Emerging as a solo project for Evelyn Ida Morris some years ago, Pikelet has since evolved into a formidable four-piece unit, earning a solid reputation on the back of the critically adored 2010 album Stem. Shortly after the release of new album Calluses, I speak with Morris in a modest performance space at the rear of a Fitzroy bar, illuminated by the blue hue of a projector on standby mode.

Emerging as a solo project for Evelyn Ida Morris some years ago, Pikelet has since evolved into a formidable four-piece unit, earning a solid reputation on the back of the critically adored 2010 album Stem. Shortly after the release of new album Calluses, I speak with Morris in a modest performance space at the rear of a Fitzroy bar, illuminated by the blue hue of a projector on standby mode.

 

“Well I guess I started to feel limited by the loop setup,” she says on Pikelet’s transformation from solo outlet to consolidated band format. “I wanted to explore different song structure ideas, but I could never find a way to work that into a looper. But I still wanted to have lots of layers of sound and not strip it back too much. So I decided to get a band, then Shags [Chamberlain] and Matt [Cox] and Tarquin [Manek] were all people around me who I really admired, and luckily they all said yes.”

 

Now when Morris performs solo, as she is set to do after our interview, she does so under her own name – fully distinguishing from the Pikelet banner. “What I’m doing tonight are piano pieces. Pikelet is the direction I went with layering sound, where this is stripping it back and trying very, very loose song structures and the ebb and flow with time. They’re not really structured in the way that I play them, there’s a lot of freedom. That I just do under my own name.”

 

As for the genesis of Calluses, Morris reveals that the album has benefited from a relatively elongated gestation process. “It started not that long after Stems. It’s been a long project. Some of the songs were written in 2010. ‘Combo’ was written then, or maybe even prior, when I was in New Zealand touring with Bachelorette. They’ve all developed over the years, then we played them live for about two years. It works well because you can try them out and see what works, what doesn’t, then in the recording studio you can refine them even more. Finally you have this totally different thing than what you started with.”

 

In terms of instrumentation, Morris is proficient in a multitude of musical apparatuses. “Definitely piano at the moment,” she says of her current favourite outlet. “But it changes all the time. I did have a long stint with drums, and I miss drumming at the moment. But there has been a project where the drumming I like has fitted, not since True Rad [True Radical Miracle] broke up. It was accordion for a while, but that thing caned my back so I had to do something else.

 

It’s in the capacity as a drummer that Morris joined visionary Japanese outfit Boredoms when they performed their ‘Boardrum 10/10/10’ in Melbourne for a truly phenomenal show. “It was really good. I had mixed feelings about it at times. I really enjoyed it as an experience and I went into it thinking, ‘I don’t really know what I’m doing’. I looked at the way [drummer] Matt Watson did the performance and he was kind of scientific about and wrote down the charts, whereas I was wanting be ‘in the moment’. I kind of wish that I had been more officious. But I really fucking loved it,” she reminisces. “It was a life-changing experience, I don’t think I will ever do a gig like that again.”

 

BY LACHLAN KANONIUK

 

Calluses is out now through Chapter Music. Pikelet launch the album at Goodgod this Friday September 13.

Write a Letter to the Editor

Tell Us What You Think