Q & A with Pete Allan

Sometimes you can just tell the artists that grew up on the coast. Their music and their lyrics all seem to reflect the smoothness of the sea breeze, or the relaxed pace of coastal life, transporting the listener from wherever they are to wherever they would rather be. This capability is the heart and soul of Pete Allan's latest EP 'Ripples'. A native of the Sunshine Coast hub of Noosa, Pete's blend of effortlessly cool vocals and hypnotic, swaying rhythms are the musical epitome of the paradise he grew up in.

ete's been a busy man, but we were lucky enough to nab him for a Q & A...

G’day Pete. Happy belated Ripples EP release!  In all seriousness, well done on the new EP. Four years on from your last EP ‘Under the Surface’, ‘Ripples’ shows a lot of growth, not only in your songwriting, but there’s a great change in your vocal delivery too.  What happened in those four years between those two releases?

Glad you like the EP man! In some ways it feels like four years took ten! I’ve spent that time developing my sound and mostly focusing on the delivery of my live performances and writing material for future releases. My voice has grown too both as I sing more, and let go of the vocal mask I wore and let my own tone out. It doesn’t have to be the prettiest voice..just mine.

You’ve been playing solo for some time, but with this release, you’re now working with a full band. How has that transition been for you?  Do you have times when you’re on stage, lost in the music, then you realise you’re not alone?

Haha sounds like you know that feeling hey? Off stage: its been really challenging to organise multiple people over just organising myself. Any band managers out there get my instant respect! I have some very talented local session players who’ve been great in helping me work it all out, and have also been successful in applying for a RADF(regional arts development fund) grant through the Sunshine Coast Council and Arts Queensland to help me cover taking session players with me as I tour this release rather than just going solo, which helps me deliver the best sound and grow my opportunities as an Artist!

On Stage: I’m having so much fun hearing what is normally just in my head, flowing around the room, and yes I get lost in it for sure!

‘Ripples’ was recorded at Heliport Studios, with Elliot Heinrich (AYLA, Pop Cult) at the helm. Did you have a game plan, per se, before you went into the recording process with what you wanted, and how was your Heliport experience?

I most definitely had a clear direction in which I wanted the songs to go. With this understanding in mind, Elliot and I worked longer on pre production to let things sit after a session before signing off and moving on. When we actually hit the studio we were on fire because we knew exactly what we were up to. At the same time though I sensed that everyone working on the project needed the freedom to bring their flavour to the tracks, so when they turned up and asked ‘what to play’ I just told them what the song was about, where I was coming from with it, and asked them to play how the song lead them. Elliot was great to work with and he really respected the songs during the whole process. Heliport is a top quality facility, and Alan, Barb and the team always make you feel welcome.

Without sounding too cliche, but there’s some great light and shade on ‘Ripples’ (Hurdles and Piece of Heaven would actually be my favourite tracks).  A lot of your inspiration comes from our beach lifestyle, in particular your own personal connection with the ocean, but can you remember what inspired & the moment your wrote Piece of Heaven?

The whole theme of ‘Ripples’ came from a bunch of songs that each had a message that I wanted to ripple out into society, whether that be gratefulness, thinking about others, that we can’t be better than someone else just better at something/s, and so on. It made sense to me to put ‘Piece of Heaven’ in as raw as possible, so I recorded vocal and guitar at once and only did two takes. We used the whole second take with little to no editing. The inspiration, well some people have already picked up on the references to substance abuse, but it’s about addiction to anything really. There is some deeper personal stuff at play too, but if I box the song in too much with my descriptions it might rob people of the songs meaning and connection to them personally. Glad you like it though!

You’ve already had your launch at Solbar (on September 10), but the launch dates are far from over… what have you got coming up?

The launch was great! I’ve got a bunch of great band shows already booked and more tba too!

Thurs Sep 22 – The Milk Factory, Brisbane

Sun Oct 2 – Caloundra Music Festival

Fri Oct 7 – Eat Street Markets

Sun Oct 9 – Peregian Originals

More TBA soon!

And finally, you’re known for your guitar surfing (literally) - getting out into the waves and treating the guitar like an esky lid (fellow ‘lidder here - best I’ve done is a Maccas tray), so when will we see you out there on a double bass, dropping the knee?

Haha I’ve done KFC trays! Double Bass you say?..interesting. Probably take a lot of Expanda foam to fill it, but if it floats..paddle out!  For now the guitar is just the right fit in the barrel ;)

Cheers Pete. You’re an absolute champion, and I’m digging the new EP!

Thanks Rhys! And thanks to The Point Music News for always promoting great local music on the grassroots level!

Pete Allan's 'Ripples' EP is now available through iTunes here, or head straight to his merch page on his website here.