A FIRST TIME FOR EVERYTHING
The early days of being a musician are exciting times, full of first experiences. For local singer/songwriter/dude-with-a-guitar PETE AKHURST, the firsts have been coming with increasing frequency: first music video, first support slots, first interstate and overseas shows, and the upcoming launch of his first EP Footprints.
When I meet him for his first face-to-face interview, Pete is affable and relaxed, as you might guess from his tunes, and he’s about to head off to Sydney to finish his first music video for Sister, one of four tracks on Footprints. “The EP’s been about four years in the making,” Pete tells me. “I started writing it when I was living in Sydney when I was 15, not thinking that anything would come of it…just writing for the sake of realising that I could write a song.”
Despite his young age, he seems to have realised it, with songs that invite comparisons to Paul Dempsey and Jack Johnson. Likewise, and as his self-produced, self-funded EP attests, Pete says he’s happy to see how far he can go solo. “Other people have done it: Tallest Man on Earth, City and Color…like anything it evolves, but the original step, I kind of just want to be able to do it by myself, just look back and be like ‘alright, cool, I’ve done that, let’s evolve’.”
Indeed, over the past few years he’s already been evolving into someone worth checking out, as you’ll know if you’ve seen him gigging around town and supporting the likes of Ash Grunwald, Whitley and the late, great Dutch Tilders. He even did a mini-tour in Dubai, simply because, he says “a chick over there heard my stuff and she really liked it.”
As for his EP’s gradual gestation, Pete says, “it’s me making something that I’m happy to share with other people. More importantly, it’s just something that I’m really happy with, because I’m the biggest pessimist when it comes to my stuff.” He likens Footprints to “looking at an old journal…remembering where I was when I wrote those particular songs.” With upbeat opener Puppets, the more sombre Too Much Too Soon, sibling homage Sister, and the closing title track Footprints, it’s an EP largely inspired by and focussed on family and other relationships.
Of course there are plenty more first experiences ahead for Pete: plans of touring North America, an open-mic tour of Melbourne and a digital EP in spring. But for now, there’s his launch at The Front.
“It’ll be a long time coming,” he says, “for me anyway, and for other people that have been around since the start.” For everyone else, Pete tells me, “It’ll be a party full of nice tunes and warm people.” As Canberra grows ever chillier, sounds like maybe this show should be your first frosty Friday night choice.
Catch Pete Akhurst with special guest Isaac Graham (Sydney) at The Front Gallery and Café on Friday June 3 at 7pm. Tickets are $10 at the door.