Melbourne rapper Pez has released his long-awaited sophomore album, ‘Don’t Look Down’.
The record features collaborations with Paul Kelly, 360 and Paul Dempsey.
On the road at the moment with Thundamentals
, Pez has written an open letter to scenestr about the journey he undertook making ‘Don’t Look Down’.
'Don't Look Down' is available now.
It’s been eight years between records for me. 'Mind Of My Own' dropped in 2008. 'The Festival Song' had a life of its own, and it got crazy! It was really incredible for probably 18 months, 2 years. Then at the tail end of that I was told that I had Graves’ disease and got pretty sick. So the cause of the hiatus between records at that point was really my health.
Then once my health improved I put out 'The Game'; it got picked up by Triple J and started doing really well. I think I kind of freaked out after that because it was the first song that I’d written, so I was scrambling to write songs and I didn’t know what I was going to do next.
Fortunately, I reconnected with a friend Jay (emerging beat maker aKidCalledJay); we wrote together and that became the start of this new album, ‘Don’t Look Down’.
There are some really personal elements to this album. There are some collaborations; I love these. Definitely getting Paul Kelly and Paul Dempsey involved has been a real highlight.
I recall when I first met Paul Kelly at a friend’s family bash. Paul was there [and] he told me he bought my first album and I couldn’t believe it. I freaked out: 'you’re Paul Kelly!' So I told him, if he ever wanted to do a song with a rapper: 'I’m your guy.' After we left the party I called my mum; she was so impressed I think she cried! We went around to his house a few times to record the song: it’s called ‘Livin’ On’, about my grandma.
With the Paul Dempsey track, I had this song and I thought 'I need someone with real pain in their voice to sing the chorus'. I mentioned this to the A&R team at my label and Paul Dempsey was the first singer they came up with. I wasn’t sure if he’d be into it; he’s a rock guy, but he was. The outcome is the album’s first single ‘Calling Out’.
Working with 360 again is such a good thing for the record. The album probably teetered on being a little dark, but he brings a lightness out of me because of our chemistry. He features on two tracks: ‘They Try To Tell Me’ and ‘Weekend’.
I’m really happy with this album and the way it’s unfolded. I feel optimistic and invigorated, and looking forward to performing live again too!