Christian singer-songwriter-producer Pyramid Park made his return last month with his masterful new single "Never Let Me Down". Pyramid Park, also known as Pete McAllen, kick started his music career at the age of 15, after the loss of his father. This sudden loss helped carve McAllen’s music career. Making music and writing songs made him feel close to his father again, so he decided to help other people with their struggles by putting everything into his art. Recently, Pete shared with us some of the inspiration behind his upcoming release, Not An Island, coming this spring.
Congratulations on the upcoming release of Not An Island! How does this title reflect the collection as a whole?
Thank you! The songs on the album came together quite quickly during the pre-production phase of recording. There was a choice of 15 songs. We soon worked out which three didn’t work for the project. Finding a name was quite tricky. My wife joked that it should be called ’troubles’ because it had been written during a challenging phase, and a lot of the songs are quite raw. However, 'Not An Island' summed up my general thought process in the recording. We really need each other. The track is about unity, coming together, and removing the barriers that can isolate us.
What prompted you to release two singles “Never Let Me Down” and “Stairway” weeks prior to the album dropping, and why these tracks?
In every album project, there seems to be a surprise track that does a lot better than you think it will in the studio. ’Never Let Me Down’ became a real special song. It was one of the earlier songs to be written, a co-write with my friend Feranmi Oguns, and it summed up my mindset going into the recording project. “I think I’m drifting between the head and the heart” is a core lyric that sets up the song, and indeed the album. I’d recently stepped out of my comfort zone and decided to pursue music full time as an indie artist. It wasn’t easy, and I had to accept the regular doubts that conflicted me. "Stairway" came about so quickly, and while recording, we knew it would be a great way to close a live set, which immediately puts it into single territory. I love the older way of releasing music, which I think can still be relevant for indie artists who sell physical music. I wanted to give my fans something to hold, and so a more traditional model of releases made sense. Having said that, I do have two more singles up my sleeves and maybe even one after release.
How would you describe the sound of your music to new listeners?
I’d say indie pop or indie brit pop. It has a lot of 80’s and analogue synths, think Juno, Prophet etc, but still sounds like it belongs in 2020.
What are some life events that impacted the creative process of these new songs?
A handful of songs focus around the time I gave up my job and pursued music as a career. It was during that time that music seemed to pour out of me. I’d had a nasty cycling accident, and broke three bones in my hand, including my crucial guitar thumb knuckle, that adds pressure on the fret board, and smashed up my face, loosing my front teeth. Sounds pretty dramatic, and it shook me up a little. It also meant that I had to cancel summer festivals...pretty gutting. When back touring, I’d noticed that the set needed a bit more of an upbeat feel. So I tried to purposefully write songs that would connect with people on the festival circuit, and a few more single worthy songs.
Which track are you most looking forward to listeners hearing?
There’s a song titled “You Know/I Know” - the next single. This one wasn’t woking particularly well until the penultimate day in the studio. My producer and I spent the day hacking it to pieces, after a chorus re-write, and ended up with a song we are really pleased with. It was a fun and intense day.
What is one key takeaway message you hope listeners leave with after hearing Not An Island?
That’s a hard question to answer. I hope that listeners will take a bit of time to read through the lyrics. These are not words liberally scattered onto a catchy melody. They’ve been crafted, ground out of troubles, to a place where I’ve found peace again. There is more to life than what we see directly in front of us, and I hope it will cause listeners to go searching for more meaning.
Success can mean a lot of things to different people. How would you define success for Not An Island?
That I will still enjoy listening to it slash playing it in a years time. Plus of course, I would love it to connect with other people in a deep and personal way. There will inevitably be highs and lows when releasing new music, but ultimately it is about people connecting with it, and in some way bringing hope and life to them.
Aside from releasing this new music, what else are you looking forward to over the course of 2020?
There are a few touring opportunities coming up, certainly back in Germany and The Netherlands where I’ve been playing the last few years. Plus festivals of course in the summer. I’m working to develop my YouTube channel to talk about this idea of “Chasing an oversized dream.” It’s something I’m quite passionate about. Plus, I hope to write the first draft of a book.