A chat with Pirra before they kick off their biggest year yet

Pirra are a quartet based out of Sydney making strikingly danceable indie pop. After a few years on the local circuit they’ve now inked an international label deal, meaning their tunes and live shows are about to take yet another massive leap forward.

With a new single in their back pockets and the huge Inner West Bushfire Relief show happening tomorrow, we thought it high time to catch up with frontwoman Jess for a chat.

pirra interview happy mag
Photo: Pirra via Facebook

With bigger and better tunes in the tank than ever before, Sydney four-piece Pirra are bracing for a 2020 in the spotlight.

HAPPY: Hey, how’s it going? What are you up to at the moment?

JESS: Things are going gangbusters at the moment with a strong tail wind to boot. The band are all treading water keeping up with the pace. We’ve just finished shooting a fantasy style film clip for our next release The Peak which is shaping up to be our best efforts on the screen. Shot in a studio in Marrickville with lots of extras and fun party vibes. To be released on the 28th of Feb.

HAPPY: You’ve just dropped an acoustic version of Under The Skyline. Was there a moment you realised it was special enough to take back into the studio for another release?

JESS: Yes and no. This song has always been pretty special to the band and kind of landmarks the change in the band’s sound. Under The Skyline was the song that helped us sign to our Label in the UK and Europe. It was suggested to us that we cut an acoustic version of this track to not only showcase the vocals but to also open up the potential for different demographics. A nod to the streaming world we live in today and how they operate.

HAPPY: Is stripping your songs back something you’re doing regularly? For live shows, or just to experiment?

JESS: Not regularly, but something we’re very open to with future releases. We’ve always maintained the view that a good song should be able to carry itself with a lead vocal and an acoustic guitar or piano. Strip back all the additional production and you quickly find out how strong the song really is. That saying, for live, we like to get the people dancing and so this is more an experiment for the streaming platforms.

HAPPY: How has the start of your year been apart from that? I see you played a pretty wild looking NYE gig at Bowra Hotel…

JESS: NYE in Bowra was pretty wild. It’s the twins’ (rhythm section) home town and is always a pretty special time when we perform around the area. Shame about the police presence though. We had people lined up around the block for this one, as you could imagine there aren’t many options in the valley, so lots of fun to be had although the police definitely made their presence known and kind’ve marred the whole event. Tasman Keith and LTTLE KNG performed on the night also.

Other than that, the start of the year has been a little surreal for us as we’ve been working with some crazy idols of ours on some new music, including Roy Kerr, Konstantin Kerstig and Alan Braxe. Since signing to CR2’s imprint label BLK & Wht we’ve been hard at work chomping out the next year’s worth of singles and collaborating with some amazing producers. Not to mention Mark Brown himself, who has been relentless with his passion and vision for the band.

HAPPY: You’re performing at a pretty special show on Saturday, a bushfire relief gig at The Vic. Has the band been affected by the bushfires in any way?

JESS: Indirectly very much so. Both the twins and the guitarist grew up in the mid north coast whose families were affected by the fires, way back back in early November last year. In South Arm, Bowraville we had a brother’s property get saved by the fireys but unfortunately he lost his shed and equipment.

HAPPY: The lineup is pretty killer. Is there anyone else you’re really keen to see?

JESS: Going to be an awesome day but especially looking forward to seeing Elki and Dobby.

HAPPY: Could you tell us a bit about the current live show? What’s the vibe like?

JESS: Well the live show is very much dance-orientated these days. We’re still a four-piece mostly but we employed a little digital trickery to bolster up the sound. Our producer/bass player has put together a show that doesn’t leave much room for toilet breaks. We’ve kept the dance beats pretty consistent and you can expect a lot of new material that we’re looking to release in the coming few months.

HAPPY: What else is coming up for Pirra in 2020?

JESS: So far, Europe is on the cards for us towards the back end of the year as well as a regional tour around the eastern states. As mentioned above our label has put us into production with some awesome talent which we hope to release very soon. Our next single The Peak is coming out on the 28th of Feb, which we’re very much anticipating.

HAPPY: Cheers for the chat!


Catch Pirra this weekend at Inner West Bushfire Relief:

Sat 8 Feb – Vic On The Park, Sydney – Details