Five Minutes With Riley Pearce
We had a quick chat with the young musician ahead of the release of his new EP, Outside The Lines
Riley Pearce’s sophomore EP, Outside The Lines, is set for release on the 19th of February. The 23 year old, Perth-based singer/songwriter combines delicate mixes of percussion, guitar, harmonies and sweet, sweet melodies to tell stories that belie his young age. Inspired by recent travels to the US, the EP looks at the word through the eyes of a wanderer. We caught up with Riley before he takes off on a national release tour.
So Riley, for someone so young you’ve travelled a lot, how has that inspired you as an artist and as a person?
I think it’s all about perspective. Travelling helps you see things with through a fresh pair of eyes and all the exciting new experiences that come from it all really get the inspiration flowing. I learnt a lot about myself and my music from travelling and it’s really allowed me to think about what I want to achieve with my music and where I want it all to take me.
You’ve just returned from traveling for about six months, how was that and what were some of the most memorable moments for you?
It was easily one of the best things I’ve ever done. Montana is such a picturesque place and being there for six months and travelling to different parts of the US was such an incredible experience. I was lucky enough to be in Austin at the time that SXSW was on and I don’t know which was more impressive, the bands I saw or the food vans. I’ve been home for a while now but the trip still feels like it was yesterday.
Does your new EP reflect your time abroad; your experiences, lessons learnt, any culture shocks?
I think the only culture shocks I got were in the form of the cold snowy temperatures and the ridiculous meal sizes but both were a good kind of shock to get. The EP reflects a lot about my experiences and the different thoughts that found their way into my mind whilst I was over there. Each song has it’s only little connection to the trip (except Seasick, that doesn’t really have anything to do with the trip) and Roskie is the track that kind of sums everything up in its short, sub-3-minuteness.
Do you think you’ve matured upon returning from your recent travels, or do you still feel you have a lot to experience and learn?
There’s always so much to still learn which I think is the reason people catch the “travel bug”. They want to go out and experience and learn more so that you can learn more about yourself. I think I’ve definitely matured and hopefully that’s evident in the songwriting too.
You’re only 23 yet your lyrics and music almost give the vibe that you’re an old soul at heart, what’s the songwriting process like for you?
Thanks. It somewhat varies. I have an iPhone full of voice recordings of different riffs and song ideas but then I also keep a songbook full of all these different song ideas or lyric ideas and stories to write about and it all comes down to matching them up and what I’m feeling at the time. Some songs I can finish in a day or two but others will take me months.
What initially got you into music?
Well from a very, very young age, it was Don Spencer. Dad always played guitar around the house and for various cover bands he’d make with his friends. I’d always had lessons throughout school but it probably wasn’t until high school when my passion for music really started to take hold of me. I started busking at local farmers markets and from there started writing songs and by the time I was in uni I just started focusing more on my music then my commerce degree.
Which fellow musicians do you look up to and why?
I’m a sucker for good lyrics so I tend to look up to those artists whose songs make me feel something. Musicians like Paul Dempsey, Ben Howard, Jose Gonzalez, Missy Higgins.
What are the most essentials things you have to take with you whilst you’re travelling or moving between places, and on tour?
Besides my guitar which I feel goes without saying… My water bottle, I drink a lot of water. Usually a basketball and my phone (just for my Spotify tunes).
How does it feel to come home to Australia and in particular Perth, to show your friends, family and fans the new EP?
The EP was actually recorded in Perth shortly after I arrived back, so it was less of a “Hey I’m back and here’s a new EP” and more of a “Hey I’m back, give me a year to record a new EP and then I can show you”… not as cool but that’s kind of how it worked. The response I’m getting from it so far has been really good. A lot of comments on how much things have changed for the better since the first EP release back in 2013.
Finally, what’s happening for the rest of 2016?
Playing a few WA festivals and then heading over east for some shows in March/April. Then I’ll be looking to do more regional shows, a bit more writing and hopefully head back into the studio later in the year.