Wednesday 24 June 2009

meet my friend, pikelet

Wednesday 24 June 2009

Although she’d never guess it, when Pikelet agreed to an interview with Blouse I instantly went blurry-eyed. I was nervously excited at the thought of picking the brain of one of my favourite artists.

Normally I’d approach artists releasing new records or stopping in Sydney during a tour. As a career journalist i've learnt not to waste my subject's time, as i don't like them wasting mine with anything less than a good story.

But with Pikelet, or Evelyn Morris as friends call her, the exchange was less immediate and more personal.

It's like when shoottheplayer produced a music video of her staring awkwardly to the ground. As she sang the first lamenting lines of “Miss Her” the vulnerability she’s so good at concealing, beneath layers of quirk, becomes striking.

This ability was prominent on her 2007 self-titled debut album. It sounded like musical hopscotch and came from a Melbourne indie movement saturated in a sound defined by labels like Mistletone Records.

Now i wouldn’t call it cowering, but her track ‘They Call It Love?...Wow’ takes me back to a time when grass made me itchy and my only motivation to attend school was the canteen...

Enter Omar and Pikelet:

Where are you at the moment?

I'm currently in an internet cafe in Newtown, Wellington, NZ. I'm here for three weeks rehearsing with Bachelorette band. The house I'm staying in is around the corner from here and is home to some rad dudes. Newtown has pretty much the best coffee I've ever come across in my life, and I'm a total snob about coffee. People's Coffee. Tops.

So you’re touring NZ, then over to the US and across to Europe over the next two months?

Yep that's right! You got it! (except I'm not really 'touring' NZ. Rehearsing here and just doing a couple of shows whilst here.) It's going incredibly well...I guess. I mean it's interesting having such massive plans ahead and being in a place like Wellington. NZ has a much nicer pace than I'm used to...people are pretty relaxed and things go slower it seems. Which is a little juxtaposed to the way my brain feels at many things on the go at once and trying to hurry everything along. But hey it's still pretty easy. It's only music after-all, so I try not to get too obsessive and stressed. The actual main stress for me at the moment is getting my album completed so I can hand it around to label-types overseas. My band mates are doing an alternative mix of it at the moment and I wish they would hurry up.

You’ve moved your career away from the hardcore drummer you were with bands like Baseball – was that musical progression difficult to establish?

Not really...I mean there were certainly some punk or hardcore kids who don't really dig on Pikelet, which upset me at first I guess. But it's insane to expect everyone to like everything you do. I much prefer doing Pikelet... I get to play to new audiences almost every show. It's kinda more possible to invite new folks to shows or something...Baseball and True Radical Miracle are basically bands that will always play to the same audiences...mostly made-up of people we know really well. Which is fine and super-fun...but can feel a little like preaching to the choir or something. I've enjoyed the way that things have unfolded with Pikelet. Meeting heaps of new people all the time is really suitable to my personality.

For the newbies, can you describe your sound?

I would say...psychadelic folk...however the new up-coming album has more of a synthesiser aspect to it, and it is with a full band. Someone recently introduced me to a band called Bo Hansson, and I feel that band has some resonance with what we are doing currently. I'm a huge fan of The United States of America and Broadcast, and I think that influence comes through somewhat.

You released the EP Not So Still this year on Special Awards Records. Was there an inspiration behind that recording?

That recording was a release of home-recordings. I'm constantly recording demos at home, as it's partially how I come up with ideas and write songs. Whilst a lot of it is not of a quality I would release, some of it turns out to be just how I like it and I would never re-record it for fear of ruining it. So I like to release the best of home recordings once a year. Previously I've always done it on CDRs and just sold them at shows. This year Dan from Special Awards Records was keen to help, so we put it out properly!

Was there a reason for releasing it on Special Awards? Are you still signed to Chapter?

Yeah I'm still with Chapter. I tend to do every release with whomever it makes sense to do it with. Special Awards is a new label that I wanted to support and be involved with because I believe that Dan is just the obsessive-type that could make a rad label. And he is into good music too. You should check out some of the other releases he has done. All top shelf.

Can you divulge info about a forthcoming LP?

It's a band album and contains a lot of songs I've been performing with the full band over the last year. It's heavily influenced by 70s synth and psych stuff, but still has a pretty distinctly Pikelet tinge...which I would go crazy trying to figure out how to explain...Coz it's hard to do that when you make it yourself.

Why did you start selling Pikelet shopping bags? Are you a crazy environmentalist, or do you think we should stop carrying toddlers with plastic, as your MySpace suggests?

Yeah I've always been an environmentalist. Better than being just a mentalist. haha. My Dad was always rambling on about greeny stuff when I was growing up so I've always been conscious of it. But really...the bags were more a little bit out of laziness...I hate trying to figure out how many smalls, mediums, large, xlarge t-shirts to get. This way there is only one size! I was thinking of doing hankercheifs for the same reason.

Will you be playing in Sydney later this year?

Yeah I really would love to play in Sydney again! It's been less regular this year so far. I'm planning a big album release tour in October or so just after it comes out. So I'll see ya then.

If you could do anything in your favourite blouse, what would it be?

Hmmm...Probably read poetry to a large crowd in an overly-theatrical way whilst confused on-lookers call me a wanker.


Snap up Pikelet's music here and here. Check her MySpace for album and tour details.

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