Denim Gorgeous - Travels, music and rebuilding a life from scratch.
Australian born 'Denim Gorgeous' (Real name Pez)'s latest album 'Songs From The Shelf' explores "an unpacking... of youth" that combines 'failed ambition, lyrical scribbles, rich harmonies and climactic songwriting'. The album documents Gorgeous' struggle over recent years, after a being left stranded and alone in Mexico; and subsequently rebuilding his life in the hometown he'd already said goodbye to.
“I've been able to call various places home over the past four years, from Toronto to Alaska to Mexico City in a personal venture to feed my curiosity. This nomadic life has certainly moulded me into the person and artist I am being driven by the thriving music scene in these places. (In my artist bio I actually reference "the ever expansive road" as my basing). Although these days, I'm based between Australia (Melbourne) and the United States.
I've felt a personal affection to music for as long as I can remember and that infatuation has become an increasing part of my life as I've come to learn more about every aspect of life – music is the final answer. Artists like Bright Eyes, Jeff Buckley, Tallest Man On Earth scored my teenage years. I'm always revisiting why, at the pure age of seven, I was adamant to learn the guitar against any other path to be embarked on. I began songwriting from 12 years old, I remember I used to come home from school to lock myself away and try to sing along to Jack Johnson's 'On and On' on repeat as I began to find my voice. It probably wasn't until I was 18 when I really felt like an artist, honing my own sound and style, and advancing my songwriting.
I performed in a few cafes, city streets, and open mics but it wasn't actually until What Salts Worth was already released when I started performing under Denim Gorgeous. The artist Denim Gorgeous really only came out of the long-birthed musical expression of Pez - me, recording What Salts Worth. I'd just returned (broke as a newborn too) from a year and a half of travels around the globe to my hometown out of desperation. I felt the congestion of creative expression stuffed within me from the lack of opportunity to release while I was living out of a backpack, and so, I went home, I wrote and published a novel and then began work on What Salts Worth, camped in the humid guestroom of my dad's empty house as I recorded away alone. I think the solitude made quite the impact on the music. I mean firstly, being the sole band member of a musical project that sounds like a full band is tough. It can feel like overdubbing the regurgitation of your own mind some times and other times like absolute and unrestrained creative magic – like you've just invented the lightbulb in the secret of your own musical laboratory awaiting the public ear. I think some running themes through What Salts Worth are loss of identity, apathy and the naive need to be everywhere at once without the ability. I guess it screams anxiety, at a pressured time of my life that could have venture down only one of many paths.
Since it's release, I moved to New Orleans, where I lived and became active in the busting and unique music scene there, playing a variety of shows around town as Denim Gorgeous. A short trip to rural Mexico one year later where I'm held up, robbed of everything and left stranded in Veracruz. I'm eventually evacuated from the country and sent home, to Australia, shell-shocked. There, in the bleakness of failed ambitions, I was forced to unpack boxes of old belongings stacked away from my youth in relocations. Among the crap, I found notebooks among notebooks of lyrical scribbles, chord progressions and songs I had given up on in my youth when I had the vision without the voice. In my forced time home, I unpacked my guitars, audio consoles and mics and felt it poignant to bring those rusted songs to life in my most recent release 'Songs From The Shelf'. (All songs written pre-2010), this album is an unpacking of my youth, my fragmented identity and a trophy of my harnessed artistic abilities. The songs are very much a stylistic expression of who I am today as an artist, full of bouncing guitar solos, rich harmonies, and strong climatic songwriting. The album kicks off with a one minute intro in 'This Goes Nowhere' that I intentionally tried to incorporate all the instruments that would feature on the record as a roll call of sorts.
I think the honest songwriting and in-your-head lyrics of Denim Gorgeous are something that runs through the music and resonates with listeners. As for why Denim Gorgeous... that's not much I can direct to there... why The Flaming Lips? I think a moniker has always been the choice though, something to separate the mask from the man."
Denim Gorgeous’ EP ‘Songs From The Shelf’ was released May 25th, and has already broken into the ‘Fresh Finds, Indie Mono and Coffee Hideaway playlists’ on Spotify.
A live edition of his latest single 'Damn Shame' can be found on Youtube.
All images belong to Denim Gorgeous