It was only a year ago that troubadour Josh Pyke was touring regional Australia solo in “the Lone Wolf Tour” for his Album The Beginning And The End Of Everything. As he worked his way across the country collecting new die-hard fans with each show, he let everyone know there would be a new album soon. That time has nearly come, and if the reaction from fans on the Friends Of Josh Pyke website/facebook is anything to go by, it couldn’t come soon enough. With the release of his 5th studio album But For All These Shrinking Hearts, due for release on July 31st, he is hitting the road again. A series of intimate shows in small atmospheric venues are the reward for his army of fans, and tickets have almost sold out.  PEARL’s Louise MacGregor talks to Josh in the build up of all this excitement.

PEARL: The single Hollering Hearts has just been released, what’s the inspiration for that track?

JOSH: The imagery of Hollering Hearts is its sort of the way I would describe someone who is super passionate and who follows that passion wherever it takes them. Being in the creative industry I can really relate to that, pursuing the thing that gives you the most exuberant response. For me music’s always been that thing, that thing that makes my heart holler, and I wanted to write a song about that person who follows that thing that makes there heart burst at the seams, and that also gives challenge and turmoil in a way.

PEARL: There’s been some co-writing on this album. How did those songs come about?

JOSH: Yep, there were three songs, two off the album and one as an itunes bonus. I had 16 songs for the album. I’d presented them to the label, every one had signed off on the songs and we had the green light to go. It was at that point that I decided I’d like to do some co-writing. There was no pressure and it didn’t really matter if I didn’t come up with anything good, it was just a fun kind of thing to push myself a bit at the end of the writing process. It was super easy and pleasant and creatively fun. It was basically just hanging out with mates and having a jam. I think that lack of pressure was the reason we came up with three great songs.

PEARL: With this being your fifth studio album, you must have seen quite a bit of change in this industry..

JOSH: Oh, hugely. Yeah I reckon I could write a book on all that’s changed. When I started out there were no streaming services.. itunes was definitely around but it wasn’t that popular. I worked in a record store when I first started being a professional musician, and I saw the decline of record sales and the beginning of online stuff coming in. I witnessed the change in culture of consumers where they still want entertainment but they don’t really as a whole want to pay for it. A lot of people are not really valuing artists out-put and that’s the biggest shift I’ve noticed.

PEARL: These Fans First tours are a wonderful way to thank your fans; do you ever feel more pressure at these shows, knowing these people have seen you live many, many times? Or is it more that you feel comfortable knowing you’re among friends.

JOSH: Definitely the latter. As much as it’s a chance to say thankyou, it’s also an opportunity to have a really informal fun gig. Every time I’ve done a fans first gig I have inevitably screwed up a new song and it’s a really supportive gig to cut your teeth on. I almost think that’s the charm of these gigs, you get the chance to see the development of these new songs. It’s definitely a more fun and casual way to play before I go on the road again with the band for the more polished version.

PEARL: You have quite an informal interaction on stage, there’s a lot of joking and story telling at these shows. After listening to your music, and these tours, a lot of people feel like they almost have had a one sided conversation with you. Does it weird you out when people speak to you like they know you?

JOSH: Ha! Ah no, not really. It’d be weird if someone said “I saw you at Coles, you were buying carrots” you know.. I have always found everyone super chilled and normal. They’re just like me. I don’t consider there to be any big separation between the audience and me, it’s just that I’m playing, and people are just listening..

But For All these Shrinking Hearts is released July 31st.

The pre-order offer includes a signed copy of the album, a collectors lyric magnet set and 1 x ticket to a fans-first show in either Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane or Adelaide (buyers choice). These exclusive shows are only available to those who pre-order the album.

Pre-orders for the anticipated album are available now from the website www.joshpyke.com