PETE ALLAN Easy rider

Ahead of his shows across the country, Pete Allan has released the music video for his single Hurdles, from his Ripples EP, which was released late last year. When BRAYDEN EDWARDS calls Allan he is packing up his van on the central coast of New South Wales preparing to head to the next show on his way down to Sydney. They had a quick chat about travelling via van, surfing and touring with The Pete Allan Collective. Allan is playing at Prince of Wales, Bunbury on September 7, Settlers Tavern, Margaret River on September 8 and at Indi Bar, Scarborough on September 9 

I heard you’re travelling by van for a lot of this tour? Why do you like to travel that way?

Yes the ‘Silver Surfer’ is the one that gets us around. When you’re stopping off at communities on your way around you get to meet people and a big part of what I do is about the community. You get to hear stories and be inspired by some locals and you never know where the next one will come from. It could be from meeting someone at servo or a cafe and hear what their life is about in their neck of the woods.

I guess you also get to catch some waves about the place travelling that way too?

Yeah absolutely. Actually went for a bit of a surf this morning because the waves were pretty good. It was pretty cold though and I forgot my wetsuit and had locals paddle past asking if I was doing alright. So I definitely won’t be forgetting that again when I head over to Western Australia. But it definitely got the blood flowing and woke me up after a late night.

These are your first headline shows in WA, but have you been over here before?

I’ve been right through WA before when I spent about two years on the road travelling around the countryside. I lived right up the north in Wyndham, as well as Coral Bay and Prevelly in Margaret River in the caravan park there while I was picking grapes in the area. I’m super keen to get back over there and I’m super excited about these shows. We’ve got some locals guys playing our show too. We’ve got the Luke Fox trio and Michael Dunstan opening for us. I’ve heard they’re a really cool crew.

For this tour you’re going by The Pete Allan Collective, so how is this different from your usual performances?

I can’t really call it a band because I haven’t had the same members all the time. That was just the right terminology for what we’ve got right now. Our drummer is Canadian guy with a background in punk music so he definitely has an interesting take on the drums. There will be a new lead guitarist and our legendary bass player Dean. So it will be the four of us.

You’re touring in support of your new single Hurdles at the moment. What can you tell us about the new track?

Hurdles is a single of the EP Ripples that I released late last year. It’s a song that was written for some inspiring people in my life. At some point I realised there were so many people around me who get up and get through all kinds of challenges. You don’t realise until you think about it that it actually draws you up and makes you push forward through those challenges as well. But they’re the kind of people that if you went up to them and told them that they wouldn’t receive it too well because they’re so humble and it would make them feel awkward which is why I put it into a song. As a way to thank them for inspiring me.

It’s a very outwardly focused song that a lot of people could really get something from as there is a very universal theme about it. But I’m sure it was still related to a lot of things that were going on with you personally as well?

It actually came from being asked to write a song for my older sister’s wedding. I was like ‘what an awkward thing to write about’. When I was a little kid she was getting off the bus after high school and crossing the road she was hit by a car that was doing 110 km’s per hour. And she survived and moved on but she’s gone through challenge after challenge some of which were the results of that accident. But now she’s the CEO of a charity and I look at it and feel like it’s just ridiculous when she could have just curled up into a ball and said I’ve had enough. But in writing that it was when I realised there were a lot of other people in my life like that as well.

Can you tell us a bit about the story behind the video clip for your previous single Summertime? It features yourself surfing on a guitar, or at least trying to which was a pretty unique idea.

The idea came about from my previous EP Under the Surface. A number of those songs were featured on a surfing video called Flux. The trade off between a friend of mine that was a photographer was that he would do the cover art for the EP. He said “let’s get you and your music and the ocean all together for this video. We’re going to get you diving under the ocean with a guitar. And so we were just mucking around in the water trying not to drown and I just started riding this guitar like a bodyboard. I got one good wave and was right in the barrel and he was there with all his camera gear going that looks cool you should check this out. I had this old broken guitar at home which I filled up with expander foam and took it out in the surf and discovered it actually rides pretty well. There’s a little bit of Noosa and Peregian Beach near where I live. So out of that came guitar surfing which I do every now and then with my boys. They get on their bodyboard and I jump on the guitar and muck around the shorebreak.

For those that haven’t heard your music what artists are you inspired by and what do you hope people will feel from watching your shows over here?

I’ve got lots of different influences in both sound style and writing style. As a writer I’m a big fan of Ben Harper and Paul Kelly and Jack Johnson in a lyrical sense. The vibe can be a bit like that, or a bit Pete Murray. I’ve been likened to Thirsty Merc. It’s a lot of different influences across my whole life that have come into this coastal, rootsy folk-rock tones. I don’t like to box myself in too much but people who like that kind of music will definitely dig what we’re doing. They’re very story driven songs that are good fun as well.

Catch Pete Allan in Margaret River, Bunbury, Perth and Bassendean this September, and check out his video for Hurdles here:

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