Indie Alt Pop Artist Pyramid Park has just released his second album 'Not An Island'. In this interview Pete McAllen, the man behind Pyramid Park, tells Louder Than The Music all about the new album, his thoughts on the music industry, and his plans for the future.
What can you tell us about your latest release 'Not An Island’?
’Not an Island’ feels like a coming of age record for me. It’s the second Pyramid Park project, and for me personally the third full length album (I did a solo album in 2014). Sonically I have landed on a sound that feels comfortable to me, while exploring new subjects and tones. My songwriting has become more vulnerable, and I’ve tried to not shy away from subjects that can make me feel uncomfortable.
Which is you favourite Track off this new album?
That changes from listen to listen at the moment. If I had to land on one, it would probably be track 11 ’Surrender’. The reason is that it sums up my journey in the last two years. When Iain Hutchison (producer) sent back the first mix I sat in tears listening through it.
You have pushed out four singles before the album, Why do it this way?
In a way I would like to push out even more singles, so four felt relatively conservative. I’ve always wanted to write a 12 track album, it feels like a substantial piece of work. With the luxury of so many songs, giving away a third of it before release date builds up anticipation, and still leaves plenty to be discovered.
And how was the response to them?
I’ve been encouraged by the varying responses, from people who have no idea who I am through to fans who follow closely. I think ’Never Let Me Down’ surprised a few people, which was the hope. Each album needs to have something fresh about it, and this one has had a lot of positive responses.
You made some great videos to go with these singles, was making videos a big aim when starting off on this project?
Absolutely. Previously I’ve wanted to create more, but have had restrictions. This time around, there were three different film makers who approached me about work, and each had a different vision. I was surprised to see which video connected the most with people.
In your opinion how has the music Industry changed over the years?
Artists now need to constantly be creating - songs, content, podcasts, vlogs - whatever the artist wants. For me, I love this opportunity, where you can write your own rule book. In the past record labels had a way of working, and as an artist if you wanted success you needed to do it the label way. Now, while labels are still important, you can do so much on your own, creating a culture, a brand and team around you who believe in your creative vision. It requires artists to work hard to find new ways of communicating their songs and message, but the rewards are much more tangible.
Does it get harder writing fresh new songs. ?
I don’t think so. I mean, it’s difficult if you haven’t written for a while to then restart. And there is always an element of pain and perseverance when song writing. But I like that because you then have to go deeper, ask yourself questions and then resurface the other side with something to say again.
Your last release 'Vulnerability' is an amazing album, were you happy how this album was perceived?
I’m hugely grateful for the responses I’ve had from ‘Vulnerability.’ It will always be a special project, because it’s where Pyramid Park began. It opened up a lot of doors, and enable two to three years of touring that I probably wouldn’t have had if it wasn’t released. Some songs did a lot better than I thought, and others remain hidden gems. I think this is normal for an album.
If you could work with any songwriter, who would it be and why?
Too many to list. I used to keep a wish list of songwriters who I wanted to write with, but that has now got lost in one of my many notepads. One that comes to mind is Paul Meany of MuteMath. He has the ability to write songs that are edgy yet have enough pop in them to be sung by the masses. That’s a pretty healthy tension I’d say.
Hard question , How would you describe your style of music and what are your influences?
I would say indie pop/ alternative/ alt pop. I’m influenced by many musicians and artists. For this new album I would say Young The Giant, Foals (latest albums), Two Door Cinema Club, Phoria to name a few.
How would you define success in your career?
I honestly don’t know. I used to have a good idea of what it would look like, but now I’m not so sure. Some core principles for me would be to always be learning, always growing, always writing, going deeper and obedience to God.
As an Indie artist it must be really hard at the moment, what is the best way people can support you and your music?
It’s not easiest of times. We had an album launch party canceled and a tour in The Netherlands, but in some ways working as an indie artist will have regular challenges. There are many who have it a lot worse, especially in these times, so I try to remain thankful. The very best way is to join me on Patreon - www.patreon.com/1pyramidpark. It’s like a membership subscription (you choose the amount) and you get loads of behind the scenes and early releases, options for free merch, special content and more. It’s a great way to build with an artist longer term. If that’s not for you, then buying a physical copy of the album AND streaming it would be awesome.
What is your favourite album of all time?
Impossible to say.
You're stuck on an island, it's hot, you only have enough battery life left to listen to one song on your phone. What track is it?
‘Every Cell’ - United Pursuit. It has a knack of calming me and refocussing my heart.
What does the next year hold for Pyramid Park?
That is a difficult question to answer. I had a plan for the year, but quite a lot of that has changed due to current events. I’m really fortunate to have an album scheduled for this time. So, other than creating new content around the album (lots of ideas), I’ll probably be going back to the writing room and trying some new ideas out.
There’s stacks of music business related things that are not particularly interesting to talk about in an interview like this that I’ll be doing as well. Plus, once we are safe to tour again, I’ll hopefully be doing a lot more of that.