Pikelet began as a solo project for Evelyn Morris, who recorded her signature sweet – and ever-so-slightly surreal – indie pop music at home. Realising that she wanted to explore the sound more fully, however, Morris began taking on other players to help her out in the live show, and it wasn’t long before Pikelet had expanded into a four-piece. “The slower pace was admittedly frustrating at first, but I have realised that it allows the songs to grow in a natural way that I probably wouldn’t investigate if I were on my own,” Morris tells me, when I ask what it was like allowing these new people into her musical world. “We have developed an understanding of each other over the last five years, and it seems to be working well at the moment.”
As we speak, the band are in the process of recording the third full-length Pikelet album – it’s taken a while, but Morris is very happy with how things are going. “I have been getting a little more adventurous with lyrics, and the whole band has been getting a lot more dark and upbeat,” she says. “We decided that we might call the style of this material industrial folk, although basically it’s just weird pop music still.” The band spent the first week of July polishing up the mixes with producer John Lee, who has also worked with the likes of Lost Animal and Mountains In The Sky. “We have all found the experience enjoyable and inspiring,” Morris continues, “although it will be a while longer until we actually release it, I’d say.”
Over the last couple of years, Pikelet has played shows alongside some pretty damn cool people, not least of all Jens Lekman, and Morris says that these support slots have inspired her musical growth just as much as taking on extra band members. “Doing supports for bigger acts has been a great eye-opener for me,” she says. “I have played alongside a lot of my musical idols, which I never expected would happen! It’s great to realise that the things you thought were magical or mysterious about an artist you admire are more based in hard work and deep thinking. Or sometimes even accidents! It makes it more imaginable that you could produce work that you are proud of in the same way that you admire those people.”
The coming weeks will see Pikelet strutting her stuff in a number of unique venues, the first of these being a session at The Story So Far, hosted by Sunny Leunig and 3RRR's Jacinta Parsons. Every Sunday until the end of July, Nat Camalleri (the daughter of Joe Camilleri, and partner of Pete Luscombe) is inviting a pair of Aussie musicians to the Trades Hall in Carlton to talk about their sources of inspiration, and perform a couple of songs. Sunday July 15 will see Pikelet and Dan Kelly sitting down for one such session. “It’s great that there are events that encourage conversation about art and music,” Morris tells me. “It’s an enjoyable topic of discussion. I hope I can find some stories to tell that are interesting – all the bands I’ve been involved with and grown up around over the years have somehow shaped and inspired the way I approach music. I reckon it’ll be an entertaining spectacle nonetheless!”
The second of these events is a one off show at ACMI, as part of their Game Masters celebration of video game design. Thursday nights throughout the exhibition, the gallery will open late for sessions of game play and sweet, sweet music, and on Thursday August 30, Pikelet will do her thing, alongside Brisbane electro pop chanteuse Seja. “I am so stoked to be playing alongside her,” Morris says. “Her music is great and she’s such a wonderful person to hang out and chat with. I am looking forward to it a great deal.” As a bonus, Pikelet tells me that the set list for this show will be made up exclusively of material from her upcoming album – curious parties, then, have no reason not to head along.
Given the setting of the Game Masters exhibition, a hands-on celebration of button-mashing and levelling up, I ask Morris if she is much of a gamer herself, and if she’ll maybe be sneaking away to spend some quality time with the interactive exhibits. “Well, I have an older and younger brother, and they have always been completely obsessed with gaming,” she laughs. “I would occasionally show interest in the various gaming consoles that they churned through over the years, but when it came to actually competing it was obvious that the hours and hours they’d spent practicing and perfecting their skills dwarfed my mashing of the keys substantially. I would give up after a while and go play piano instead. I have never turned down a game of Tetris, though. I slay at Tetris.”
BY ALASDAIR DUNCAN
PIKELET and Dan Kelly appear at The Story So Far at the Trades Hall, Lygon Street, on Sunday July 15. You can also catch Pikelet, alongside Seja, at ACMI’s Late Bit on Thursday August 30.