FIB Chat: Triple J’s Unearthed Feature Artist, Pirra, Hit #1 On AMRAP Chart During NAIDOC Week

This week, Pirra is being featured as Triple J’s Unearthed feature artist. The band currently sit at #1 on the AMRAP regional chart. This news comes during a very important time this NAIDOC week.

Credit: Nigel Kippers

Pirra’s lead singer Jess Beck is a Luritja woman, born and raised on Boandik land, near Mount Gambier SA. She now lives in Tharawal Country in Wollongong, NSW. Speaking of her heritage and upbringing, Beck explains,

“I am a descendent of The Luritja people, my Grandmother Linda Jackson (formerly Linda Vale) was named after Lyndavale cattle station (in the Central Desert, NT) where she was born, and is a survivor of the Stolen Generation, her story has been made into a documentary – HERE.  Removed as a young child, Nana Linda lived momentarily at the Alice Springs Telegraph Station before being sent to Croker Island Mission.”

Jess Beck is incredibly proud of her heritage. Although she didn’t get to grow up around her own Luritja culture, she’s been involved in First Nations events wherever possible. Recently, she’s been promoted at the Sydney Opera House to Producer of First Nations Programming to commence later this month.

Pirra is going from strength to strength. They’ve been announced as this week’s triple j unearthed feature artist, and are currently sitting in the #1 spot on the AMRAP regional chart. The band couldn’t be prouder to be recognised for their music in the very important NAIDOC week.

The band’s latest release is a single, “Never Apart“. The clip is filmed at Sydney’s Landsdowne Hotel. It’s a fun and psychedelic live performance, reminding us about how great live music is and how much we’ve missed it!

Today, we chat with Pirra bassist James McKendry about “Never Apart” and the band’s rise to success.

Credit: supplied

Tell us the meaning behind, “Never Apart”:

The Lyrics are loosely about feeling connected, no matter the distance. Although I like to think people can find their own meaning to the song.

Where did you record the track?

We mostly recorded the track in Wollongong at our home studio. Then we went into Forbes studio with Sam Littlemore for more tracking. He did most of his production from his home studio on the northern beaches, which is also where we mixed it.

How was it to collaborate with Sam Littlemore (Pnau)?

It was a surreal experience and we all got a lot out of it. He really challenged us and pushed us out of our comfort zone. He has a strong philosophy and so much passion for music, which was inspiring. We’re so happy with how the track sounds.

Who are your biggest sonic influences?

Some of our biggest influences are The Jungle Giants, Pnau, Northeast Party House, Running Touch, Sofi Tukker, Kimbra and Rufus Du Sol.

What’s on your musical playlist at the moment?

Lately, I’ve been listening to Biig Piig, Lazywax, Peking Duk, Dakota East, SG Lewis, Silverchair, King Gizzard and Skegss

How did you make a start in the industry?

We met in Sydney and started playing covers together, then Jess brought some of her songs to the band we played as “Jess Beck” for a while, and gradually things became more collaborative so we decided we needed a band name.

What is your favourite part about performing?

My favourite part is when you see people absolutely lost in the music and you know you’re sharing a great experience.

Any particular performance highlights?

Last year we played at the Loch Hardt music festival. It was such a great experience for us, there were some awesome bands on the bill. It really felt like the perfect festival for us, and we felt a really good connection with the audience.

Do you have any upcoming shows in 2021?

In September we’ll be embarking on our “Never Apart” tour. We’ll be playing Oxford Art Factory in Sydney on September 2, The Toff in Town in Melbourne on September 10, Suzie Wong’s in Brisbane on September 12 and The Gov in Adelaide on September 25.

What’s next for Pirra?

We’ve got plenty of music backed up ready for release and we’ve got some exciting collaborations to announce soon. We’re also looking to build up our tour schedule into the summer as restrictions relax.

Check out Pirra’s Never Apart, below:

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