At home in his comfort zone

2013-03-15 00:00

IT seems appropriate that singer-songwriter Farryl Purkiss is in Durban this week to launch his new album, Home, at Live — The Venue.

Born and raised in Umhlanga, Purkiss paid his musical dues in and around the city, and says that even though he loves living and working in Cape Town, the KwaZulu-Natal coast will always be home.

Purkiss believes fans will be surprised by Home, which shows new sides to his musical character and differs from his previous releases: the South African Music Award (Sama) nominated Chapter One and Fruitbats and Crows. Some of that is down to his collaboration with New York-based producer, Kieran Kelly, who’s worked with Julia Stone, Madison Square Gardens, and Matt Johnson, among others.

“He’s worked with some really great bands, including some of my favourites ... I mailed him, but I really didn’t expect a response. Then he got in touch. I sent him some demos and he said he wanted to work with me,” Purkiss revealed.

The two men spent three weeks in a studio in Cape Town getting the tracks down, and then Kelly flew back to New York to finish production.

Purkiss has loved creating Home, and says that most of the songs on the album are inspired by his home, his wife, Yuliya and his youth.

“The whole experience was very different,” he says, “I was at home, in my comfort zone. And I approached the whole album as if it was my last one — it’s not, don’t worry. But it did free me to try new things ... The whole album took on a life of its own.

“We would be in the studio by 8 am or 9 am, and by 5.30 pm or 6 pm we’d stop, light a fire, open a bottle of wine and then work till midnight. We did that every day for three weeks.”

Own Way Home, the first single from Home has already been released on Soundcloud, but Friday’s gig marks the first time that Purkiss will get to hear the entire album.

“I’m expecting it to arrive in the middle of soundcheck,” the singer said. “It will be as new for me as it will be for my fans, who buy it on the night. I can’t wait.”

This week’s gig is the first in a series of album launches for Home, which Purkiss will be doing around the country. He will then head over to the United States for his third tour.

Purkiss admits that it’s not easy being on the road, but the upside is getting to play music all the time.

“I’m really happy to play festivals or a few shows, and if people are willing to pay to hear me, especially in a foreign country, then I’m a happy guy,” he says. “And if I can live off playing music and it helps pay for my travel, that’s great.”

Touring has also taught this talented musician to count his blessings. “On my first tour to Australia — I think it was in 2007 or 2008 — I had a bit of hype around me and that made me a bit arrogant,” Purkiss said.

“I thought it would be a piece of cake, but I really got schooled on my first day there, and came home with my tail between my legs.

“There were so many amazing musos, who were working hard every day just to make a living from music ... It was a huge wake-up call and made me realise how lucky I am to have a label behind me.”


• Catch Farryl Purkiss at Live – The Venue, 166 Stamford Hill Road, Durban tonight. Purkiss will be supported by Hey Hustler and Red Light Stereo. Doors open at 8 pm. Tickets cost R70. No under 18s allowed.

• Fans can keep up to date with Purkiss on Facebook and Twitter, and can watch his music videos online at Youtube.

• FARRYL Purkiss has shared the stage with the likes of guitar legend Nibs van der Spuy, Missy Higgins and Jack Johnson.

• His producer on Fruitbats and Crows, Brian O’Shea, won a South African Music Award for his work on the album.

• Purkiss’s song Dejavu was used in the movies Blue Crush 2 and Ways To live Forever.

• His single Pennies In the Snow and a piano mix of Sticks and Stones were used in the United States drama series, Private Practice.

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