It has been good. Even with the new stuff I’m writing at the moment, it’s kind of a bit more based on that simple groove that you can just jam to on top and making sure those three-part harmonies are in there. I think that’s really important for me.
You’ve got to keep it fresh. If you do the same thing all of the time, everyone’s going to know what you’re doing and if they’ve seen you once, they think “oh, I don’t need to see him again.” Every show I do, I try to do things a little differently just so it does have a different flavour. So it’ll definitely be different from what anyone has seen before.
MF: What can we expect from the set list?
PM: I try to throw some different ones in there that I haven’t played much but it’s pretty hard not to play the old favourites. You know like ‘So Beautiful’ and ‘Opportunity’ and songs like that. People expect those and I’m fine to do it. I know that some acts get a bit funny about those types of songs, but I find that a bit weird. Those are the songs that made your career and if you don’t play them, it’s really odd and people are going to wonder what’s going on. So there will be some of the older hits of course, but some new ones as well.
MF: You have a few months until the tour kicks off now, do you have to do much to prepare for so many shows?
PM: Well, that’s actually not a massive tour for me (laughs). I’ve done double that. When you get up to 40-something gigs, it gets a bit tougher. But this will be a walk in the park. We’re doing it on the weekends, so I’ll be doing Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday and then I can go home to take a few days off and then go back in.
MF: Is there anywhere you’re particularly excited to take the Summer Sessions to?
PM: That’s a tough question. There’s a lot of good spots on this tour. It depends on the crowd. Sometimes you’ll play a venue and the crowd will be OK and then you’ll go back and the crowd will be on fire. The Kingscliff Hotel will be a pretty good one because it’s kind of like a beer garden area. So it’s a cool spot there. But I’m expecting it to be pretty good everywhere really. The vibe that we’re doing is really intimate and a lot of fun. There’s a lot of crowd interaction and it doesn’t matter where we are, it’ll be good fun.
MF: Do you get much time to explore the towns you’re visiting while on tour?
PM: Nah, we don’t get much time. Pretty much you jump up and have breakfast and you go to the next place and you play again. Although I think around Melbourne, we’re going to take a break down there and have a bit of a family holiday.
MF: You mentioned some fresh tunes earlier, does that mean we can expect a new record some time soon?
PM: Yeah! I’m working on something at the moment. Not sure when, but it’ll probably be out next year some time. It’s just starting to take shape. It’s similar to what I’m doing now with the gigs where I’ve got a groove and have the beats going and then write the song on top of that.
We’ll definitely have the three-part harmonies in those songs. I think people like to hear my voice and having those harmonies. Brett Wood is playing guitar and Simon Fiseden is playing bass and the harmonies just really suit my voice. That’s the feature and then everything else sits under that. Sometimes when you play with a band, that gets lost and the vocals don’t come through as much.
I think my fans also just like me with an acoustic guitar. The sound of an acoustic guitar and my voice seems to work really well and that’s what they like. So with the new album, I’ll definitely try to keep that acoustic flavour.
MF: You released a documentary with Camacho, will you be doing the same with the new record?
PM: These days you have to do that. It just keeps you connected and that’s where your audience is really seeing you now. If you can keep that connection up with them and build up your followers on social media, they have direct access to you so it kind of makes sense.
MF: Yeah, which I’m sure is very different to when you released Feeler in 2003.
PM: Yeah, that’s right. It’s very different to the old format. Now you release 30 second snippets of the songs. Is it worth having a full video anymore? I’m not sure. It’s hard to know what gets the most views now. Do people have the time to watch a whole music video? Everyone is busy flicking from one thing to the next. So once we get there, we’ll work that one out.
MF: Do you prefer having that instant access with your fans or did you prefer having a little more mystery?
PM: Oh, I prefer a little bit more mystery. For me it feels funny. You see some acts just doing anything to get likes and it’s a bit weird. So I preferred a little more mystery but I guess you can’t have that if you want direct access to your fan-base and if you want to let them know what’s happening.
Catch Pete Murray’s full list of 2019 tour dates below!
Pete Murray 2019 ‘PM3 Summer Sessions’ Nationwide Tour
Tickets on sale now
Thursday, 3rd January
Wharf Tavern, Mooloolaba
Friday, 4th January
Wharf Tavern, Mooloolaba
Saturday, 5th January
Nightquarter, Gold Coast
Sunday, 6th January
Kingscliff Beach Hotel, Kingscliff
Wednesday, 9th January
C.EX Club, Coffs Harbour
Thursday, 10th January
United Services Club, Laurieton
Friday, 11th January
Shoal Bay Country Club, Shoal Bay
Saturday, 12th January
Sunken Monkey, Erina
Sunday, 13th January
Summersalt, Rottnest Island
Wednesday, 16th January
Batemans Bay Soldiers Club, Batemans Bay
Thursday, 17th January
Club Sapphire, Merimbula
Friday, 18th January
The Grand Hotel, Mornington Peninsula
Saturday, 19th January
Western Port Hotel, Phillip Island
Sunday, 20th January
The Grand Hotel, Mornington Peninsula
Wednesday, 23rd January
Whalers Inn, Warrnambool
Thursday, 24th January
Wool Exchange, Geelong
Wednesday, 30th January
Narrabeen RSL, Narrabeen
Thursday, 31st January
Honeysuckle Hotel, Newcastle
Friday, 1st February
Miranda Hotel, Miranda
Saturday, 2nd February