We recently caught up with Sydney based Indie Rockers PJ Orr to discuss their new album, the current musical climate and much more. Enjoy!
Welcome PJ Orr! How did the band form?
PJ Orr started as a solo / studio project around 2015 after Hailer finished up in 2014. I chipped away at making the debut record “Foggy Notion” which eventually came out in 2016. I worked on that record with Pete Holz (his credits include biggies like Gang of Youths and Peking Duk) and he came out and played bass with myself and Joe O’Coner in late 16 into 17 and 18. In 2019 whilst working on the new record, Nando joined the band on bass to settle the current line-up. PJ Orr has progressed from a solo thing into a collaborative shared project.
What motivates your song writing?
In some sense my song writing is motivated by the here and now – what I see, think, feel and experience etc. That can come across quite dry and literal at times and other times a feeling can twist and be channels into metaphors and fantasy.
Music more generally is a sorta practical therapy, it transports me towards something much bigger. I enjoy being lost in the world of tones, rhythms, colours and stories. Always searching – never landing, channelling creative energy into expression.
What is the inspiration behind your new album Tightrope Walker?
Why do humans climb suspended between buildings with nothing but a tightrope?? The album is inspired by the search for shelter and seeking compass to navigate the tightrope between simplicity & meaning and chaos & confusion. A bit like a punch-drunk boxer on last legs who manages to swing one last haymaker and win the fight. Good fun!!
What song off the new album would you recommend first-time listeners of PJ Orr to check out?
I’d say the title track Tightrope Walker – feel it’s a nice meld of my musical worlds and a good place to jump in from!
You were recently signed with US record label Misra Records (congratulations!) Have you enjoyed that process so far?
Indeed, we did, thank you!! It’s been nice, working with Jeff Betten (director) has been a pleasure and it’s a nice feeling to have some people in your corner, we’re stoked to have joined forces with such a legendary US label – they really are all about the music. The timing of the release in the midst of covid is a real challenge naturally but we keep on keeping on.
How are you coping with the current lockdown?
Coping well I’d say on the whole – feeling very fortunate to be in Australia and healthy. Friends and family overseas are seeing a whole other side where the threat is far more real so yeah, counting my blessings and trying to make the most of the quiet time.
Are you planning any live stream shows?
Yes indeed, that is in the works – not super equipped at the minute but we’ll get something cooking over the coming weeks.
Do you prefer recording in the studio or playing live?
Oh, that’s a tough one – they are both so different but so amazing. I love the immediacy and communal aspect of playing to a live audience. On the other hand, in the studio you can channel that live energy but get dive deeper into experimentation and composition. I’ll have to sit on the fence for this one – like naming your favourite child!
What is your proudest achievement as band?
Proudest achievement would have to be the release of this record and moving from a solo project to a truly shared and collaborative project. Landing in the AIR album charts at #6 in was also rather lovely!
What is the plan for the rest of 2020?
We had a 10 show East coast run scheduled for April and May and were in the midst of booking solo shows on the East Coast USA in June – so that is shelved until the shutters come flying back up. In the meantime, doing plenty of writing and trying to stay healthy!