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Meet The Musos: Get To Know Wollongong Indie Pop Outfit Pirra

8 June 2023 | 4:33 pm | Jessie Lynch

Here's what you need to know about Wollongong quartet Pirra following their latest track 'Forget About It' alongside Tom Budin.


Pirra (Supplied)

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It's been quite a busy few months for Wollongong-based quartet Pirra, who recently released their brand new single Forget About It alongside Tom Budin on May 26, followed by their mesmerising Vivid LIVE debut at the Sydney Opera House on June 1.

Since getting together in 2015, Pirra have built a following as one of the brightest and most buoyant dance-pop outfits on the indie circuit. 

The group is led by Luritja-descended singer-songwriter Jess Beck, with guitarist James McKendry and twin brothers – bassist Curtis Argent and drummer Jeffrey Argent – rounding out the four-piece band. 

Pirra’s dreamy, upbeat pop debut Animal Kingdom (2017) was followed by the EP Rabbit Hole (2018), which saw the band moving further into electro-dance sounds, while the pulsing groove of 2020 single Limousine Lies saw them team up with ARIA Award-winner Konstantin Kersting, the producer behind Tones And I’s smash hit Dance Monkey. 

After inking an international record deal and collaborating with UK house act Dirty Vegas on the single Days Go By, the band returned with their hypnotic second album Spirals (2022), featuring fan favourite Under the Skyline, a collaboration with veteran singer-songwriter Tim Wheatley on Out of My Hands, and production from PNAU’s Sam Littlemore on Never Apart.

Their latest banger Forget About It is sure to become a fan favourite, with its infectious beats, electrifying vocals, and addictive melodies making it a certified party anthem that will get stuck in your head from the very first listen.

Following the release of the track, we caught up with Pirra to find out everything you need to know about the indie pop/dance outfit.

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Give us the story behind your name?

In 2012, I attended the Festival of Pacific Arts in the Solomon Islands where I connected with legendary Warumpi Band guitarist and songwriter, Sammy Butcher.

Uncle Sammy’s mob is from Luritja, so over the two weeks, I learnt a few words from him ... and that was really special. I remember writing it all down on my phone. It was the first time anyone from my own nation had taught me any language.

 A few months later, I did this call out on Facebook asking for a new band name, and I'm friends with Sammy who wrote 'Pirra, it means moon'. I wrote to Sammy and I got his blessing.

If your music was a flavour, what would it taste like?

 A Fruit Tingle. Sweet, fizzy and gives you a buzz.

Who are some of your biggest musical influences and how have they impacted your own sound and style?

We’ve evolved a lot as a band but working with Sam Littlemore from PNAU was a highlight for us. Not only do we respect him as an artist but we learned so many new methods and approaches to production we still use. 

Gwen Stephani also was an influence on Jess’ vocal style. Her confidence and range are still an inspiration.

What’s been the biggest moment in your career so far?

Being asked to play at Sydney Opera House for VIVID LIVE festival was definitely going a dream come true.

What's the most unusual or unexpected source of inspiration you've drawn from when writing a song?

 We wrote a song about a hangover! It sounds like the song is about a person you don’t want to spend time with but it’s actually about wasting the day after with a hangover.

Can you share a hilarious or cringe-worthy moment from your early days as artists?

 A lot of our early days are pretty cringe but one time near the beginning, we were using a real lemon of a car to tour in and on the way to a festival gig it died! 

We were 5 hours late and missed our set time completely. The organisers were pretty good about it even if a little annoyed and managed to squeeze us in later in the night as the headliners! Unfortunately, this approach never worked again…

What are the top three tracks or artists you’re vibing on rn?

We’re all loving Rufus du Sol, Jungle & Fred Again..

What’s something that fans might not know about you?

Before we settled into the current ‘Pirra’ sound, we were a Jazz band performing most nights around Sydney as the Jess Beck Quartet.

If you could only listen to one album for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?

 This is a difficult question for a 4 piece band to answer! The closest consensus we have is probably Bloom by Rufus du Sol. It holds you right to the end.

What's in the works for you guys in 2023?

We dropped our new single called Forget About It, we’ve got a tour through June, just had the VIVID festival gig on 1 June, and we're planning some collaborations with other artists.