When he announced his plans for a hiatus from solo music, the first thing Josh Pyke realised was that he could now say yes.
After coming to prominence with Middle of the Hill, which polled number 19 in the 2005 Triple J Hottest 100 competition, he’s been on a constant cycle of producing albums and touring.
“If you get to a point where you find a balance, it’s actually an excellent life,” Pyke said. “It’s really fun, it’s extremely gratifying that people are coming to hear you play songs that they love.
“But the last thirteen years I’ve never been able to say, ‘Yes I can come to your wedding in three months time.’
“It sounds like such a small thing, but it’s actually been one of the hardest things because you feel like you’re missing out on stuff.”
The 10 Years Of Memories & Dust tour will visit Ballarat on December 9.
The solo gig will be split into two sets, with the first set a performance of Pyke’s Memories & Dust album in full.
Pyke said that people had been asking him for years to play the entire album live.
“When I realised it was the tenth anniversary, knowing I was going to take a break afterwards, it finally seemed right,” he said.
“It’s got a nice kind of symmetry and playing solo will give me a chance to talk a bit more about the songs.
“For me, finishing the touring in this kind of intimate way is really special and it’s meant to be a celebration, so I think it will be joyous.”
Pyke said there was a connection to the city hidden in his The Beginning and the End of Everything album.
“I’ve played in Ballarat so many times, and at the end of Warming Winter, there’s a recording of this ghostly choir,” he said.
“That was actually recorded at an Irish pub in the city, which we were using as a backstage room for the night.
“An Irish vocal group was practising in a room down the hall, and I just grabbed my phone and recorded it, so Ballarat is actually on one of my records.”
Pyke won’t be disappearing completely, with a series of projects lined up through to mid-2018.
He’s slowly chipping away at a collaboration with Newcastle author Margo Lanagan, and a soon-to-be-released children’s television show from performer Justine Clarke features Pyke’s music.
“I’d love to do more of that sort of thing, collaboration is the key to creativity as far as I’m concerned,” Pyke said.
“Even when you think you’re a solo artist, and you’re just writing songs by yourself in your bedroom, at some point it becomes a collaborative process.
“The hiatus is like hitting a reset button, there’s no way I want to stop touring long-term, but I can pursue some other things and come back completely revitalised.”
Pyke will be coming to the Karova Lounge on December 9 in his national tour.
Tickets at karovalounge.com/show/josh-pyke-2/