Peak hour for Josh Pyke

Making plans is no easy task for Josh Pyke, whose life tends to be dictated by the timing of a new record.

The Sydney singer-songwriter is embarking on a final tour with his third album, Only Sparrows, before he knuckles down to concentrate on writing the next one.

He would like to reunite with Basement Birds, the four-piece collaboration between Pyke, Kav Temperley (Eskimo Joe), solo singer-songwriter Steve Parkin and Kevin Mitchell, of Jebediah, but finding the time is almost impossible.

‘‘We all definitely want to do that again but it all comes down to timing,’’ Pyke said.

‘‘In all seriousness, we’ve sort of slated 2015 for it [laughs]. That’s as soon as we can really see ourselves getting together because I want to do another record, Kev’s recording his album right now, I know Kav’s about to do another Eskies record and then you tour it for a couple of years, so that’s just the way it is.

‘‘It’s weird to think of your life in terms of album cycles but that’s what I do these days.’’

The ‘‘cycle’’ began taking off in 2005 with the success of Pyke’s EP, Feeding The Wolves, which introduced him as a talented lyricist with a gift for painting a vivid picture with words.

The EP’s biggest track – Middle of the Hill, a nostalgic folk-pop song about his childhood – is one of those songs that has become a signature tune, drawing word-for-word sing-alongs from fans at his live shows.

In 2007 his debut album, Memories & Dust, won the ARIA award for best adult contemporary album and the follow-up, Chimney’s Afire, peaked at No.3 on the national album chart.

The four-year wait for 2011’s Only Sparrows, which has earned him another ARIA award nomination, didn’t mean Pyke was idle.

‘‘There was a gap between my albums but in between I also did The White Album concert series, I did the Basement Birds record and I had a child, so it seemed pretty busy,’’ Pyke laughed.

Pyke, 34, said fatherhood had not necessarily changed the tone of his lyrics but a shift in his daily routine meant finding a balance.

‘‘Inevitably I think it [having a child] creeps in to the lyrics but it’s more the change that it has on your productivity levels.

‘‘It used to be that I’d sit around all day and just play guitar because that’s what I like doing anyway, but now because I look after him a couple of days and then I have three days in the studio it’s a juggling act, but that’s just life and no different to anybody else.’’

Only Sparrows took Pyke to New York City in January last year where he spent three weeks on his own, soaking up the city and writing every day.

He said the ‘‘buzz’’ of the city had always inspired him.

‘‘I had been there a number of times before, which is kind of why I wanted to go back because I’ve always found it a really stimulating, creative place to be.

‘‘I figured it would be a place that was familiar enough – that I knew I was comfortable there – but unfamiliar enough that it would be inspiring. It did the trick.

‘‘I actually heard this really bizarre theory that there’s actually some kind of electromagnetic reason for it, like there’s some huge dense iron deposit under the island of Manhattan and so that’s why it creates this buzz.

‘‘I don’t know how true that is but I certainly feel a buzz when I go to New York.’’

Pyke said he did not have a solid plan for the direction of the next record but hoped to record in Melbourne with a new producer, having worked with Wayne Connolly on all of his previous albums.

In the meantime, Pyke is planning to cover his entire back catalogue on his upcoming solo tour after asking fans through Facebook to select their favourite songs.

The tour, which began this week, has stopovers at intimate venues – including six shows at Lizotte’s – in Sydney, Newcastle and the Central Coast.

‘‘Playing solo is a very different beast. You have a much better chance to talk to the audience and engage with them,’’ Pyke said.

‘‘But one of the best things about doing the solo gigs is it’s an opportunity to play everything.’’

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