Interview: The Musical Bromance of Josh Pyke and Bob Evans
The musical bromance between folk artists Josh Pyke and Bob Evans (AKA Kevin Mitchell) is a far-reaching one, from performing together in group act The Basement Birds to touring together occasionally. The two are set to embark on a national ten-year anniversary tour featuring just them playing together on stage.
The two have been dabbling in different interests over the past year, from oil painting to the release of new records.
“I put out a record called Car Boot Sale a couple of months ago,” Evans says.
“I did a tour for that and since then I have been hanging out at home, staring at the wall and myself into a stupor waiting for Josh to call me and ask me to come out on tour.”
Josh Pyke laughs at Evans' humour over the conference call - it was clear that the two had known each other a while.
“The biggest thing for me this past year was deciding to get into oil painting. I have been a good visual artist,” Pyke says. “I could never really commit to it – It has my first exhibition a few months ago and it sold out. I was happy to embrace a new creative pursuit in oil painting. I’ve been doing music for years, but I pursued something else creatively, it was really exciting for me.”
Although the next few months are going to be pretty busy for Evans (Pyke also) after the release of his last record, Evans says he was “losing his mind”:
“I’ve got too little kids that won’t just leave me alone. They always want something; I’m in the garage at home. There is just no escape.”
The two had first collaborated in alt-country act The Basement Birds, starting out in 2009 with other band members Steve Parkin and Kavyen Temperley.
“We started to know and work with each other about ten years ago,” Evans says. “About thirteen years ago we had to do a gig and the friendship just endured. This tour is just another great opportunity to hang out and do some we love.”
With their first tour being more of a “management idea”, this tour was different – with Pyke getting the idea of it from a poster he found whilst tidying up the studio.
“I came across the poster and was blown away by the fact it was ten years ago,” Pyke says. “I was just struck by the idea we should do it again. It was so much the first time. We had so much more ground to cover this time in terms of musical stuff to play. We cut straight to each other about it every couple of months until it was clear we were able to do it at the end of the year, so we hit the go button.”
With Evans and Pyke being both being similar in style, there is perhaps one genre where the line can be drawn – heavy metal.
“You see I’ve never listened to, or owned a record or played in a band. I’ve never had anything to do which closely resembled heavy metal,” Evans says. “That could be one part of our musical history together that doesn’t link up. I’m sure there are things Josh and I may not like, but we haven’t found it yet.”
It was at this point in the interview where Pyke had to dash for another appointment, leaving just Evans to take up the mantle of sole interviewee.
When looking back on the ten years the upcoming tour will be celebrating, Evans has “total gratitude” for the fact he is still able to make music:
“It’s a very difficult thing to sustain over a long period of time and I feel very lucky that I am able to do things like this. A lot has changed in our lives since we last toured, we’ve grown up a lot and our circumstances have changed a lot."
“When lots of stuff changes around you, the friendship stays the same, even when all this other stuff is going on around you.”
Evans says the shows will feature no support acts and two large sets with a small intermission in between citing it to be a fairy long show.
“We are going to be on stage for a few hours playing through each other’s songs. It’s certainly different to the tour we did ten years ago where it was more traditional. This time, we are presenting ourselves very much as a duo and using our combined song history to have material or the show.”
Despite both Pyke and Evans being very prepared for the tour, Evans liked to think every gig “will have moments of spontaneity”:
“The whole joy of being part of a live experience, whether you are part of the audience or up on stage is that the feeling is scripted and anything is possible and can happen. I embrace that feeling - that’s what makes everybody different, that’s what makes it exciting each night. I like to think that every gig will have moments of spontaneity, always.”