Five albums in and celebrated singer-songwriter Josh Pyke is thinking about taking a break. It's not the constant writing or the touring that gets to him. It's the difficulty of actually releasing albums that leaves him feeling weathered and worn.
"During the day to day writing phase, my state is great, as long as I can hold it together and not put too much pressure on myself to get things done within a time frame or anything," Pyke says. "I go down to my studio and write for the day and come up and pick my kids up and be a dad.
"The recording phase is awesome as well. I love being in the studio; it's something that I've always enjoyed. It's probably the main thing that got me into wanting to do this as a career, just the love of putting these ideas down and building on them."
It is just the release phase of writing and recording albums like his latest opus, But For All These Shrinking Hearts, that gets this musician down.
"I've liked it less and less as I've got along," says Pyke, who was disappointed about the lack of support national youth broadcaster Triple J gave But For All These Shrinking Hearts. This, despite the clear public support for the work, which debuted at No. 2 on the ARIA albums chart.
"I get it and I accept it, and this is not a criticism of the process, but as soon as you put out a record you are basically asking to be judged. And when you are an artist like I am who just pours out their heart and soul onto every song – and I don't really separate myself from my creative output – it's always an incredibly confronting and frightening thing," he says.
"And then you get through that period and it gets back to touring and it's instant gratification time again. So the state of being a musician is pretty up and down, I've got to say. And after 10 years, it's like I'm actually starting to feel I wouldn't mind a break from it at some point."
It's part of the relationship with creativity and the industry that supports it that all musicians must face. And the creative side of that relationship is something Pyke was interested in exploring on this recent album.
"It's a relationship that I'm still figuring out, 10 years into having a profession out of it, but 20 years into obsessively engaging with it," he says.
"When you first realise that writing songs, or whatever form of creativity that you're involved in, is this thing that you're compelled to do, it is like this falling in love. You become completely obsessed with this idea and it's why kids who are interested in writing songs or learning guitar spend countless hours and every weekend night at home while all the rest of their mates are out getting drunk. So for me it was like magic. It was like that feeling of falling in love, which is like magic," he says.
"Then, as you go along, you have these periods where you go deeper and deeper and you get to know this thing better and this relationship better, and you fall deeper and deeper in love. But you also see all the faults and they are reflected back at you and you see all your own faults through your relationship with this thing."
When: Saturday, January 30
Where: Playhouse, Canberra Theatre Centre
Tickets: $50.50 from canberratheatrecentre.com.au.