NewTracks New Artist: Pirapus

NewTracks New Artist: Pirapus

Christchurch-based university mates George Murray and Ben Hollamby (Tex) stumbled upon a casual jam together one night in a uni hall bedroom and from that formed drum and bass duo PirapusTheir latest single Don’t Let Me Go breaks DnB boundaries, featuring Christina Harrison and Sam Heselwood singing a duet. NZ On Air Music added the song to their NewTracks compilation this June. 

What are your names, where are you from and what instruments do you each play?

George Murray, Christchurch (NZ), piano. 

Ben Hollamby (Tex), Houston (USA), guitar. 

Was any high school or other music training especially important?

George: Learning jazz and classical piano definitely gave me quite a good understanding of harmony/music theory which has then helped with songwriting, and playing in bands improved the way I perform. 

What’s the background story of how Pirapus came to be? 

George: We were in the same first-year hall at UC [University of Canterbury] and one night we were having some drinks after a party. I happened to stumble across Tex’s room and started jamming on the keyboard while he laid down some beats and our friends rapped. After that drunk studio session, we realised that we had a shared passion for electronic music and DJing so we started to perform together and make music. 

How has your writing evolved from those beginnings?

Our songwriting is much more about the song. Before we were trying to fine-tune the technical aspects (e.g. mix, sound design, etc.) of a couple of songs, whereas now we create a large amount of sketches, and only continue to pursue those sketches as songs if they sound great in their rawest form. 

How and when did you come up with the name?

It was Tex’s old hip hop producer alias, and we thought Pirapus sounded quite grand and epic, which suits our stadium DnB sound. 

Aside from this release, what’s been the big highlight to date?

There’s definitely been a couple. Premiering a couple of our tracks on UKF this year and getting a 5-star rating from Sub Focus on our latest track Don’t Let Me Go has been pretty cool!

What makes Don’t Let Me Go stand out for you as a single?

It’s very rare that you hear a duet on a DnB tune, so we think this is something quite unique that brings real emotion to the tune in the verses. This is then complimented by a powerful and melodic drop which embodies our stadium sound. 

What is the story behind Don’t Let Me Go?

We’d written a draft instrumental and got Christina in for a writing week to get some vocals for the track. While writing the vocals together we then thought it would be sick if we could get Sam Heselwood also on the track to make it a duet (something we hadn’t really seen been done in DnB yet). We created a story in which two people are friends and like each other, but are struggling to express their feelings. This narrative decided the lyrics and would then influence the emotional yet uplifting tone of the instrumental.

What’s your favourite moment of the single?

It’s a pretty dreamy moment when you first hear the two vocalists sing together in the chorus. 

Is there anyone else in your team?

Dominic Hawkey is our manager and booking agent. We also work with DRM (NZ) and Inscape Artists (UK) to help distribute and promote our music.

Are there any other musical endeavours you’re working on that we should keep an eye out for? 

We’ve got our next single coming out within a month, and then our debut EP which we’ve got a lot of special things planned for and are super excited to share with everyone!

Can you please name three other local tunes that would fit well on a playlist alongside your song.

Any last words?

Stream Don’t Let Me Go (feat. Christina Harrison & Sam Heselwood) x